495 Express Lanes

Fairfax County, Virginia
Owner: Virginia Department of Transportation

WSSI Provided the following services for the Interstate 495 Beltway HOV Lanes project:

  • WOUS Delineation Report
  • Jurisdictional Determination
  • COE and DEQ Individual Permit
  • Permit Modifications
  • Federal CZM Consistency Certification Letter
  • Wood Turtle Survey and Habitat Evaluation Report
  • Small Whorled Pogonia Survey and Habitat Evaluation Report
  • Stream Assessment Report
  • Construction Monitoring Reports
  • VSMP Application

The 11 mile I-495 Capital Beltway High Occupancy Tolls (HOT) lanes project is located within the existing I-495 corridor in Fairfax County, Virginia, and will provide new travel choices and relief from congestion while supporting the region's continued economic vitality.  The project is a public-private partnership between Fluor Enterprises, Inc., Transurban, and the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) under the Virginia Public Private Transportation Act.  WSSI provided natural resource studies for the project and obtained all necessary aquatic resource permits required including Subaqueous Bed Permit from the VMRC, an Individual Permit from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (COE), and an Individual Virginia Water Protection Permit from the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ), and a Federal Coastal Zone Management (CZM) Consistency Certification letter from DEQ for the project.  WSSI also secured a modification of these permits when final project design required some adjustments to impact areas.

The permit application included an assessment of the impacts associated with various alignments where possible.  (Minimization measures are very limited for this type of project; the roadway alignment is already chosen because of the existing Beltway roadway and the extremely close proximity to buildings, houses, and other infrastructure.)  To meet the Clean Water Act permit application requirements and to assist the COE and the DEQ in determining the necessary compensation for permitted impacts, WSSI conducted stream assessments in accordance with all applicable methodologies: the COE’s Stream Attributes Analysis Methodology (SAAM), the DEQ’s Stream Impact and Compensation Assessment Manual (SICAM), and WSSI’s Stream Impact Assessment Manual (SIAM).  WSSI also evaluated potential habitat for the presence of the state-threatened wood turtle (Glyptemys insculpta) and the federally threatened / state-endangered small whorled pogonia (Isotria medeoloides). 

WSSI is also performing construction monitoring as required by the DEQ wetland permits to insure only permitted impacts are taken.  WSSI also prepared and submitted the Virginia Stormwater Management Program (VSMP) application and Storm Water Pollution Prevention Plans (SWPPP) and is providing an independent third party audit of the project’s erosion and sediment controls.

The project’s impacts will be compensated by the purchase of mitigation credits from the Cedar Run Wetlands Bank and the Northern Virginia Stream Restoration Bank.  Both banks are designed and managed by WSSI.