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Author Topic: Virginia  (Read 745955 times)

cpzilliacus

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Re: Virginia
« Reply #800 on: June 14, 2013, 05:03:03 PM »

TOLLROADSnews: Pocahontas Parkway turned over to lenders

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The Pocahontas Parkway tollroad in the eastern part of the Richmond VA metro area is being turned over to its lenders by Transurban. The Australia-based toll operator has long written off its equity in the pike.
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WillWeaverRVA

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Re: Virginia
« Reply #801 on: June 14, 2013, 06:50:14 PM »

I love how Transurban pretty much blames Richmond for the failure of VA 895.
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OracleUsr

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Re: Virginia
« Reply #802 on: June 14, 2013, 10:34:34 PM »

I always preferred taking 10 from 95 to 295.  I could never see what 895 could do that 10 couldn't accomplish that really justified the toll.
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Thing 342

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Re: Virginia
« Reply #803 on: June 14, 2013, 10:41:22 PM »

895's only use for me was as a cutover from 295 to 95 in order to get on 85. Not worth paying the toll IMO.
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OracleUsr

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Re: Virginia
« Reply #804 on: June 14, 2013, 10:47:35 PM »

Yeah, that's what I thought.  Heck, even though it's a pain in the neck to get to, VA 36 is a decent cutover from 85/95 to 295 (and it has an awesome Korean BBQ restaurant).
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froggie

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Re: Virginia
« Reply #805 on: June 15, 2013, 01:19:32 AM »

I've used 895 a couple of times when I was in Chesterfield or somewhere along 150 and wanted to get back to 64 (or 5, the "scenic route" back east), but I'm in Richmond so infrequently that it's only been a handful of times total.
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WillWeaverRVA

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Re: Virginia
« Reply #806 on: June 15, 2013, 07:35:27 AM »

Sometimes I drive 895 simply for the view from the bridge, maybe once a year. There's so little traffic I could probably pull over and take photos from there (of course, if I did that the cops would be there pretty quickly).
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cpzilliacus

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Re: Virginia
« Reply #807 on: June 15, 2013, 12:00:22 PM »

Sometimes I drive 895 simply for the view from the bridge, maybe once a year. There's so little traffic I could probably pull over and take photos from there (of course, if I did that the cops would be there pretty quickly).

I drove it once because the bridge is cool, and Va. 895 seemed very empty - I suppose it adds a link to the  Richmond-area freeway network that allows an easy shift from I-95 to I-295 or vice versa in the event of an incident (presumably on RTP part of I-95, which seems much more incident-prone for obvious reasons).

Growth in air traffic at Richmond International (RIC) might help 895 at some point in the future.
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NJRoadfan

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Re: Virginia
« Reply #808 on: June 15, 2013, 07:24:34 PM »

Another VA-10 user here. Why bother paying a toll? Next boondoggle for the area, the US-460 "bypass".
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Takumi

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Re: Virginia
« Reply #809 on: June 15, 2013, 09:26:54 PM »

I use either VA 144/36 (living in Colonial Heights, this is easiest for me) or VA 10 going to and from I-295. I haven't been on 895 in years, probably before my first Prelude, but my dad has worked on projects on it and thus has taken some incredible pictures from the bridge. I may or may not ever use the new 460, since my typical route to Hampton Roads is "anything but 460". I'm sick of it, especially now that the Prince George section was dropped to 50 MPH. Depending on which part I go to, I prefer either VA 10 (southern parts) or VA 5/321/199/I-64 (north), but there are other ways to get there.
« Last Edit: June 15, 2013, 09:31:33 PM by Takumi »
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1995hoo

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Re: Virginia
« Reply #810 on: June 15, 2013, 10:28:09 PM »

I used 895 a couple of times some years ago but generally have little reason to do so. If I'm coming up I-85 and I want to use I-295 (which is all the more likely now that it's posted at 70 mph), I tend just to go the four miles south.

If 895 had been there in the mid-1990s when I was at Duke and my brother was at William & Mary, I might (and I emphasize "might") have used it going up to Williamsburg to visit, but I kind of doubt it because it's too far north. I usually went over the Benjamin Harrison Bridge and then took Route 5. It's more direct and it's a scenic route, whereas I-64 is boring.
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hbelkins

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Re: Virginia
« Reply #811 on: June 16, 2013, 12:28:43 AM »

So what exactly happens when a road gets turned over to its creditors? Will they close it? Raise the tolls? Sell it? Tear it down?
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cpzilliacus

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Re: Virginia
« Reply #812 on: June 16, 2013, 03:41:34 AM »

So what exactly happens when a road gets turned over to its creditors? Will they close it? Raise the tolls? Sell it? Tear it down?

I believe they own the concession to operate and maintain the road, but they do not own the road itself, which is, I believe, owned by the Commonwealth of Virginia (that seems to be the model in Virginia and at least some other states that have or have had privately-owned toll highway concessions, including Indiana and California).

The creditors can do several things (as I understand it):

(1) Operate it themselves (or hire someone to operate it);
(2) Try to sell the concession to someone else (and if they don't get enough to pay-off the debt they are owed, then they have to write the losses off);
(3) Operate it themselves in the hope that traffic (and toll revenue) will increase over time so they can sell the concession to someone else without having to take a write-off; or
(4) Abandon the project entirely (and write-off the debt they were owed), in which case the concession is presumably over and VDOT assumes ownership and operations responsibility (but owes the creditors nothing).

It's not at all directly comparable, but another non-VDOT toll facility in Virginia had bonds that were in default for quite a few years until traffic volumes increased enough to pay the principal and interest.  That facility was the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel District.  A friend of mine bought CBBTD bonds when they were in default at a pretty deep discount from their face value, but he ultimately made a lot of money on the deal, since he was eventually paid in full, including interest.
« Last Edit: June 16, 2013, 03:47:02 AM by cpzilliacus »
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froggie

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Re: Virginia
« Reply #813 on: June 16, 2013, 07:46:57 AM »

Are you sure that was CBBT?  I recall hearing that the Dulles Greenway was in that position.
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deathtopumpkins

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Re: Virginia
« Reply #814 on: June 16, 2013, 09:11:21 AM »

Echoing the sentiments of others, when I lived in VA I took 895 precisely once- to clinch it after it opened. Otherwise, never had a reason to. It's always surprised me that it even got built, considering there are so many other road projects in the state that are on hold that actually have a lot more potential to be useful.

1995hoo

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Re: Virginia
« Reply #815 on: June 16, 2013, 12:49:35 PM »

Are you sure that was CBBT?  I recall hearing that the Dulles Greenway was in that position.

The Greenway has definitely been in financial trouble several times.
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"You know, you never have a guaranteed spot until you have a spot guaranteed."
—Olaf Kolzig, as quoted in the Washington Times on March 28, 2003,
commenting on the Capitals clinching a playoff spot.

"That sounded stupid, didn't it?"—Kolzig, to the same reporter a few seconds later.

cpzilliacus

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Re: Virginia
« Reply #816 on: June 16, 2013, 01:00:02 PM »

Are you sure that was CBBT?  I recall hearing that the Dulles Greenway was in that position.

Absolutely sure. 

My friend owned (and sold) the CBBTD bonds years before there had been one spade of dirt turned for the Greenway. 

But yes, the Greenway also had major problems paying its creditors in its early years of operation.
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Arcanra

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Re: Virginia
« Reply #817 on: June 16, 2013, 01:19:30 PM »

Echoing the sentiments of others, when I lived in VA I took 895 precisely once- to clinch it after it opened. Otherwise, never had a reason to. It's always surprised me that it even got built, considering there are so many other road projects in the state that are on hold that actually have a lot more potential to be useful.

Same here. Living in the area, and having several friends and family members that live near it, no one I knows uses it, due to the high toll. They all say the extra 10-15 minutes travel time per day isn't worth the money they would spend per week to use it. My step-father and mother just moved here from Alaska a few months ago and live near it, they hopped onto it one day not realizing how high the toll was, and my step father was amazed at how no one was on it. When he got to the toll booth, he understood why.
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cpzilliacus

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Re: Virginia
« Reply #818 on: June 16, 2013, 01:54:16 PM »

Washington Post op-ed: Wasteful Charlottesville highway highlights problem with Bob McDonnell’s road plans

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A proposed six-mile highway outside Charlottesville is so wasteful and ill-conceived that it’s achieved literary status. It prompted best-selling novelist and area resident John Grisham to write a book implicitly denouncing it.

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“The Activist,” published last month and aimed at youths ages 10 to 12, is fictional. But Grisham said it was inspired by the decades-long battle over a $245 million bypass west of the city that’s home to the University of Virginia.

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Grisham, famed for such legal thrillers as “The Firm,” said the new book is about “a boneheaded bypass around a lovely little college town and all the issues that go into such a boondoggle.”

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The rest of the state, and especially Northern Virginia, should be equally appalled. The road is one of the most egregious examples of a pattern in which Gov. Bob McDonnell’s administration relentlessly pushes a major highway project despite abundant evidence that the money could be spent more wisely elsewhere.
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froggie

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Re: Virginia
« Reply #819 on: June 17, 2013, 01:43:49 AM »

For a bypass to truly work, it'd have to go all the way to Ruckersville, which would cost a pretty penny.  But implementing the Places29 vision that was created a few years ago would do a lot more for US 29 traffic than the bypass would.
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cpzilliacus

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Re: Virginia
« Reply #820 on: June 17, 2013, 02:55:43 PM »

For a bypass to truly work, it'd have to go all the way to Ruckersville, which would cost a pretty penny.  But implementing the Places29 vision that was created a few years ago would do a lot more for US 29 traffic than the bypass would.

I remember when that process was getting started years ago, but have not followed it at all.

I am gratified that they have an access management component to the document, which is (IMO) badly  needed along many sections of U.S. 29 across Virginia (except perhaps between Centreville and the District of Columbia, where access management is a lost cause).
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1995hoo

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Re: Virginia
« Reply #821 on: June 17, 2013, 03:57:33 PM »

For a bypass to truly work, it'd have to go all the way to Ruckersville, which would cost a pretty penny.  But implementing the Places29 vision that was created a few years ago would do a lot more for US 29 traffic than the bypass would.

Extending a bypass to Ruckersville would create various other problems as well (some of which would themselves raise the cost). There would almost certainly be some environmental hurdles because of the reservoir that's located behind the Rio Hill/Wal-Mart area. That's one reason the northern end of the currently-planned route is shoehorned in the way it is. I suppose it might be possible to take the currently-planned route east across 29 near the hotel (I think it's now the Doubletree; I still think of it as the Sheraton) and up the other side of Proffit Road so as to avoid the reservoir, but as you say, the cost would be prohibitive, and I don't doubt you might encounter some element of the "I-40 in Greensboro" issue where a fair number of people would opt for the current route because it'd be so much more direct. The people in Hollymead and Forest Lakes would understandably fight like hell to prevent the construction, too.

I am not familiar with the "Places29" plan, but I remember how it felt like an interminable mess when they rebuilt Route 29 from Hydraulic Road to the Rivanna River into its current configuration back in the early 1990s. I recall at the time there were plans to build interchanges at Hydraulic, Greenbrier Drive, and Rio Road, but they were deferred due to cost, space concerns, and serious opposition from the business community. Are those still part of the current plans?

They do have a legitimate problem, though, in that if you don't want to use 29 to go north–south (or vice versa) you have to go a good distance out of your way unless it's a strictly local trip. From the west side of town or from the University it's easy enough, if perhaps a bit slow at times, to get to the airport area via Hydraulic and Earlysville Roads; you just hang a right at the roundabout. The other side of town has no equivalent option (using Proffit Road means going across the Free Bridge to Pantops and up Route 20).
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"You know, you never have a guaranteed spot until you have a spot guaranteed."
—Olaf Kolzig, as quoted in the Washington Times on March 28, 2003,
commenting on the Capitals clinching a playoff spot.

"That sounded stupid, didn't it?"—Kolzig, to the same reporter a few seconds later.

cpzilliacus

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Re: Virginia
« Reply #822 on: June 17, 2013, 04:24:51 PM »

I am not familiar with the "Places29" plan, but I remember how it felt like an interminable mess when they rebuilt Route 29 from Hydraulic Road to the Rivanna River into its current configuration back in the early 1990s. I recall at the time there were plans to build interchanges at Hydraulic, Greenbrier Drive, and Rio Road, but they were deferred due to cost, space concerns, and serious opposition from the business community. Are those still part of the current plans?

Sorry, should have posted a link to it - it is hosted on the Albemarle County Web site: Places29 Master Plan
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cpzilliacus

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Re: Virginia
« Reply #823 on: June 17, 2013, 04:26:08 PM »

WTOP Radio: Transurban: Express Lanes don't have problems like Richmond toll road

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Creditors are taking over operations of a state-owned toll road outside Richmond that is run by the same company that runs the 495 Express Lanes, though a representative of the company denies that there are any problems regarding the Beltway lanes.

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Transurban, an Australian company, tells WTOP that the Pocahontas Parkway and 495 Express Lanes couldn't be more different, but a look at the numbers shows that the Beltway lanes have far fewer drivers using them at this point than originally projected, and other High Occupancy Toll lanes across the country are similarly coming up short of expectations for either the number of vehicles or the revenue raised.

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Initial projections for the lanes, prior to the economy faltering several years ago, said that more than 66,000 trips would be made each weekday within the first year. The lanes have been open seven months, and traffic is well below those expectations.
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1995hoo

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Re: Virginia
« Reply #824 on: June 17, 2013, 05:59:18 PM »

I am not familiar with the "Places29" plan, but I remember how it felt like an interminable mess when they rebuilt Route 29 from Hydraulic Road to the Rivanna River into its current configuration back in the early 1990s. I recall at the time there were plans to build interchanges at Hydraulic, Greenbrier Drive, and Rio Road, but they were deferred due to cost, space concerns, and serious opposition from the business community. Are those still part of the current plans?

Sorry, should have posted a link to it - it is hosted on the Albemarle County Web site: Places29 Master Plan

Thanks. Lots of info there that I'll have to look at some other time. I found it interesting, though, to see that the logo on the page you linked is a green "29" shield in the shape of an Interstate shield.
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"You know, you never have a guaranteed spot until you have a spot guaranteed."
—Olaf Kolzig, as quoted in the Washington Times on March 28, 2003,
commenting on the Capitals clinching a playoff spot.

"That sounded stupid, didn't it?"—Kolzig, to the same reporter a few seconds later.

 


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