RD132 - Best Practices for the Reforestation of the Interstate-495 High Occupancy Toll (HOT) Lanes Project Construction Corridor

Executive Summary:
Pursuant to item 455.I.1 of Chapter 781 of the 2009 Acts of Assembly, the Virginia Transportation Research Council (VTRC) conducted a study of best practices for the reforestation of the Interstate-495 High Occupancy Toll (HOT) Lanes project construction corridor. The best practices review was presented to the Secretary of Transportation and the Commonwealth Transportation Board in December 2009, and a copy was provided to the Virginia Megaprojects General Engineering Contractor (GEC) for use in a conceptual study for the reforestation of the cleared and altered areas within the I-495 HOT Lanes project limits.

The GEC conceptual study subsequently provided recommendations that align with the VTRC study and satisfy requirements of item 455.I.2 of Chapter 781 of the 2009 Acts of Assembly to recommend the most effective approach to restore vegetation within the construction corridor. The recommendation is to utilize a combination of techniques to develop meadow zones dominated by native grasses and other non-woody plants, transitional zones dominated by a tree canopy of juvenile pioneer species as well as grasses and other herbaceous plant material, and reforestation zones dominated by diverse species of hardwood trees with a dense canopy that shades out most undergrowth.

The estimate of the probable cost to restore vegetation along the I-495 HOT Lanes corridor is $5,000,000 (in 2010 dollars). This estimate includes site preparation, plant material, and labor.