U.S. Codes and Statutes

Code > Virginia > Title 56. Public Service Companies > VA CODE § 56-544. Board approval;  inspection agreement with Department

A. The applicant for a certificate of authority to construct or enlarge a roadway pursuant to this chapter shall first secure the approval of the Board for the project, the project construction costs, the location and design of the roadway, and its connection with any road under the jurisdiction of the Board, at proper and convenient places, in order to provide for the convenience of the public.  The Board shall approve or deny approval by the later to occur of (i) sixty days following receipt of a description of the proposed location and design of the roadway and its connection with all other roads, or (ii) forty-five days following the conduct of a hearing contemplated by subsection B of § 33.2-208, if such a hearing is held and provided that the notice requirements of that section are fulfilled by the Department within thirty days of receipt of the application, a project design, and a description of the project and the public need for the project.  The Board shall approve the project and its interconnections with other roads if there is a public need for a road project of the type proposed and the project and its interconnections are compatible with the existing road network.  It shall approve the project construction costs if they are reasonable.  If interconnections with an interstate highway or other federal facility are contemplated, the Board's approval shall be conditioned upon ultimate approval of any interconnection if such federal approvals are required and have not been obtained by the time the Board acts.  Approval of the roadway design shall not be withheld if it conforms materially with Department practices for toll facilities of similar size and with similar usage patterns.  In making its determinations, the Board shall keep in mind the public interest, which may include, without limitation, such considerations as the relative speed of the construction of the project and the allocation of the technical, financial and human resources of the Department.  The approval granted by the Board shall be conditioned upon subsequent compliance by the applicant with the agreement contemplated by subsection B of this section.  If the roadway is to be built partially or completely along existing state highway right-of-way, the Board shall grant the applicant authority to use such right-of-way only after approval of this use of the right-of-way by the General Assembly.

B. If approval of the project, project design, and connections of the roadway is granted by the Board, the Department shall thereafter enter into a comprehensive agreement with the operator which provides, inter alia, that the Department shall review and approve plans and specifications for the roadway if they conform to state practices;  that the Department will inspect and approve construction of the roadway if it conforms to the plans and specifications or state construction and engineering standards;  that the Department will, throughout the life of the roadway project, monitor the maintenance practices of the operator and take such actions as are appropriate to ensure the performance of maintenance obligations;  and that the Department shall be reimbursed its direct project costs, by the operator, for the services performed by the Department.  The agreement shall also provide, inter alia, that the operator will establish and fund accounts which shall ensure that funds are available to meet the obligations of the operator;  including reasonable reserves for contingencies and maintenance replacement activities.  The approval of plans and specifications, and construction may be undertaken in phases, but no construction may commence until approval of plans including that phase of construction.  The services for which the Department shall be reimbursed include project development costs, such as those attendant to preparation of environmental impact statements, which are necessary for the construction of the roadway by a private operator but have been performed by the Department.  The agreement may include a provision that the Department will perform services necessary for project development on behalf of the operator, and in such a case, the Department shall be fully reimbursed by the operator for its direct costs.