Virginia Beach Transit Extension

Town Center, Virginia-Beach

The Virginia Beach Transit Extension project is currently in preliminary engineering for a 3.5-mile extension of The Tide light rail to Town Center. This work will develop engineering plans to a 30 percent level. Once completed, the City of Virginia Beach will be ready to begin the process of soliciting and awarding a design-build contract for the project. Virginia Beach is expected to publish a request for proposals to pre-qualified design build teams in the winter of 2016.

Design-build means the owner (Virginia Beach) manages from a single point of responsibility. The designer and contractor are on the same team and provide a unified approach to project development. Traditional projects often have separate contracts for designers and contractors where owners become middlemen between the two groups. The city is expected to manage this effort to build an extension of The Tide. HRT would manage revenue operations once the work is complete.

During the summer and fall of 2015 the project reached other important milestones. In May 2015, Virginia Beach City Council and Hampton Roads Transit selected a preferred route to Town Center. The selection was based on years study that compared a range of alternatives including separate options to Rosemont Road, the Oceanfront and to the Oceanfront via a segment along Laskin Road. The study took into consideration extensive public input and conceptual comparisons of each alternative.


The proposed Town Center extension will connect the downtown areas of two of Hampton Roads’ largest cities with a reliable mode of travel. It will increase connectivity and mobility options while also supporting Virginia Beach’s expectation that most new economic growth will arise along the city’s Strategic Growth Areas.

The project also will help foster the growth of transit-oriented development. These are neighborhoods of homes and businesses within a quarter-mile or half-mile of transit. Creating these neighborhoods gives residents a choice. Want to live in the suburbs, on a cul de sac and have a big yard? That will remain a popular option in Virginia Beach. Want to ditch the car and live in a transit-oriented community? You can do that, too. It’s a lifestyle choice, and one Virginia Beach wants to offer. Extending light rail to Town Center will also keep the door open for consideration of future transit expansion.

Proposed VBTE Design-Build

  • City of Virginia Beach to award and manage Design-Build process
  • Design-Build is a method of project delivery in which one entity – the design-build team – works under a single contract with the project owner to provide design and construction services.
    • Letter of interest released by City in October 2015 to contracting community
    • RFQ*/ Prequalification of Design Build Teams: Spring 2016
    • RFP** to Pre-Qualified Design Build Teams: Winter of 2016/17
    • City awards Design Build contract – Spring/ Summer 2017
  • D-B Optional Task may include design and construction of a planned pedestrian and bicycle path to run parallel to the light rail tracks.

RFQ* – Request for qualification
RFP** – Request for proposals

VBTE Conceptual Schedule

Completion of HRT Preliminary Engineering September 2016
Virginia Beach Design Build RFQ Spring 2016
Virginia Beach Design Build RFP Winter 2016 / Spring 2017
Virginia Beach award of D-B Contract Spring/Summer 2017
End of Construction Summer 2019
Safety Testing and Startup Process Fall / Winter 2019

Proposed Light Rail Stations

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