According to Bestitude, Interstate 95 or I -95 is an Interstate Highway in the U.S. state of Virginia. The highway forms a north-south route from the border with the state of North Carolina to the border with the state of Maryland and passes through Petersburg, the capital Richmond and the suburbs of Washington, DC I-95 runs inland from the east coast of the United States, but it does run for a long stretch along the Potomac River estuary south of Washington. The Maryland border is formed by the Woodrow Wilson Memorial Bridge over the Potomac River. I-95 is 288 kilometers long in Virginia.
North Carolina to Richmond
The huge flyovers at the interchange with VA-895 at Richmond.
From North Carolina, Interstate 95 continues in a northerly direction. You pass Emporia, where US 58 runs to Norfolk and Danville. From here, US 58 is a lot shorter to Norfolk than the Interstate 64 route. The landscape is an alternation of forests and meadows. However, the landscape is quite flat and low. Just south of Petersburg, Interstate 295 exits, forming an eastern bypass along Petersburg and Richmond. This allows through traffic to avoid the larger city of Richmond. Petersburg itself has 34,000 inhabitants and is part of a small agglomeration with more than 100,000 inhabitants.
In Petersburg, Interstate 85 from Durham and Atlanta terminates at I-95. Further on, the highway has 2×3 lanes, as the Richmond metropolitan area (200,000 inhabitants, and 1.2 million in the metropolitan area) is not much further north. I-295 parallels 5 to 10 kilometers away. Just before Richmond, State Route 288 turns off, a highway-developed southern bypass from Richmond. This bypasses Interstate 64 to Charlottesville and Roanoke in the west of the state. A little further on, the highway runs parallel to the James River. It crosses two highways, the Pocahontas Parkway to the east (to I-295), and the Chippenham Parkwaywhich runs through the southern suburbs of Richmond, forming a second southern bypass.
The built-up area becomes denser, passing an industrial estate on the south bank of the James River. The one-mile bridge crosses the James River and follows the elevated intersection with the Downtown Expressway through the center of town. I-95 runs east of downtown. This section has 2×4 lanes. After this, the I-64 from Norfolk merges, and both roads are double-numbered for a short time. This route has 3+4 lanes. The highway here forms a transition from industrial estates to residential areas. On the north side of downtown, there is another major interchange, where I-195 ends, and I-64 heads west.
The I-95 runs through suburbs here, and has 2×3 lanes. At the northern end of the metropolitan area, the interchange follows with I-295, with Interstate 295 to I-95 being streamlined from the south to the north by means of flyovers. After this, the agglomeration is left.
Richmond to Washington DC
I-95 just north of Richmond.
After Richmond the highway again runs through a flat landscape consisting of mainly forests interspersed with some meadows. The highway runs due north, and there are few larger towns along the way. Near Fredericksburg you enter an area that has always had a strong military presence. Most military installations and bases are along I-95 south of Washington. After Fredericksburg, I-95 parallels the Potomac River, which forms an estuary 3 miles wide.
To the left and right of the highway are military facilities, the most famous being Quantico Marine Corps Base. After Quantico you reach the first suburbs of Washington DC, the capital of the United States, which itself is still about 45 kilometers away. The first major suburb is the sparsely built-up suburb of Dale City, nestled in the woods with a population of 56,000. From here, I-95 quickly gets busier due to the huge commuter flow to the capital. The highway has 2×3+2 lanes from Garrisonville, with a 2-lane interchangeable lane where tolls are levied, so-called express lanes. Further north this will be a 3-lane interchangeable lane. Suburban density is increasing closer to Washington, with many offices and activity around Franconia and Springfield giving this area the edge of an edge city.
One passes the Springfield Interchange, a complex interchange with numerous flyovers, serving more than 430,000 vehicles daily in all directions. Here, I-95 turns east to form the ring road with I-495. I -395 continues straight into downtown Washington. The so-called “Capital Beltway” has 2×4 lanes. In Alexandria, one of the largest suburbs in Washington with 128,000 inhabitants, one crosses the Potomac River, which is two to three kilometers wide here. The river also forms the border with the state of Maryland, and continues into this state.
Called the Springfield Interchange, named for the suburb in which it is located, and is known locally as the Mixing Bowl. The interchange serves as an interchange for I-395, I-495, and I-95, and was one of the most traffic-prone interchanges in the eastern United States. For the reconstruction, travelers had to weave left and right to arrive in the right direction. After reconstruction, this was a thing of the past on April 21, 2007. The interchange is one of the busiest interchanges in the eastern United States with more than 430,000 vehicles daily.
The interchange was built in the 1960s as a simple interchange between I-95 and the Capital Beltway. It used to be planned to run I-95 right through the District of Columbia. After protests, I-95 was rerouted over I-495 east of the city. As a result, all traffic that wanted to follow I-95 had to go over a different route from the interchange that was not designed for this. In the early 1970s, 150,000 vehicles a day used the interchange. Thirty years later, that number had more than doubled. This caused traffic jams of many kilometers that also lasted all day.
A study conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration found that 179 accidents occurred at the interchange between 1993 and 1994, more than anywhere else on I-95 or the Capital Beltway. The accident rate was higher than any other node.
In 1998, the Virginia Department of Transportation began an eight-year reconstruction consisting of 7 phases. The project was one of the largest reconstructions of the American highway network ever, costing $676 million.
The Springfield Interchange.
Phase 1 was completed in 1996 and consisted of adding one lane of I-95 southbound to allow traffic flow from the interchange and not block the interchange.
Phase 2 and 3
Phases 2 and 3 were completed in 2001 and consisted of the following works;
- Reconstruction of the exit to Route 644 just south of the interchange so that turning traffic does not block I-95 and the interchange.
- realigning the flyovers from route 644 to I-95 North so that you merge from the right, not the left.
- improve the bridge in Commerce Street. The I-95 corridor is 190 meters wide here.
- A direct connecting arch from route 644 to I-95 South, so that the congestion-causing clover loop could be removed.
- bridge in route 644
- construction of a clover loop from I-95 to route 644, instead of traffic lights.
- construction of a bridge to HOV lanes toward I-95 to the north.
- reconstruction of the HOV-lane slope towards the south.
Phase 4 was completed in 2004, and included the relocation of the entire highway, and a two-lane flyover from east to south on I-95. Files are now an exception here.
Phase 5 was completed in March 2004 and included the reconstruction of the connection with I-395 and I-495 heading north. In addition, a small portion of I-495 west of the interchange was widened.
Phase 6 and 7
Phases 6 and 7 were the final phases and were completed in July 2007 and consisted of the following works;
- The construction of a flyover from I-395 south to I-95/I-495 east.
- Creation of a flyover from I-395 over the interchange to the exit for route 644.
- A two-lane flyover from I-95 over the interchange to I-495, docking for through traffic
- Construction of a three-lane flyover from I-95 from the south to I-495 west, so that traffic no longer has to go through the clover loop.
- Construction of a new bridge so that traffic turning off the ring road no longer has to exit on the left, but on the right.
- Construction of a parallel track system so that not all traffic has to change lanes at the junction.
I-95 at Richmond.
The fork of I-95 for the parallel structure over the Woodrow Wilson Bridge at Alexandria.
The first parts of what is now I-95 were originally other roads. In 1952, the first section of the current route, then numbered the VA-350, opened between Woodbridge and downtown Washington D.C. In 1958, the Richmond – Petersburg Turnpike, a toll road, opened. The first section of I-95 as an Interstate Highway as well as the very first Interstate Highway in Virginia opened in 1959 as the Emporia bypass in the far south of the state. The rest of the route was opened in the early to mid-1960s. The last section to open connected there, between Emporia and Jarratt in 1982. Between 1965 and 1975, the oldest section in suburban Washington was reconstructed to modern Interstate standards. In 1977, I-95 was rerouted around Washington DC. Instead of the route to downtown, it was routed over the Beltway, which opened in 1964, I-495. The old route from the Springfield Interchange to Downtown Washington DC was numbered I-395. In 1992, the Richmond – Petersburg Turnpike became toll-free.
US 1 and US 301 were two busy north-south routes that ran on the same road between Richmond and Petersburg. The need for relief from this road became great after the Second World War. At the time, Virginia had hardly any high-quality roads. In 1955, the Richmond Petersburg Turnpike Authority was established, which would build a toll road between the two cities. This toll road was 56 kilometers long and cost $76.7 million to construct at the time. The entire toll road opened at once on July 1, 1958. Shortly thereafter, the route became part of I-95, which, apart from this toll road, had barely been realized in the state of Virginia.
The original bonds for the construction of the toll road had been paid off in 1975. However, in December 1973 further bonds were issued to fund improvements to the toll road. This project involved widening 35 kilometers of the toll road to 2×3 lanes between the James River in Richmond and the interchange with I-85 in Petersburg. After this was paid off, the toll collection was ended in 1992. This also had to do with the fact that the toll-free Interstate 295 as a parallel bypass of Richmond and Petersburg was also completed in 1992.
I-95 Express Lanes
Due to increasing suburbanization along the I-95 corridor in northern Virginia, the existing two – lane HOV interchange lane has been converted to a three- lane express lane interchange, and extended south to Garrisonville to create a 46-mile toll interchange in the central reservation of the highway. I-95 past the Springfield Interchange. For this purpose, I-95 had a space reservation in the median strip as far as Fredericksburg. The express lanes have not been built that far south. Work started in August 2012 and the express lanes opened to traffic on December 14, 2014. In 2017, the express lanes were extended another 3 kilometers southwards and opened on October 31, 2017 to south of SR-610 in Garrisonville. Thereafter, the express lanes were extended another 10 miles south to Fredericksburg, which will open in December 2023.
|Exit 161||Exit 170||14 km||24-05-1952|
|Exit 51||Exit 82||50 km||01-07-1958|
|exit 8||exit 12||6 km||08-09-1959|
|Exit 41||exit 45||6 km||00-00-1961|
|exit 45||Exit 51||10 km||00-00-1962|
|exit 0||exit 8||13 km||00-00-1963|
|Exit 82||Exit 92||16 km||00-00-1963|
|Exit 92||Exit 126||55 km||00-00-1964|
|Exit 152||Exit 161||14 km||00-00-1964|
|Exit 170||Exit 177||12 km||02-04-1964|
|Exit 126||Exit 152||42 km||00-00-1965|
|exit 12||Exit 20||13 km||15-09-1982|
The express lanes of I-95 between Garrisonville and the Springfield Interchange with I-495 are tolled. The toll is fully electronic with an E-ZPass. Dynamic toll rates apply on the express lanes based on the current traffic volume.
Signage for the express lanes on I-95.
|North Carolina state line||43,000|
|31 Stony Creek||38,000|
|54 Colonial Heights||104,000|
|73 Richmond (James River Bridge)||118,000|
|104 Ruther Glen||104,000|
|126 South Fredericksburg||122,000|
|133 North Fredericksburg||133,000|
|143 Aquia Harbor||146,000|
|156 Dale Boulevard||198,000|
|158 Prince William Parkway||202,000|
|166 Fairfax County Parkway||256,000|
I-95 is notoriously congested between Fredericksburg and Washington. This part has a lot of long-haul commuters, it’s 50 miles from Fredericksburg to Washington, DC, but much of the employment in Northern Virginia is closer, so there are large flows of commuter traffic to both the city of Washington and the suburbs of Virginia. The stretch from I-95 to the Springfield Interchange with I-395 and I-495 is the busiest stretch in Virginia with 256,000 vehicles per day.