Interstate 495 or I -495 is an Interstate Highway in the U.S. state of Maryland. The highway, together with Interstate 495 in Virginia, forms the Capital Beltway, the ring road of Washington DC. The total route is 103 kilometers long, of which 66 kilometers runs through Maryland.
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I-495 on the south side of Washington, before the fork at the Woodrow Wilson Bridge.
I-495 on the northeast side of Washington.
I-495 at I-270 on the northwest side of Washington.
I-495 runs counterclockwise around Washington through the Maryland suburbs. Interstate 495 in Virginia crosses the Maryland border at the Woodrow Wilson Bridge over the Potomac River. I-495 then forms Washington’s Eastern Beltway and coincides with I-95. I-495 has mostly 2×4 lanes and has several interchanges with other highways, such as I-295, SR-5 and SR-4. Washington’s eastern suburbs are located in affluent Prince George’s County. I-495 runs right past Andrews Air Force Base and there are several office parks along the highway. On the east side of Washington follows an interchange with Interstate 595to the capital Annapolis.
On the northeast side of Washington, it follows an interchange with State Route 295, also known as the Washington-Baltimore Parkway. I-95 then exits to Baltimore, after which I-495 forms the North Ring of Washington. This part also has 2×4 lanes, the northern suburbs extend far over I-495. This part of I-495 is relatively winding. At the large suburb of Bethesda, Interstate 270 with two branches connects to I-495. The highway then runs along the northwest side of Washington, through expensive suburbs. There is another connection to the Clara Barton Parkway, after which I-495 crosses the Potomac River again and continues on Interstate 495 in Virginia.
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The highway was approved by the United States government in 1955, and on December 21, 1961, the first section was opened, including the Woodrow Wilson Bridge over the Potomac on Washington’s south side. The highway was soon built and completed on August 17, 1964. Originally, I-495 on the east side of Washington was planned as a regular beltway, and Interstate 95 was planned by Washington DC itself. This was never built, so I-495 had to handle all through traffic. In 1972, most of Maryland’s I-495 was widened to 2×4 lanes, running along the east and north sides of the city as far as Silver Spring. In the early 1990s, the rest of the north ring road through Bethesda was widened to 2×4 lanes.
From 1973, I-95 was routed over the East Ring. It was not until 1991 that the I-495 was signposted here again.
The Woodrow Wilson Bridge between Virginia and Maryland was replaced by a new bridge in the 2000s. On June 10, 2006, the new bridge opened on the south side of the old 6-lane bridge. On August 29, 2006, the old bridge was demolished. On May 30, 2008, the new North Bridge, also with 6 lanes, was opened, providing a 12-lane capacity across the Potomac. At the same time, the interchange with Interstate 295 was also renovated.
|exit 33||exit 35||3 km||00-00-1957|
|Exit 29||Exit 31||3 km||00-12-1961|
|Exit 177||Exit 3||5 km||21-12-1961|
|Exit 41||exit 43||3 km||00-12-1962|
|Exit 3||Exit 29||42 km||16-08-1964|
|Exit 31||exit 33||3 km||16-08-1964|
|exit 35||Exit 41||10 km||16-08-1964|
On September 21, 2017, it was announced that express lanes will be added to I-495. Similar express lanes are a success on Interstate 495 in Virginia, but the end of express lanes on the Virginia border is a major bottleneck, especially the bridge over the Potomac River on Washington’s west side. The express lanes are planned as two toll lanes in each direction and are planned as a PPP project.
In November 2019, it was agreed to widen 3 miles of I-495 in Maryland on the west side of Washington, DC to 12 lanes, with 2×4 general purpose lanes and 2 express lanes in each direction. This connects to the express lanes of I-495 in Virginia. This will replace the American Legion Bridge over the Potomac River and widen I-495 on the Maryland side, initially to River Road (SR-109).
On February 18, 2021, Transurban was selected to develop the express lanes on the west ring, from the American Legion Bridge to I-270. Subsequently, the construction of the express lanes appeared to become uncertain, but on July 21, 2021, the plans were still approved, along with the express lanes on I-270. Subsequently, on 11 August 2021, the award of a contract for the development of the plan was approved by Transurban.
I-495 is extremely busy, almost the entire beltway in Maryland has 200,000 to 250,000 vehicles per day on mostly 2×4 lanes. The quietest point is the section between the two branches of I-270 on the northwest side of Washington, where 110,000 vehicles drive a day. However, this is only a short piece.
The traffic intensities below are after the aforementioned connection.
|Woodrow Wilson Memorial Bridge||231,000|
|33 Connecticut Avenue||217,000|
|40 branch route||227,000|
|41 Clara Barton Parkway||238,000|
I-495 is notoriously prone to congestion due to the extremely high traffic volumes, with mostly 200,000 to 250,000 vehicles per day in 2×4 lanes. Washington is a city of officials and has to deal with lengthy rush hours around office hours, but congestion on I-495 can occur at any time of the day. All inter-suburban and through traffic is dependent on I-495. It is the only fast connection for the suburbs around Washington.
|Woodrow Wilson Bridge||Exit 3||4×3|
|Exit 3||Exit 35 I-270 East Branch||2×4|
|Exit 35 I-270 East Branch||Exit 38 I-270 West Branch||2×3|
|Exit 38||exit 39||2×5|
|Exit 39||Potomac Bridge||2×4|