Interstate 495 in Virginia
Interstate 495 or I -495 is an Interstate Highway in the U.S. state of Virginia. The highway forms the Capital Beltway, the ring road around the capital Washington, DC Together with Interstate 495 in Maryland, the road forms a 103 kilometer long beltway, 37 kilometers of which lies in Virginia and connects the western and southern suburbs.
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The express lanes of I-495.
Interstate 495 from Maryland enters the state via the American Legion Bridge. This bridge has 2×4 lanes with a weaving section. This area, like large parts of the agglomeration, is densely wooded. Immediately after the bridge is the interchange with the George Washington Memorial Parkway, which leads to Arlington and downtown Washington. The road then also has 2×4 lanes and leads through the densely wooded and relatively sparsely built suburbs. Near the suburb of Tysons Corner, one crosses the Dulles Airport Toll Road, the toll road that connects the conurbation with Washington International Airport. Tysons Corner is a work location, with a large office park. A little further on, one crosses theInterstate 66, connecting northern Virginia to Washington.
The road then continues south, past the western suburbs. These suburbs are very sparsely built-up, and do not have a grid pattern as a street network. This section of I-495 has a network of express lanes in the middle. One then arrives at the major Springfield Interchange, a major interchange, where Interstate 95 merges from Richmond onto I-495. To the north is Interstate 395, which goes directly to Washington. After that, 2×4 lanes will be available, starting one of the most traffic-prone stretches of I-495 through Alexandria. This is also a smaller center in the agglomeration. One then arrives at the Woodrow Wilson Bridgeacross the Potomac River, which also forms the border with Maryland. Interstate 495 in Maryland then continues through the southern and eastern suburbs.
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Most of the highway was opened in one go, except for the two major bridges in the Beltway, namely the Woodrow Wilson Bridge on the south side opened in 1961 and the American Legion Memorial Bridge on the north side opened in 1964. The intermediate section opened in 1964. In 1977, the Virginia Beltway was widened to 2×4 lanes.
|Exit 177||Exit 3||5 km||21-12-1961|
|Exit 41||exit 43||3 km||00-12-1962|
|exit 43||Exit 177||32 km||02-04-1964|
The Springfield Interchange between I-95, I-395 and I-495.
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.
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.
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.
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.
495 Express Lanes
The express lanes of I-495 at Tysons Corner.
Between 2008 and November 17, 2012, so-called express lanes were constructed in the median strip of I-495 between Dulles Toll Road and the Springfield Interchange with I-95. The highway has been widened from 2×4 lanes to 4+2+2+4 lanes. The middle lanes are toll lanes, in fact HOT lanes with a variable toll rate to keep the lanes always free flow. I-495 has been completely reconstructed here. The construction of the express lanes caused the bridge over the Pomotac west of Washington to become a bottleneck. As a temporary measure, a left rush hour lane has been constructed up to the George Washington Parkway. This opened on July 7, 2015.
Between 2022 and 2025, the express lanes on the west side of Washington have been extended 4 kilometers north to the American Legion Bridge over the Potomac River on the Maryland border. Construction began on March 14, 2022.
Woodrow Wilson Bridge
The Woodrow Wilson Bridge over the Potomac River.
The Woodrow Wilson Bridge is a bascule bridge over which I-95 and I-495 run. The bridge spans the Potomac River for 2 kilometers. The old bridge had a drawbridge, which opened about 260 times a year, while the bridge handles 250,000 vehicles per day. The new, higher span does not need to be opened as often. The old bridge was completed in 1961, and had 2×3 lanes. This bridge was designed to handle 75,000 vehicles per 24 hours, but this bridge later received more than 200,000 vehicles, more than twice the original design capacity. This is because in the original plans, I-95 would not run together with I-495, but through downtown Washington directly toward Baltimore.. In addition, housing costs in Maryland are much lower than in Virginia, causing many more people to commute from those areas to Washington.
In 1999, the construction of two new bridges next to the existing bridge started. These bridges together count 12 lanes, and are higher. The first new 2×3 lane bridge opened on June 10, 2006 without falling behind schedule. The old bridge was blown up later that year by a commuter who had won a competition. The second bridge was completed in mid-May 2008, so that from May 30, 2008, instead of 6, 12 lanes would be available. The rest of the project will be completed around 2009, with some side projects in 2013. Now, instead of 260 times a year, the bridge only needs to be opened 65 times a year.
24,000 vehicles use the express lanes every day. These 24,000 vehicles have already been incorporated into the traffic intensities below. The traffic intensities mentioned are to the west / north of the mentioned connection.
|54 Braddock Road||209,000|
|52 Little River Turnpike||194,000|
|51 Gallows Road||195,000|
|50 Arlington Boulevard||220,000|
|47 Leesburg Pike||196,000|
|46 Chain Bridge Road||186,000|
|45 Dulles Toll Road||185,000|
|44 Georgetown Pike||196,000|
|43 Georgen Washington Memorial Parkway||234,000|
|Potomac Bridge||Exit 45 (Dulles Toll Road)||2×4|
|Exit 45 (Dulles Toll Road)||Exit 57 (I-95)||4+2+2+4|
|Exit 57 (I-95)||Exit 64||2×4|
|Exit 64||Woodrow Wilson Bridge||4×3|