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Interstate 495 Maryland / Virginia

 

This map depicts Washington, D.C. metropolitan area and the Capital Beltway. Exit numbers were reconfigured during the year 2000 to allow for a uniform mileage based system with numbers counting up from the Woodrow Wilson Bridge counterclockwise. Interstate 95 based mileage numbers are maintained from the Interstate 95/395/495 junction at Springfield to the Potomac River and District of Columbia line.

History

Probably the most well-known beltway in the country, Interstate 495, the Capital Beltway, encircles the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area. Constructed in the 1960s and fully opened to traffic in April 1964 in Virginia and on August 17, 1964, in Maryland, Interstate 495 boasts between six and ten lanes as it encircles the Capital City.1 Expansion has occurred several times through the years, and a new stack interchange at Springfield between the beltway, Interstate 95 south, and Interstate 395 north was completed in 2006. The original Wilson Bridge was the only bridge in the Interstate Highway System to be owned by the Federal Highway Administration; the state agencies (Maryland, Virginia, and District of Columbia) own the successor bridge that is currently under construction.

When Interstate 95 was deleted from within the beltway, that designation replaced Interstate 495 on the eastern half of the beltway. However, in 1989, the Interstate 495 designation was restored to the beltway so that the highway would carry a consistent number for its entire length. AASHTO affirmed the restoration of Interstate 495 as a circular route at its route numbering committee meeting on June 10, 1991. As a result of this action by AASHTO, the eastern half of the Capital Beltway is signed as both Interstate 95 and Interstate 495. Mileage stastics of the Interstate Route Log and Finder list attribute the overlapped mileage to Interstate 95 only, and thus tabulate only 31.41 miles to Interstate 495 as a whole.

The 1961-opened Woodrow Wilson Bridge, a draw bridge spanning the Potomac River between Alexandria, Virginia and Oxon Hill, Maryland was replaced by a massive construction project between May 2001 and 2009. Work included the demolition of the original bridges, construction of new spans at a height 20 feet above their predecessors and interchange upgrades on both sides of the river. The new Woodrow Wilson Bridge carries four carriageways in a local and express configuration with a 70 foot draw span. Express/local roadways lead east beyond Maryland 210 (Indian Head Highway) and west to Telegraph Road. Work at area interchanges continues through to early 2013 at Telegraph Road.

Major work broke ground in 2008 on Interstate 495 between Springfield and McLean, Virginia. This work focused on the rebuilding of the Capital Beltway to include High Occupancy Toll lanes within the middle of the freeway. Carrying two lanes per direction with ramps independent of the I-495 mainline, the toll lanes require the use of EZPass transponders and tolls that vary with the time of day. Motorists with three or more passengers may use the lanes free of charge by equipping an EZPass Flex transponder (a device with the ability to relay a signal of "HOV-ON"). The lanes opened to traffic on November 17, 2012 at a cost of $2 billion in funds paid by private companies Transurban and Fleur.2 More information on the 495 ExpressLanes, including travel conditions and traffic cameras found at the official web site.

The 495 ExpressLanes begin along Interstate 495 just north of Virginia 267 (Dulles Access Road). The HOT lanes partition from the left-hand side of I-495 south and quickly split with a ramp to VA-267 west. Photo taken December 30, 2012.

Highway Guides

Beltway Milepost 0 - Woodrow Wilson Bridge - Washington, District of Columbia
Perspective from Interstate 95 south/495 west
Beginning of the Woodrow Wilson Bridge on Interstate 95/495 Westbound. There is a very brief, tenth-of-a-mile segment of the beltway that enters the District of Columbia itself while on the bridge. Sign to the right displays "Potomac River." Construction is present to the southside of the bridge (the cranes in this photo). Photo taken by AARoads (10/14/01).
Perspective from Interstate 95 south
Approaching the draw span of the bridge. More signs of construction can be seen to the south. These cranes are part of a project to construct a new Potomac River crossing for the Capital Beltway. Photo taken by AARoads (10/14/01).
South Parent Junction - Interstate 95 and Interstate 395 - Springfield, Virginia
Perspective from Interstate 95 north
Interstates 66 and 270 and Dulles Airport auxiliary sign for Exit 170B on Interstate 95 northbound. These two Interstates extend the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area westward to Front Royal, Virginia and northwestward toward Frederick, Maryland. Similar signage can be found on Interstate 95 southbound as it approaches the Capital Beltway in Maryland. Photo taken by Andy Field (06/02/03).
Perspective from Interstate 95 south
A soon to be relic, this two mile diagrammatical overhead shows the current lane configuration of Interstate 95 northbound as it approaches Interstate 395 and the Capital Beltway. Photo taken by Andy Field (06/02/03).
Perspective from Interstate 95 south
An older set of overheads for Exits 170A and 170B on Interstate 95 northbound. These overheads have been replaced since this photo was taken. Also note that Interstate 495 used to have the northbound control city of Rockville. This was changed to Tysons Corner in the late 1990s. Photo taken by Alex Nitzman (08/29/96).
Perspective from Interstate 95 south
Interstate 95 northbound near the Franconia-Springfield Parkway interchange. While four lanes overall are in use for Interstate 95, when the route enters the Capital Beltway it is relegated to just a two lane ramp. This is one of the reasons as to why this traffic congestion plagued interchange is undergoing a massive face lift. The HOV roadway of Interstate 95 continues northward via the median of Interstate 395 to Arlington. Photo taken by Andy Field (06/02/03).
Perspective from Interstate 95 south
The travel lanes of Interstate 95 expand to six lanes in anticipation of the Capital Beltway junction. Construction is quite evident of the new Springfield Interchange between the three Interstates. Photo taken by Andy Field (06/02/03).
Perspective from Interstate 95 south
Northbound Interstate 95 traffic defaults onto Interstate 395 northbound. Traffic to the Capital Beltway departs to the right. The new flyovers of the Springfield Interchange will tower above. This is one of two recent interchange projects in the state of Virginia that have brought a new flair of interchange design to the Interstate system. The other noteworthy project is the western terminus of the new Virginia 895/Pocohontas Parkway south of Richmond. Photo taken by Andy Field (06/02/03).
Next Three Interstate Junctions for Interstate 95 north/495 east
Interstate 295 9 miles at Oxon Hill, MD
Perspective from Interstate 95 south
Interstate 595 26 miles at Ardmore, MD
Perspective from Interstate 95 south
Interstate 95/495
overlap end
34 miles at College Park, MD
Perspective from Interstate 395 north
With Interstate 95 now departed, Interstate 395 begins as Exit 170B for Interstate 495 westbound prepares to depart. Interstate 395 maintains six to eight lanes as it progresses northward to Alexandria, Arlington, and ultimately Washington, D.C. Photo taken by Andy Field (06/02/03).
Perspective from Interstate 95 south
Exit 170B carries two lanes to Interstate 495 westbound. Interstate 495 serves Annandale, Falls Church, Fairfax, Tysons Corner, and McLean before crossing into Maryland near Bethesda and Rockville. Photo taken by Andy Field (06/02/03).
Perspective from Interstate 495 east
The first appearance of the pending junction with Interstate 95 and Interstate 395 at the Springfield Interchange on eastbound Interstate 495 (Capital Beltway Outer Loop) is on this mileage sign, about six miles prior to the massive interchange. Photo taken by Alex Nitzman (07/12/05).
Perspective from Interstate 95 south
Shortly after the Braddock Road Interchange (Exits 54A-B, Junction Virginia Secondary 620) is this sign for the junction with Interstate 95 and Interstate 395. The right lanes will provide the connection to southbound Interstate 95, while the left lanes connect to Interstate 395 north. Through traffic can stay in the middle lanes to continue northeast on Interstate 95-495/Capital Beltway outer loop to the Woodrow Wilson Bridge. Photo taken by Alex Nitzman (07/12/05).
Perspective from Interstate 95 south
Five lanes of the Capital Beltway Outer Loop/Interstate 495 eastbound inch toward the southern terminus of Interstate 395 and the merge with Interstate 95. The first ramp exits onto Interstate 95 south, the second ramp connects to Interstate 395 north, and the main lanes continue directly onto Interstate 95-495 north. Photo taken by Alex Nitzman (07/12/05).
Perspective from Interstate 95 south
Use Exit 57A (Interstate 95 south) to Virginia Secondary 644, Virginia Secondary 7900, Franconia, and Springfield. Use Exit 57B (Interstate 395 north/left exit) to Arlington. Photo taken by Alex Nitzman (07/12/05).
Perspective from Interstate 95 south
Interstate 495 widens to six lanes. The right lane becomes exit only for southbound Interstate 95. The left lane will eventually become exit only for northbound Interstate 395. This photo comparison shows the changes between 2001 and 2005. In 2001, jersey barriers were present due to the Springfield Interchange project. By 2005, more lanes were added and ramps were relocated and widened. Photos taken by Alex Nitzman (07/12/05) and AARoads (10/14/01).
Perspective from Interstate 95 south
A variable message sign is posted on the next set of overheads. The exit only lane for Interstate 95 doubles to two lanes, and the left exit for Interstate 395 is one mile ahead. Photo taken by Alex Nitzman (07/12/05).
Perspective from Interstate 95 south
Exit 57A for Interstate 95 southbound departs before Interstate 495 intercepts the southern terminus of Interstate 395. Exit 57B for Interstate 395 northbound departs in 0.25 miles with Interstate 95 northbound entering the beltway soon thereafter. Photos taken by Alex Nitzman (07/12/05) and AARoads (10/14/01).
Perspective from Interstate 95 south
A look at the Interstate 95 southbound ramp from Interstate 495 eastbound with original exit numbers. Exits 4A and 4C were altered to Exit 57A and 57B during the 2001 exit renumbering project of the Capital Beltway. The numbers now count up counterclockwise from milepost 0 at the Woodrow Wilson Bridge. Photo taken by Alex Nitzman (08/04/00).
Perspective from Interstate 95 south
Continuing east, this was the overhead sign for northbound Interstate 395 as seen on Interstate 495 east. Note that the Interstate 95 northbound merge of Interstate 495 was treated as an exit and was given the number Exit 4A. This is no longer the case and rightly so, as traffic just continues straight with Interstate 95 traffic merging onto the Beltway and not vice versa. Vidcap taken by Alex Nitzman (05/27/95).
Perspective from Interstate 95 south/Interstate 495 west (Inner Loop Capital Beltway)
After crossing the Potomac River and serving Alexandria via Exit 177, Junction U.S. 1 and Exit 176, Junction Virginia 241, this mileage sign is the first advance guide sign for the Springfield interchange on southbound Interstate 95 and westbound Interstate 495: Junction Interstate 95, Interstate 395, and Interstate 495/Capital Beltway. The mileage sign also provides the distance to Exit 174, Eisenhower Avenue connector and Exit 173, Junction Virginia Secondary 613/Van Dorn Street. Photo taken by Alex Nitzman (06/17/05).
Perspective from Interstate 95 south
Southbound Interstate 95 and westbound Interstate 495/Capital Beltway reach Exit 173, Junction Virginia Secondary 613/Van Dorn Street. The next exit is Exit 170, Junction Interstate 395/Henry D. Shirley Memorial Highway north, Interstate 495/Capital Beltway west, and Interstate 95 south. Photo taken by Alex Nitzman (06/17/05).
Perspective from Interstate 95 south
In the westbound direction of the Capital Beltway, the northbound exit for Interstate 395/Exit 170B departs first. This photograph shows the one mile guide sign for that exit as the five lanes of Interstate 95/495 push westward. Compare the difference between 2005 and 2001, which show the approach to the Springfield interchange before and after reconstruction. And the large pull-through Interstate 95 sign changed within two weeks! Photos taken by Carter Buchanan (07/01/05), Alex Nitzman (06/17/05) and AARoads (10/14/01).
Perspective from Interstate 95 south
The lane allocations from left to right are: left two lanes, Interstate 95 south; middle two lanes, Interstate 495/Capital Beltway west; right lane, Interstate 395/Shirley Highway north and Junction Virginia Secondary 644 (Exit 169) to Springfield. Photo taken by Carter Buchanan (07/01/05).
Perspective from Interstate 95 south
Another set of overhead signs provide for lane allocations, including three lanes for through traffic on Interstate 495/Capital Beltway. One can follow the signs to Virginia Secondary 644 and still remain on Interstate 95: the exit ramp is really more like a collector-distributor ramp (although it is a bit more complicated than normal). Photo taken by Alex Nitzman (06/17/05).
Perspective from Interstate 95 south
Southbound Interstate 95 and westbound Interstate 495/Capital Beltway reach the exit ramp for Exit 170B, Junction Interstate 395/Shirley Highway north; Exit 170A, Junction Interstate 495/Capital Beltway west (Routes Divide); and Exits 169B-A, Junction Virginia Secondary 644 (Exit 169) to Springfield. Note that although the Virginia Secondary 644 interchange is about a mile south of the Interstate 95-395-495 interchange, one must use this exit now to get to that interchange. From this point, the left two lanes transition onto Interstate 95 south. Photo taken by Alex Nitzman (06/17/05).
Perspective from Interstate 95 south
Prior to the reconstruction of the interchange, new pier supports for an eventual flyover of the Springfield Interchange project rising high up, Interstate 395 northbound departs via Exit 170B. Interstate 95 and 495 will part ways in one quarter mile. Photo taken by AARoads (10/14/01).
Perspective from Interstate 95 south
Again prior to reconstruction, these two lanes used to facilitate the mainline of Interstate 95 southward from the Capital Beltway on a right-hand exit. It is this reduced capacity that causes routine traffic delays on a daily basis. Interstate 95 generally sees heavy traffic from the Potomac River southward to Stafford (Exit 140). See photos from 2005 above for the new configuration. Photo taken by AARoads (10/14/01).
Next Three Interstate Junctions for Interstate 95 south
Interstate 295 86 miles at Glen Hill, VA
Perspective from Interstate 95 south
Interstate 64
overlap begin/
Interstate 195
91 miles at Richmond, VA
Perspective from Interstate 95 south
Interstate 64
overlap end
95 miles at Richmond, VA
Next Three Interstate Junctions for Interstate 495 west
Interstate 66 8 miles at Oxon Hill, MD
Perspective from Interstate 95 south
Spur Interstate 270 19 miles at Ardmore, MD
Perspective from Interstate 95 south
Interstate 95/495
overlap begin
30 miles at Greenbelt, MD
North Parent Junction - Interstate 95 - Greenbelt, Maryland
Perspective from Interstate 95 north/495 west
Interstate 95 north/495 westbound, one half mile before their split. Interstate 95 receives three lanes as it departs the Capital Beltway while Interstate 495 maintains an overall eight lanes through the north parent junction. Even with this many lanes, traffic delays are frequent at this pivotal Capital Beltway interchange. Photo taken by Jim K. Georges (07/99).
Perspective from Interstate 95 south
Four lanes of Interstate 95 approach the Capital Beltway/Exit 27. Two lanes are allocated for Interstate 95 mainline travelers and two lanes for Interstate 495 west and U.S. 1 traffic interests to College Park. Photo taken by Alex Nitzman (07/12/05).
Night view of the one-half mile diagrammatical overhead for Interstate 95 southbound/Exit 27. Interstate 95 is the preferred route into Washington D.C. via either the Baltimore-Washington Parkway or U.S. 50. Photo taken by Alex Nitzman (07/12/05).
Attached to the Cherry Hill Road overpass, these auxiliary panels remind motorists of the lane allocation for the pending Interstate 95/495 north parent junction. Photo taken by Alex Nitzman (07/12/05).
Interstate 95 merges onto the Capital Beltway eastbound. The Capital Beltway (Interstate 95-495 southbound) reaches the Baltimore-Washington Parkway at Exit 22 in five miles. The parkway is restricted to commercial truck traffic. Therefore commerical vehicles en route to Washington, D.C., must continue south along the beltway another three miles to Junction U.S. 50 at Exit 19. To the west along Interstate 495/Capital Beltway, Exit 27 is signed for the Maryland suburbs of Washington: Silver Spring and Bethesda. Silver Spring is accessible from Exit 30 at Junction U.S. 29 and Bethesda from Exit 34/Junction Maryland 355. Photo taken by Alex Nitzman (07/12/05).
Traffic remaining to the right for Interstate 495 west also may access nearby U.S. 1 into College Park or continue down the original roadway slated for Interstate 95 to a Park and Ride Facility. Interstate 95 was to have connected Interstate 395 near downtown Washington when originally planned. This of course was abandoned, leaving a stub freeway from the Interstate 95/495 junction southward. This stub now serves the aforementioned transit facility. Photo taken by Alex Nitzman (07/12/05).
Continuing on the transition ramp to Interstate 495 west (outer loop of the Capital Beltway), the left lane becomes exit only for U.S. 1 south, while the right two lanes continue onto Interstate 495 west. Photo taken by Alex Nitzman (07/12/05).
The ramp splits between U.S. 1 and Interstate 495 west. To see the stub end of the proposed and now canceled section of Interstate 95 south toward Washington D.C., follow the U.S. 1 ramp to the Park and Ride facility. Photo taken by Alex Nitzman (07/12/05).
Traffic from southbound Interstate 95 finally merges onto westbound Interstate 495/Capital Beltway. The next interchange serves Junction Maryland 650/New Hampshire Avenue at Exits 28A-B. Photo taken by Alex Nitzman (07/12/05).
Next Three Interstate Junctions for Interstate 95 south/495 west
Interstate 595 8 miles at Ardmore, MD
Interstate 295 24 miles at Oxon Hill, MD
Interstate 95/495
overlap end
34 miles at Greenbelt, MD

Sources:

  1. Celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the Eisenhower Interstate Highway System: Previous Interstate Facts of the Day by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA).
  2. "Here come the Beltway HOT Lanes you ready?" The Washington Post, November 16, 2012.

Page Updated January 9, 2013.

 
Mileage

State Virginia
Mileage 15.28
Cities Springfield, Annandale, McLean, Vienna
Junctions Interstate 95/ Interstate 395, Interstate 66
State Maryland
Mileage 16.13
Cities Bethesda, Wheaton, Silver Spring
Junctions Spur Interstate 270, Interstate 270, Interstate 95, Interstate 595, Interstate 295
Source: October 31, 2002 Interstate Route Log and Finders List
Interstate 495 Annual Average Daily Traffic

State Location AADT Composite Year
Virginia Alexandria 151,000 2002
Maryland Woodrow Wilson Bridge 172,975 2002
Maryland New Carrollton 220,375 2002
Maryland Greenbelt 250,325 2002
Maryland Chevy Chase View 242,075 2002
Maryland Oakmont 138,025 2002
Virginia Tysons Corner 198,000 2002
Virginia Merifield 222,000 2002
Source: 2002 AADTS Report (Maryland Department of Transportation State Highway Administration - Highway Information Services Division)
Virginia Department of Transportation 2002 AADT
Complete Interstate 495 data.

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