Interstate 895 Virginia

History
East End
West End

Overview

Virginia 895 / Pocahontas Parkway is a toll highway connecting Interstate 95 and Chippenham Parkway (Virginia 195) at Bensley with Richmond International Airport (RIC) and I-295. The expressway forms part of a belt route encircling Richmond, allowing traffic entering the Richmond area from Interstate 85 or U.S. 460 at Petersburg the opportunity to bypass the capital city for points north via I-95 or for points east via I-64. Due to construction costs for the high level bridge spanning the James River and associated wetlands impacts, Pocahontas Parkway was built as a toll highway partially funded by private investment.

History

Originating in a 1981 Department of Transportation study, Interstate 895 was planned as a connector from Chippenham Parkway / I-95 to I-295. A corridor was laid out in 1983 and a Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) approved in 1984. Money for preliminary engineering of the roadway was allocated in the Virginia Department of Transportation’s (VDOT) 6-year road building plan by 1986.1 Cost estimates for the freeway topped $174 million, with $100 million for the James River bridge alone. However due to cuts in federal highway aid, Interstate 895 was dropped from the six-year road building plan in 1987.2 If tolls were considered, three years of construction for I-895 may have commenced in 1992.3

A scaled-down version of Interstate 895 was proposed by 1988, but with the conditions that it be tolled at a rate of $1 to $1.50 per passenger car and that tolls along the Richmond-Petersburg Turnpike be extended beyond 1992, when they were scheduled for removal. Alternatives considered were a $175 million plan for a highway between I-95 and I-295, and a $127.1 million proposal of a highway east from the I-95 and Chippenham Parkway to Laburnum Avenue.3

The original plans for Interstate 895 between I-95/SR 150 and I-295 were re-added to the VADOT six-year plan in 1992. Funding was set aside for preliminary engineering at the time.4 $8 million in funds for design work were approved by the Commonwealth Transportation Board in 1994. Construction dates shifted to 1999.5

Route Information

  • East EndI-295
  • West End – Bensley, VA

  • Mileage – 8.52

  • Cities – Richmond

  • JunctionsI-95 I-295

SR 895 – Annual Average Daily Traffic (AADT)

Location Vehicles per day
I-95/SR 150 to Laburnum Av 17,000
Laburnum Av to I-295 8,100

1968 Virginia Official State Map showed Interstate 295 proposed as a 270-degree beltway around Richmond.

A proposal submitted under the Virginia Public-Private Transportation Act by FD/MK, Ltd. in 1995 included the option of tolling the new highway. The firm indicated it could build the route by 2000 at a cost of $250 million if tolls were charged at $2.00 in each direction.6 The Commonwealth Transportation Board unanimously approved the route as a private toll road in 1996, but estimates increased to $389 million when debt service and financing was included (cost estimates were later be recanted to $300 million).7 The firm renamed the route Pocahontas Parkway and reduced the scale of the freeway to four lanes overall. An agreement between the state and FD/MK, Ltd. was finalized on June 3, 1998, clearing the way for $324-million in road work.8

Also known as the Airport Connector, construction of State Route 895 commenced on October 13, 1998. Completion of the route was planned in April 2002. It instead opened in two phases, with eastbound traffic using the toll road on May 22, 2002. Pocahontas Parkway westbound was completed on September 20, 2002.9

The 2001 Virginia official state map labelled SR 895 under construction as Interstate 895. Subsequent maps show the toll road as a state route. Planning documents and the project location map for SR 895 in 2001 also referred to Pocahontas Parkway as I-895.

Virginia 895 / Pocahontas Parkway is built to Interstate standards, but the Federal Highway Administration denied granting the toll road an Interstate designation because the environmental document and 60% of design costs were paid with federal-aid funds. The law stated that federal-aid funds may be used for a toll Interstate for feasibility studies, but not for design or construction.9

Highway Guides

East End – I-295 – Henrico County, Virginia

Perspective from Virginia 895 east
Pocahontas Parkway advances two miles east to a trumpet interchange with Interstate 295. The succeeding exit links with Airport Drive north to Richmond International Airport (RIC). Photo taken 06/01/03.
Timberland spreads along both sides of SR 895 east leaing to Interstate 295 north to I-64 and south to Hopewell. Photo taken by Carter Buchanan (08/08/04).
Britton Road passes over Pocahontas Parkway a half mile from the ramp separation for I-295 north toward Washington, DC and south toward Rocky Mount, North Carolina. Photo taken by Carter Buchanan (08/08/04).
Interstate 295 leads 25 miles south to I-95 outside Petersburg and 18 miles north to I-95 by Glen Allen. Photo taken 06/01/03.
Perspective from Interstate 295 south
Interstate 295 passes east of Richmond International Airport (RIC) ahead of Pocahontas Parkway west. Photo taken 12/30/12.
Crossing White Oak Swamp Creek, a half mile north of Virginia 895 on I-295 south. Areas surrounding the exchange mostly consist of undeveloped pine forest. Photo taken 12/30/12.
Entering the trumpet interchange (Exit 25) with Pochahontas Parkway west on I-295 south. Photo taken 12/30/12.
Perspective from Interstate 295 north
Several subdivisions abut Interstate 295 on the approach to Virginia 895 west at Exit 25. Photo taken 12/21/18.
Pocahontas Parkway west to Airport Drive north connects I-295 with the passenger terminal of Richmond International Airport (RIC) in four miles. Photo taken 12/21/18.
Exit 25 loops onto Pocahontas Parkway westbound. Virginia 895 west forms the southeast quadrant of a beltway system encircling Richmond. Photo taken 12/21/18.

West End I-95 Virginia 150 – Bensley, Virginia

Perspective from Interstate 95 north
One mile south of the systems interchange (Exit 67) joining Interstate 95 with SR 895 (Pocahontas Parkway) east and SR 150 (Chippenham Parkway) north. Photo taken 06/01/12.
Chippenham Parkway is a six-lane freeway extending northwest from Pochahontas Parkway to Powhite Parkway (Virginia 76) and Bon Air. Photo taken 06/01/12.
Exit 67A departs from Interstate 95 seven miles ahead of Downtown Richmond for Virginia 895 east to Richmond International Airport (RIC). Photo taken 06/01/12.
Perspective from Virginia 150 east
Virginia 150 (Chippenham Parkway) heads east a quarter mile from U.S. 1/301 at Bensley to the exchange with Interstate 95 and Pochahontas Parkway. Photo taken 01/01/17.
U.S. 1/301 parallel I-95 (Richmond-Petersburg Turnpike) north into Richmond and south to Colonial Heights. Virginia 895 begins in a half mile. Photo taken 01/01/17.
A lane drop occurs along SR 150 (Chippenham Parkway) east for the ramps to Interstate 95. SR 895 navigates along a rural route 8.2 miles east to I-295. Photo taken 01/01/17.
Chippenham Parkway crosses over Grindall Creek and a CSX Railroad line leading into the multi level interchange with Interstate 95 and Pocahontas Parkway. Photo taken 01/01/17.
Virginia 150 south transitions into Virginia 895 east across the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Bridge over the James River. Photo taken 01/01/17.

Sources

  1. “Interstate 895 Expected to Make Comeback in 1993 .” Richmond Times-Dispatch (VA), May 21, 1992 .
  2. “I-295 Road Project is Delayed, I-895 dropped in Budget Cuts.” Richmond Times-Dispatch (VA), July 17, 1987.
  3. “Chippenham-Laburnum Link Seen as Feasible Only With Tolls.” Richmond Times-Dispatch (VA), July 14, 1988.
  4. “Countdown Continues on Toll Roads.” Richmond Times-Dispatch (VA), June 14, 1992.
  5. “State Approves Funds for Design of I-895 – Eastern Connector Would Link I-95-295.” Richmond Times-Dispatch (VA), December 16, 1994.
  6. “$2 Toll Charge Seen for I-895 Connector – Major James River Bridge Part of Plan.” Richmond Times-Dispatch (VA), December 16, 1994.
  7. “Private Toll-Road Plan Backed.” Richmond Times-Dispatch (VA), March 22, 1996.
  8. “I-895 Connector Deal Closed – First Project Under Public-Private Transportation Act.” Richmond Times-Dispatch, June 4, 1998.
  9. Route 895 – Pocahontas Parkway. Roads to the Future (Scott Kozel).
  10. Email from Richard B. Rogers (01/21/03).

Page updated February 22, 2019.