Northbound Interstate 95 enters the toll plaza along the New England Section of the New York State Thruway. This I-95 shield posted at the toll plaza is a contender for the largest such shield on the Interstate Highway System. Photo taken August 29, 2005.
The East Coast's Main Street, Interstate 95 serves the entire Northeast Megalopolis, while also serving southeastern cities of Jacksonville and Miami along Florida's east coast. The highway is an important factor in commerce and tourism, linking scenic New England with the subtropical environs of southern Florida. It passes through more states than any other Interstate highway.
Interstate 95 also has more branch routes than any other Interstate highway, and its spurs are generally much longer than those belonging to other routes (future routes are marked with a *):
- Interstate 195 - FL, VA, MD, NJ, RI/MA, ME
- Interstate 295 - FL, NC*, VA, MD/DC, DE/NJ/PA*, NY, RI/MA
- Interstate 395 - FL, VA/DC, MD, CT/MA, ME
- Interstate 495 - NC, VA/DC/MD, DE, NY, MA
- Interstate 595 - FL, MD
- Interstate 695 - DC, MD, NY
- Interstate 795 - FL*, NC, MD
- Interstate 895 - MD, NY
High Priority Corridor
Interstate 95 in Florida is part of High Priority Corridor 49: Atlantic Commerce Corridor. Through northern New Jersey, Interstate 95 is part of High Priority Corridor 63: Liberty Corridor. In Connecticut, Interstate 95 is part of High Priority Corridor 65: Interstate 95 Connecticut. A short portion of Interstate 95 near Bangor, Maine is part of High Priority Corridor 50: East-West Corridor from Watertown to Calais.
Parallel U.S. Routes
Overall, Interstate 95 follows U.S. 1, but it deviates from U.S. 1 in Georgia, the Carolinas, and Southern Virginia. Through those states, it follows U.S. 17 and U.S. 301, with a brief section that parallels U.S. 15 in South Carolina.
The Gap of Interstate 95 in New Jersey/Pennsylvania
Although for the most part complete, Interstate 95 has a significant gap between the cities of Trenton and New Brunswick in New Jersey. This portion of I-95, known as the Somerset Freeway, was proposed but never constructed. Community opposition to the roadway, and opposition from the New Jersey Turnpike Authority, which feared lost revenue due to the competition of a free highway to the west, ultimately canceled the portion of I-95 between Lawrenceville and New Brunswick/Edison in 1982. Ray Martin gives a descriptive account of the "Interstate 95 Gap" on his History of the Interstate 95 "Missing Link" of central New Jersey page.
When I-95 was completed in Bucks County in 1969, the crossing with the PA Turnpike (Interstate 276) was not a direct connection. Instead a spur to Pennsylvania 413 and a dogleg route of PA 413 south to U.S. 13 north was required to make the connection. Studies for the missing interchange commenced in 1975 and by 1982, the Federal Surface Transportation Assistance Act specified a complete route for Interstate 95 via a reroute of the Interstate east on the Pennsylvania Turnpike and PA Turnpike Extension from Bristol to the New Jersey Turnpike mainline near Bordentown, and northward on the NJ Turnpike to New Brunswick. A slow speed interchange was envisioned at the junction in the mid 1980s, leading to 1992, when the interchange was redesigned again as a high speed exchange. An Environmental Impact Statement was conducted for the interchange during the 1990s, leading to a Record of Decision by 2003.29
Part of the proposal for the Somerset Freeway in New Jersey included a short connector numbered as Interstate 695. It was never built either.
Design work on the PA Turnpike / I-95 Interchange commenced in 2004 after federal funds were authorized. The Preliminary Design Phase for the interchange was completed in 2009.29 Construction on Stage 1 of the three stage project builds the high speed connection between Interstate 95 and the Pennsylvania Turnpike and a new main line toll plaza to the west. The new plaza shifts the ticketed system of the PA Turnpike mainline west of the I-95 connection. Tolls collected for the Delaware River crossing will be coin drop or E-ZPass
Stage 2 of the PA Turnpike / I-95 Interchange project adds the six remaining ramp movements between Interstates 95 and 276 and widens the Turnpike mainline. Work is underway between 2015 and late 2018. Stage 3, anticipated for 2025, involves building a second span across the Delaware River for the future I-95 mainline.29
Until the PA Turnpike / I-95 Interchange completion, I-95 remains routed northward to the Trenton Beltline, where it changes into Interstate 295 at the U.S. 1 interchange. Signage for Interstate 95 did not resume until near East Brunswick on the New Jersey Turnpike, but some reassurance shields were posted along the NJ Turnpike mainline in 2005 from Exit 6 northward. Trailblazers added in 2004 also route I-95 mainline traffic to the Turnpike via I-295 south and I-195 east.
With the realignment of Interstate 95 onto the Turnpikes, the former portion of I-95 north from Bristol to the Trenton Belt Line freeway will become an extension of Interstate 295 west. This was confirmed by the FHWA on May 20, 2015 with the condition that I-95 between Bristol and Lawrenceville be referred to as Future I-295 and the Pennsylvania Turnpike east into New Jersey be referred to as Future I-95.
Previous discussion involving the relocation of I-95 between Bristol and Trenton in 2007 focused on extending Interstate 195 north over I-295 from Hamilton Township to Lawrenceville and west from U.S. 1 to Bristol, Pennsylvania over I-95. A separate plan arose in 2014 to renumber I-95 between Bristol and Lawrenceville as I-395, while retaining I-295 as it currently runs.
Guide signs for the eventual turn of Interstate 95 south from the Pennsylvania Turnpike at Bristol already in place. Flyover construction for the future I-95 mainline continues through 2018. Photo taken 12/19/17.
The New Jersey Department of Transportation announced on December 21, 2017 that sign changes (Phase 1) will be made between January and March 2018 for both Interstates 95 and 295 in Mercer County. This includes the renumbering of seven interchanges in New Jersey and four in Pennsylvania. Incorporated into the Scudder Falls Bridge project, Phase 2 sign changes start in spring 2018. These effect interchanges at Exits 49 and 51 for I-95 in Pennsylvania, and Exit 1 in New Jersey. Following in late spring 2018, Phase 3 will complete sign changes at the remaining interchanges in Pennsylvania leading southwest to PA Turnpike at Bristol.34
Interchange renumbering along old I-95 in Mercer County, New Jersey will continue the I-295 numbering system. Exits in Bucks County, Pennsylvania will count down from the Delaware River to milepost zero at the PA Turnpike Interchange at Bristol. Exit number changes are as follows:34
- U.S. 1 Business / Pennsylvania 44: I-95 Old Exit 44 - new I-295 Exit 3
- U.S. 1: I-95 Old Exit 46 - new I-295 Exit 5
- Pennsylvania 332: I-95 Old Exit 49 - new I-295 Exit 8
- New Hope / Yardley: I-95 Old Exit 51 - new I-295 Exit 10
- New Jersey 29: I-95 Old Exit 1 - new I-295 Exit 76
- Mercer County 579 - I-95 Old Exit 2 - new I-295 Exit 75
- Scotch Road: I-95 Old Exit 3 - new I-295 Exit 73
- New Jersey 31: I-95 Old Exit 4 - new I-295 Exit 72
- Federal City Road: I-95 Old Exit 5 - new I-295 Exit 71
- U.S. 206: I-95 Old Exit 7 - new I-295 Exit 69
- Mercer County 546 / 583: I-95 Old Exit 8 - new I-295 Exit 68
The following are key dates in the history of Interstate 95 in Florida:24
- 1959 - On the 1959 Shell (Gousha) Florida Map, Interstate 95 appeared as the "Jacksonville Expressway" from Beaver Street to the junction of U.S. 1 and U.S. 90 in South Jacksonville, the Fuller Warren Bridge (first segment to open).
- 1960 - Interstate 95 signed and built through downtown Jacksonville, up to Heckscher Drive.
- 1961 - Short section of Interstate 95 opened in Miami, including the link to Interstate 195.
- 1963 - Interstate 95 opened from the Golden Glades interchange to Hallandale and was signed on the already constructed Sunshine State Parkway from West Palm Beach north to Fort Pierce. Interstate 95 would remain signed on this section of the Sunshine State Parkway (later Florida's Turnpike) until 1977.
- 1964 - Interstate 95 opened through the Golden Glades Interchange (Florida 826/Palmetto Expressway, U.S. 441, and Sunshine State Parkway) and then north to Florida 84 in Fort Lauderdale. In Jacksonville, Interstate 95 was complete and opened between the South Jacksonville interchange and Florida 104. Interstate 95 under construction (1) at connection to Dixie Highway along South Bay Drive, (2) from Malabar to Mims, and (3) from Daytona Beach north to Jacksonville.
- 1965 - Interstate 95 opened (1) from Malabar to Eau Gallie and (2) from Daytona Beach to Bunnell.
- 1967 - Interstate 95 opened (1) from Eau Gallie to Scottsmoor and (2) from Bunnell to Jacksonville were opened. Interstate 95 under construction from Jacksonville north to Gross.
- 1968 - Interstate 95 (North-South Expressway) opened (1) from U.S. 1 north to Lummus Park and (2) from 20th Street to Interstate 195. Interstate 95 under construction: (1) at interchange with Florida 836 (Dolphin East-West Expressway), (2) from Florida 84 north to Florida 82, (3) from West Palm Beach to Florida's Turnpike, (4) from Florida 60 north to Malabar, and (5) from Scottsmoor north to Daytona Beach.
- 1970 - Interstate 95 opened from Florida 60 to Gross. Interstate 95 under construction from Gross north to the Florida-Georgia State Line.
- 1971 - Interstate 95 opened from Gross to the Florida-Georgia State Line.
- 1972 - Interstate 95 was under construction from Fort Lauderdale north to West Palm Beach.
- 1977 - Interstate 95 opened from Fort Lauderdale north to West Palm Beach. Proposed route from West Palm Beach to
- Fort Pierce finalized. Interstate 95 shields removed from Florida's Turnpike. Construction begins on section from Fort Pierce to Florida 60.
- 1978 - Interstate 95 opened from Indrio to Florida 60.
- 1979 - Interstate 95 opened Fort Pierce to Indrio.
- 1981 - Interstate 95 construction started from County Route 714 to Fort Pierce.
- 1984 - Interstate 95 opened from Port St. Lucie north to Fort Pierce. Gap existed between Port St, Lucie south to Palm Beach Gardens. The proposed connection between these two cities was still being determined, but the proposal shifted in 1984 to look more like the current alignment of Interstate 95. The Miami Metro Rail (an elevated commuter rail service) begins service in May 1984.
- 1985 - Interstate 95 opened from County Route 714 north to Port St. Lucie.
- 1987 - Interstate 95 opened from Palm Beach Gardens north to County Route 714. Interstate 95 is now complete from U.S. 1 in Miami north to the Georgia-Florida State Line, which is its original, planned route.
The last section of Interstate 95 opened in Georgia was the Turtle River bridge near Brunswick on December 20, 1977.30
Interstate 95 was fully complete through the Palmetto State on February 16, 1976, when a crowd of 150 gathered at the junction of I-95 and I-26 to open the final stretch. The freeway cost $186.8-million to construct. Initial corridors for the route in the 1940s included a path parallel to U.S. 15 from Bennettsville southwest to Society Hill and south from Sumter to U.S. 17A in Collecton County. The northern portion of the corridor eventually shifted eastward along U.S. 301 to match what North Carolina chose. The south end was also adjusted to tie into the Savannah area as mandated by the federal government.31
In Maine, the following are key dates in the history of Interstate 95:26
- 1947 - Maine Turnpike from Kittery to Portland opened
- 1955 - Maine Turnpike from Portland to Augusta opened
- 1955 - The Falmouth Spur segment of the Maine Turnpike opened (the Falmouth Spur was incorporated into Interstate 95 from 1956 until 2004; today it is unsigned Interstate 495 and acts as a connector between Interstate 95 and Interstate 295 north of Portland)
- 1960 - Section from Augusta to Fairfield opens
- 1960 - Section from Hammond Street (Exit 183) to Hogan Road (Exit 187) opens in Bangor
- 1961 - Section from Bangor to Orono opens
- 1963 - Section from Newport (Maine 100) to Interstate 395/Bangor Industrial Spur opens
- 1964 - Section from Fairfield to Newport opens
- 1965 - Section from Orono to Howland opens, with certain sections built as Super Two
- 1966 - Sections from Howland to Medway and from Oakfield to Houlton open as Super Two
- 1967 - Final section of Interstate 95 completed from Bangor to Houlton with completion of bypasses of Medway and Oakfield
- 1972 - The Piscataqua River Bridge between Maine and New Hampshire opened; sections of Super Two are converted to four-lane, divided freeway near Alton and Howland
- 1973 - Connector from Piscataqua River Bridge to Maine Turnpike is completed
- 1976 - More conversions of Super Two to four-lane freeway occur on sections from Howland to Lincoln and from Lincoln and Medway
- 1977 - Interstate 95 from Smyrna to Houlton are converted from Super Two to four-lane freeway
- 1979 - Sections from Medway to Sherman, from Sherman to Island Falls, and from Island Falls to Oakfield are converted from Super Two to four-lane freeway
- 1981 - Section from Oakfield to Smyrna are converted from Super Two to freeway
The section of Interstate 95 that crosses the Argyle Bog north of Bangor required special construction requirements due to the presence of unexploded ordnance. The U.S. Army used the area around Argyle Bog as a weapons testing/training area between World War I and World War II. Probes and other devices used for soil testing were not used in order to avoid setting off unexploded ordnance. Parade Magazine, the Sunday supplement to many national newspapers, rated Interstate 95 from Augusta to Fairfield as the nation's most scenic highway in 1961. In 1965, the same competition rated the section from Bangor to Newport as an "honorable mention."
Unconstructed Alignments of I-95 in Urban Areas
As if the Interstate 95 gap in New Jersey was not enough of obstacle in the path, many alignments in the older Northeastern cities came about after much deliberation politically and socially among community leaders and officials of each respective city. The through route for Interstate 95 through the downtowns of Washington, D.C., and Boston was not constructed; the Interstate instead follows the bypass route.
In Washington, D.C., Interstate 95 was originally planned to traverse the nation's capital district, with a path northeast through the city, to the current Interstate 95/495 junction. Interstate 395 represents the portion of Interstate 95 that was built within the Capital Beltway. The most controversial section of the freeway included the "inner belt," which included portions of unconstructed Interstate 95, Interstate 266, and Interstate 295. This inner belt would have passed through lower income areas, causing a great deal of protestation for such a road to impact that group disproportionately.16 The right of way for Interstate 95 north of downtown, from the District of Columbia boundary north to the Capital Beltway is still reserved, but it is used for power lines rather than a freeway.
In Boston, Interstate 95 was intended to pass directly through the city, entering Boston from the southwest, then linking to a proposed but unconstructed Inner Belt Expressway (Interstate 695). From there, Interstate 95 would have followed the existing U.S. 1/Northeast Expressway, then travel north to the present Interstate 95/Massachusetts 128 West of Peabody. Neither the southwestern nor northeastern sections were completed, and they were withdrawn from the Interstate Highway System on May 23, 1974.25 Sections that were built are today part of Interstate 93 through Downtown Boston and U.S. 1 northeast of Downtown.
In other cities through which Interstate 95 passes, the freeway was not always built with proper mitigation plans for the residents who were to be displaced. As a result, some residents whose houses were demolished to allow for the freeway to bring "progress" to their city were dismayed with the planning process. In places that were bisected by Interstate 95, such as Wilmington, Delaware, the new freeway was not welcomed by everyone. Many homes were demolished in the chosen path of the highway, which was just to the west of Downtown. The area neighborhood remains separated by the trenched freeway.
Construction of Interstate 95 through Providence, Rhode Island in 1958 required the acquisition of hundreds and homes and businesses and two historic churches. The path through Philadelphia required special considerations in 1961 because of the historical nature of Penn's Landing and the redevelopment at the time of Society Hill and Washington Square East. In Jacksonville, Interstate 95 traveled through minority neighborhoods from the downtown to the Trout River. In Miami, Interstate 95 cut through the Liberty City neighborhood, which was (and is), the poorest part of Miami. Unfortunately Interstate 95 often took the path of "least resistance", meaning where the land values were low, even if it meant the displacement of poor communities.
In addition to the social cost of building infrastructure through established communities, there was an increased economic cost of building through urbanized regions. For example, in Philadelphia, the construction costs of Interstate 95 (known as the Delaware Expressway) became more costly than any other project at that time. This was partially due to the fact that much of the freeway was constructed on an elevated viaduct directly adjacent to the Delaware Riverfront.16
I-95 Toll Road History
A significant portion of Interstate 95 has been or remains a toll road, generally because efforts to construct the toll road predates the creation of the Interstate Highway System. Here is an overview of those segments of Interstate 95 that have been or are toll roads.
Through South Florida, Interstate 95 originally followed the Sunshine State Parkway (renamed Florida's Turnpike in April 1968) in a temporary capacity from the Golden Glades Interchange north to near Fort Pierce. This 110-mile section opened to traffic in 1957. Additional sections of the turnpike extended the route north to Wildwood in 1964 and south to Homestead in 1974.17 Between the mid-1950s and 1980s, Interstate 95 was constructed as a non-tolled freeway, and the designation was shifted off of the tolled turnpike. The final section of Florida's Interstate 95, which bypassed Florida's Turnpike between North Palm Beach and Fort Pierce, opened December 19, 1987. The $222 million project ended with then-Governor Bob Martinez driving a 1929 Ford Model A on the new roadway during the dedication ceremonies.13
Richmond-Petersburg Turnpike (Virginia)
In Virginia, Interstate 95 (and the northernmost portion of Interstate 85) comprise the Richmond-Petersburg Turnpike. This 36-mile facility came into operation in 1958. The original plan for Interstate 95 was to route the highway around both Petersburg and Richmond along what is today Interstate 295. The Turnpike was originally planned as a temporary route for Interstate 95, but it would be transferred onto the new freeway once it was constructed. At that time, the Turnpike would become a state route, no longer in the Interstate Highway System.
The connections between Interstate 85, Interstate 95, and the Richmond-Petersburg Turnpike would be afforded by three Interstate spur routes. The plans, which were approved in the mid-1970s, called for the following:18
- Interstate 85 would be transferred onto a new freeway that would travel east to meet the current Interstate 95/295 interchange (this was not constructed)
- The section of Interstate 85 from the new freeway northeast to the Richmond-Petersburg Turnpike would be renumbered as Interstate 385
- The section of Interstate 95 from today's Interstate 95/295 interchange north to the Richmond-Petersburg Turnpike would be renumbered as Interstate 795
- The mainline Turnpike would carry an unspecified state route number
- Interstate 95 between the interchange with Interstate 64 and Interstate 195 north to the second interchange with Interstate 295 would be numbered Interstate 195
- Today's Interstate 295 would be Interstate 95 from Petersburg to Richmond
- Interstate 295 would be the designation for the western half belt route of Richmond, which today is Interstate 295 and (more or less) Virginia 288
However, as the new freeway was constructed in stages between 1984 and 1992, it was signed as Interstate 295, not Interstate 95. In 1975, the turnpike bonds were paid off, but a subsequent expansion project to widen 22 miles of the Richmond-Petersburg Turnpike to six lanes and reconstruct certain interchanges resulted in another bond issuance. Those bonds were paid off by 1985, and other local projects funded by these tolls were completed by 1991. Tolls were eliminated on the Turnpike on July 1, 1992. Coincidentally, that was the same day that Interstate 295 to the east was opened to traffic.14 There are no plans to restore the tolls to the Turnpike.
Fort McHenry Tunnel - Maryland
The Fort McHenry Tunnel in Baltimore opened to traffic on November 23, 1985, at a cost of $750 million. It is the world's largest submerged tube-tunnel.25
Northbound Interstate 95 enters Fort McHenry Tunnel. Photo taken June 22, 2005.
John F. Kennedy Memorial Highway - Maryland
Between Baltimore, Maryland, and the Delaware State Line, Interstate 95 uses the John F. Kennedy Memorial Highway (which is maintained as a tollway by the Maryland Transportation Authority). Planned as the "Northeastern Expressway," the John F. Kennedy Memorial Highway carries Interstate 95 between Exit 67 (Maryland 43/White Marsh Boulevard) and the Maryland-Delaware state line. Built between January 1962 and November 1963, the opening of the memorial highway was the last public appearance by President John F. Kennedy on November 14, 1963; he was assassinated in Dallas on November 22, 1963. In 1964, the Northeastern Expressway was renamed in honor of President Kennedy.19
The Delaware Turnpike, which connects the John F. Kennedy Memorial Highway with the Delaware Memorial Bridge (Interstate 295), was also constructed during the early 1960s. Built in tandem with the John F. Kennedy Memorial Highway, construction began in January 1962, and the freeway was opened to traffic in November 1963. There were plans to connect the Delaware Turnpike with the Chesapeake Bay Bridge (U.S. 50-301) in Maryland via the U.S. 301 corridor, but this route remains a conventional two to four-lane highway and is not a freeway. Exit 2, which is missing on the Delaware Turnpike, was reserved for the future connection with the unconstructed U.S. 301 freeway. At the northeastern end of the Turnpike is the Delaware Memorial Bridge, which today connects Interstate 95 to the southern end of the New Jersey Turnpike via Interstate 295. Interstate 95, however, continues north via the Delaware Expressway into Pennsylvania, where it enters the Philadelphia metropolitan area.
New Jersey Turnpike
In New Jersey, Interstate 95 uses the New Jersey Turnpike, entering the state via the Pennsylvania Turnpike Extension and traveling north on the New Jersey Turnpike from that point (Exit 6A) north to Interstate 80 and the approach to the George Washington Bridge. The section of mainline turnpike south of Exit 6A is designated as New Jersey 700 and is not part of the Interstate Highway System.
The New Jersey Turnpike was authorized by state legislators in 1948, and the mainline (excluding the connection to the Pennsylvania Turnpike) was constructed between January 1950 and January 1952 in the following order from south to north:20
- Deepwater (Exit 1) to Bordentown (Exit 7) (53 miles) - opened November 5, 1951
- Bordentown to Woodbridge (Exit 11) (40 miles) - opened November 30, 1951
- Woodbridge to Newark (Exit 14) (16 miles) - opened on December 13, 1951
- Newark to Ridgefield Park (9 miles) - opened on January 15, 1952
- Pearl Harbor Memorial (Pennsylvania Turnpike) Extension (6 miles) - opened on May 25, 1956
Interstate 95W (unsigned), which is the 12-mile "western spur" of the New Jersey Turnpike in the vicinity of Newark, was opened in September 1970. It provides the best through route to the George Washington Bridge and through Interstate 95 traffic bound for New England. In addition, the New Jersey Turnpike bought the section of Interstate 95 from Interstate 80 in Ridgefield Park to the George Washington Bridge from the New Jersey Department of Transportation in July 1992, so that stretch is also part of the turnpike system.
George Washington Bridge
The George Washington Bridge, which carries Interstate 95 over the Hudson River, was built between October 1927 and October 1931; the bridge opened to traffic on October 25, 1931. A major increase to capacity was achieved when the lower level to the bridge was opened on August 29, 1962. As a result of this improvement, the bridge carries 14 lanes of traffic. Managed by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, the bridge has a sidewalk for pedestrians and bicyclists. For more information about the bridge, visit George Washington Bridge official site.
New England Thruway
Through New York City, Interstate 95 follows the Trans-Manhattan Expressway and Cross-Bronx Expressway from the George Washington Bridge east to the Bruckner Interchange with I-278, I-678 and Hutchinsin River Parkway, then follows the Bruckner Expressway northeast until the Bronx-Pelham Parkway interchange. From the Bronx-Pelham Parkway interchange (Exit 8B-C) northeast to the Connecticut State Line via Westchester County, Interstate 95 follows the New England Thruway. This extant section of the New York Thruway was constructed in the early 1950s and opened to traffic in 1958.
Through much of its route in Connecticut, Interstate 95 follows the original Connecticut Turnpike. Built in stages in the early 1950s, the turnpike incorporated some pre-existing bypasses of U.S. 1. The Connecticut Turnpike was approved as part of Interstate 95 by the Bureau of Public Roads on August 21, 1957. It was built at a cost of $464 million and opened to traffic on January 2, 1958.25 A bridge over the Mianus River collapsed on June 28, 1983, resulting in the death of three people. The use of federal funding to replace the bridge included a provision that required Connecticut to stop levying tolls after the bonds were paid off. Tolls on the Connecticut Turnpike section of Interstate 95 from the New York-Connecticut State Line northeast to the Interstate 395 interchange were subsequently removed on October 10, 1985.21, 25
Blue Star Turnpike - New Hampshire
The section of Interstate 95 through New Hampshire is part of the New Hampshire Turnpike System. The Blue Star Turnpike connects Interstate 95 at the Massachusetts-New Hampshire state line in Seabrook with the Portsmouth Traffic Circle in Portsmouth. The remaining section of Interstate 95 in New Hampshire is not part of the turnpike. Most of the turnpike was built in the 1950s.22
Maine Turnpike: Redesignation of Interstate 95, 295, and 495 in Maine
The Maine Turnpike was built in stages between 1941 and 1955. The first section between Kittery and Portland was planned and constructed between 1941 and 1947; the freeway opened in December 1947. Between 1947 and 1955, the second section was planned and constructed, taking the turnpike from Portland north to Augusta, including a short spur to U.S. 1 in Falmouth. This second segment opened to traffic on December 13, 1955. The first segment was designated as Interstate 95; the second segment was initially not given an Interstate highway designation. That changed when the AASHTO Route Numbering Committee approved the Interstate 495 designation for the second segment on December 4, 1987.23
So, between the mid-1950s and 2004, Interstate 95 followed the Maine Turnpike northward to metropolitan Portland, then departed the turnpike via the tolled Falmouth Spur. From the east-west Falmouth Spur, I-95 traveled to the northern end of Interstate 295 and onto a free highway alignment between Falmouth and Gardiner. A proposal to change the designation of Interstate 95, Interstate 295, and Interstate 495 was approved by AASHTO on October 11, 2002.
On January 5, 2004, in an effort to reduce confusion along the Interstate 95 alignment, the Maine Department of Transportation redesignated former Interstate 495/Maine Turnpike as Interstate 95. As a result of this change, former Interstate 95 was renumbered as a northerly extension of Interstate 295 between Falmouth and Gardiner. The short, east-west Falmouth Spur became unsigned Interstate 495. Interstate 95 now follows the entire Maine Turnpike from Kittery to Augusta. As a result of this change, Interstate 95 features mileage-based exit numbers rather than sequential-based exit numbers. The redesignation process was completed within a week, as it was completed by January 10, 2004.15
Speed limits along the Maine Turnpike were increased on August 11, 2014. The section between mileposts 2.1 and 44.1 was increased from 65 to 70 miles per hour. The portion west of Portland and the Falmouth Spur increased from 55 to 60 miles per hour with the remainder of the Maine Turnpike north to milepost 109 upped to 70 miles per hour from 65.
New toll lanes were added to Interstate 95 in Miami as part of the 95 Express Lanes project. These high occupancy toll (HOT) lanes allow registered carpools with three or more passengers to use the lanes free of charge; tolls will be charged for other users with a SunPass transponder. Phase 1A converted I-95 northbound with two toll lanes and four general purpose lanes separated by short orange poles between downtown Miami and the Golden Glades interchange (SR 826/Palmetto Expressway and Florida's Turnpike); work was completed between February and December 2008. Phase 1B restriped I-95 southbound with two HOT lanes on the same stretch between summer 2008 and January 2010. Phase 2 of the Express Lanes project runs from November 2011 and April 2015 to extend the HOT lanes northward to Broward Boulevard (Florida 842) in Fort Lauderdale.27
Interstate 95 through the Palmetto State is mostly a four-lane freeway. One exception is the stretch between Interstate 20 and South Carolina 327. SCDOT reconstructed and widened Interstate 95 at Florence, expanding the freeway to six lanes of concrete separated by a barrier median. The project replaced or rehabilitated five spans over the freeway and improved several interchange ramps at U.S. 52. (Exit 164). Additionally the Interstate 95 bridges over an abandoned railroad north of U.S. 52 were removed and replaced with fill material. Construction began July of 2002 and was complete by August 31, 2004.1 The total cost of the project was $65 million.5
While the state of North Carolina has considered implementing tolls to help cover the costs associated with Interstate 95 reconstruction and widening, South Carolina initially had not, but later reconsidered adding them. Even with 34,500 vpd at the North Carolina line and 42,700 vpd at the Georgia state line, there remain no immediate plans to overhaul or widen the rest of Interstate 95 in South Carolina at this time.8
Washington, D.C. Metropolitan Area
Two major construction projects along Interstate 95 in the Washington D.C. metropolitan area modernized the highway. The first of these projects upgraded the Springfield Interchange, the exchange between Interstates 95, 395 and 495 in Northern Virginia. This $676 million project also upgrading I-95 south to Franconia and the interchanges with Virginia State Secondary 644, Old Keene Mill Road, and Franconia Road. Work ran between March 1999 and April 21, 2007.2
The Springfield Interchange Project phases:2
- I - Completed in August of 1996 was the addition of a fourth southbound lane to Interstate 95 between Springfield and Newington. Construction of an Exit 169 ramp of Interstate 95 north to Spring Mall Drive, coincides with the completion Franconia-Springfield Metro Center. The facility opened June 1998.
- II & III - Between March 1999 and November 2001, construction resulted in the rebuilding of the Interstate 95/SSR 644 interchange. A high-rise overpass for Franconia Road between Interstate 95 to east of Frontier Drive was also built.
- IV - Road work that began November of 2000 constructed a direct bridge between the Capital Beltway west to Interstate 95 south and relocated the travel lanes of Interstate 495 eastbound through the same interchange. These aspects of the overall project were completed in late 2004.
- V - Work entails improvements to the Hemming Avenue junction with Interstate 495 and the ramp from Interstate 395 south to Interstate 495 west. Work began September 2001 and was completed by late 2003.
VI & VII - Completion of the Interstate 95 northbound roadway alterations, including remaining local and through traffic ramps and HOV lanes. The Commonwealth Transportation Board awarded a $100 million contract for this phase on September 17, 2003.6 The project was completed in July 2007.
- VIII - HOV connections between Interstate 95 and 495. While the right-of-way was already acquired, VDOT removed this from the Springfield Interchange project and included it with the Capital Beltway Project. The work was completed on November 17, 2012 as part of the I-495 Express Lanes project.
A short distance to the east of the Springfield Interchange is the Woodrow Wilson Bridge spanning the Potomac River. The original Woodrow Wilson Bridge opened to traffic on December 28, 1961 with just four lanes and a capacity of 75,000 vpd. After just eight years, the crossing reached capacity. The growth of the area and increase in through-traffic resulted in chronic congestion and traffic counts up to 200,000 vpd.3 Based upon this increasing demand, improvements were considered from the 1980s onward, with prior expansion of the bridge to six overall lanes.
Construction on a replacement span for the Woodrow Wilson Bridge kicked off in 1999. Building of 17 pier supports for the bridge started May 2001 and was completed in July 2003. This $125 million project followed a $15 million dredging project completed February 2001. For the draw span, $186 million of work commenced in February 2003 on the twin bridges (Inner and Outer Loops). On the Maryland side, construction of the $191 million element of the project began June of 2003.4
The first span (serving the outer loop) opened to traffic on June 10, 2006; the second span (serving the inner loop) opened on May 15, 2008. Remaining construction of the bridge and approaches continued through 2009, with the Telegraph Road interchange redesign completed by early 2013.
The new Woodrow Wilson Bridge rises 20-feet higher than its predecessor. The 70-foot draw bridge results in 70% fewer bridge openings than the 1961-span, bringing the total traffic interruptions down from a previous 260 per year to 65 per year. The new bridge increased the Capital Beltway capacity from six to ten lanes across the Potomac River utilizing an Through/Local lane configuration. Further expansion utilizing the wide shoulders may be implemented with the possibility of HOV/Express Bus lanes or rail transit lines on the facility.3
Also a part of the Woodrow Wilson Bridge project was the improvement to Interstate 95 west and east of the Potomac and its surrounding interchanges. The junction between Interstate 295 and the Maryland 210 connector was upgraded into a high-speed interchange. New overpasses for Interstate 295/Maryland 210 were constructed and the "s-curve" ramps between the two routes were replaced with longer bridges to compensate for the wider beltway mainline. These projects began December 2001 and were complete by early 2004. $52 million in funding was involved.
Additional work at Interstate 295 and Maryland 210 was the creation of access ramps from the Outer Loop to/from the National Harbor development. This coincided with the widening of the Outer Loop roadway to accommodate the new bridge and interim alignment shifts related to construction. Costing $45 million, the project involved the creation of 11 new bridges and six retaining walls. Road work ran from December 2002 to mid 2006.
U.S. 1 interchange work added a new Washington Street overpass and beltway improvements in preparation for the new bridge to the east. Over $130 million in funds were allocated for this segment of the project. Another element to the overall work was the $1.5 million Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) contract. Began November 2002, this saw the installation of Variable Message Signs (VMS) throughout the project area through to late 2003.4
South from Springfield, another project completed along Interstate 95 was the installation of HOT lanes. As part of Virginia's Public-Private Transportation Act, the $1 billion project affected 29.4 miles of Interstate 95, from Garrisonville Road north to Duke Street in Alexandria. This included changes the existing reversible HOV-3 roadway from south of Exit 152 (VA-234) to the Springfield Interchange (I-395/495), where tolls were implemented during the process.
Groundbreaking took place on August 7, 201228. Broken into four segments, the portion between Prince William Parkway (VA-294) and Edsall Road (SSR 648) (Segments 3 and 4) expanded from two to three lanes. Segment 2 extended the existing HOV roadway southward 0.5 miles beyond Dumfries Road. Segment 1 built two new reversible lanes for 8.3 miles to Garrisonville Road in Stafford County. The lanes opened to traffic on December 14, 2014 with a free trial period until tolling commencedon December 29, 2014. Find more details on the 495 | 95 Express Lanes web site.
An earlier plan for HOT lane construction sought to extend the existing reversible HOV roadway southward to milepost 133 in Frederick, with a potential completion by March 2009.10
Several increases by the Maryland Transportation Authority upped the rates at the Susquehanna River spans of Interstate 95 and U.S. 40 and the Baltimore Harbor crossings of Interstates 95, 695, and 895 to generate $100 million a year for highway improvements along the Interstate 95 corridor.9
Construction of the I-95 Express Toll Lanes from Baltimore east to Maryland 43 (White Marsh Boulevard) adds managed lanes to Interstate 95 from I-895 to just north of Exit 67. Work from 2006 to spring 2015 upgraded the exchange with Interstate 695 into a high speed symmetrical stack interchange, eliminated the left-hand ramp for I-895 south at the wye with I-95 south, and redesigned the exit with White Marsh Boulevard to accommodate HOT lane ramps. Two new lanes were added for each direction of Interstate 95 between the general purpose lanes along this stretch. The I-95 Express Toll Lanes opened to traffic on December 6, 2014, with the first week as a toll free facility.
The $2 billion New Haven Harbor Crossing Corridor Improvement Program rebuilt and redesigned a 7.2 mile section of Interstate 95 between Exits 46 in New Haven and 54 in Branford. Constructed as part of the Connecticut Turnpike and opened to traffic in 1958, the overwhelmed stretch of freeway was expanded and modernized, with work starting in 2009. Included in the project was the replacement of the Q Bridge, a shoulder less six-lane span across the Quinnipiac River. It was replaced by a signature, extradosed bridge accommodating ten overall lanes of traffic. Named the Pearl Harbor Memorial Bridge, the new span opened partially on July 29, 2013, with two-way traffic on the eventual northbound span.
Construction progressed through to the weekend of September 26-27, 2015, when southbound travelers along I-95 began using the new Pearl Harbor Memorial Bridge. All five lanes of the southbound span were opened to traffic by May 13, 2016. Work continued on the northbound span through to August 22, 2016, when the fifth lane finally opened. The opening culminates a six-year project to rebuild the adjacent Mixmaster Interchange with Interstate 91 and Connecticut 34. Work at the junction replaced left-hand ramps and separated exit points while widening both connecting ramps and the freeway mainline. A milestone was reached at the Mixmaster Interchange on July 16, 2016, when the left-hand ramp (Exit 48) to Interstate 91 north was shifted to a new right-hand ramp.32
A lighting system was implemented along the Pearl Harbor Memorial Bridge, with the first official illumination taking place on Independence Day weekend in 2016.
The Whittier Bridge/I-95 Improvement Project kicked off in fall 2013 as part of the $3 billion Accelerated Bridge Program. The four-year project replaces the 1951 spans across the Merrimack River with a new tied-arch bridge. The new Whittier Bridge will accommodate eight overall lanes of traffic with breakdown lanes in each direction. Additionally a multi use path will follow the northbound side of the crossing to link with nearby trails.33
Associated work replaces overpasses for Interstate 95 and cross roads north from Massachusetts 113 to the Interstate 95 Connector at Exit 60.33 All traffic on I-95 shifted onto the future northbound Whittier Bridge on December 4, 2015. This allowed crewed to demolish the old spans and begin work on the eventual southbound tied arch bridge. Construction on the project continues through early fall 2017.
Future Aspirations: Interstate 95 Northerly Extension?
A grass roots organization in northern Maine advocated a northerly extension for the East Coast's Main Street. During Summer of 2003, the group LEAD (Leaders Encouraging Aroostook Development) met with Maine Governor John E. Baldacci, members of the state legislature, and department of transportation Commissioner David Cole to discuss the freeway extension and other related issues. LEAD members strongly supported the idea, citing the economic vitality of Aroostook County as a major factor.7
Tolls on Interstate 95 in North Carolina?
Interstate 95 through North Carolina was constructed between 1956 (as bypasses for U.S. 301) and 1980.11 The freeway remains with just four lanes statewide and traffic congestion is a growing concern.
An idea first discussed in 2001, tolling Interstate 95 in North Carolina to help pay for its improvement again arose in fall 2003. In October 2003, state officials sought federal permission to implement a toll system on Interstate 95 to help cover a $3 billion price tag to overhaul the route. A consultant indicated to state officials that installing toll barriers at 30-mile intervals along the 182 stretch of highway at $3 a car would cover an expansion of Interstate 95 from four to eight lanes statewide. This would result in $2.4 billion in funds generated in a 30 year time frame. Governor Mike Easley in 2003 indicated that he did not support the idea of tolling Interstate 9512, and the tolling concept has not gained momentum.
|Perspective from Interstate 95 & U.S. 1 south
||The final reassurance marker appears as Interstate 95 & U.S. 1 swing southwest at SW 19th Road to parallel SW 1st Avenue and a Metrorail line ahead of Exit 1A to Rickenbacker Causeway. Rickenbacker Causeway spurs east as a toll bridge to Key Biscayne. Photo taken 04/01/14.
||U.S. 1 was relocated from Brickell Avenue onto an overlap with Interstate 95 south from the Downtown Distributor (SR 970) to the freeway end in winter 2014. A new sign was installed here in 2016 displaying Interstate 95 Ends instead of U.S. 1 Junction.
The freeway continues with two lanes continue beyond Exit 1A directly to a wye interchange with Dixie Highway (U.S. 1) south to Coral Gables. Photo taken 03/04/14.
||Traffic slows to 45 miles per hour as U.S. 1 merges onto Dixie Highway from the south end of Interstate 95. U.S. 1 angles southwest to Coral Gables, South Miami, Pinecrest, and ultimately Key West. Photo taken 03/04/14.
||This end sign for I-95 was posted at the merge with Brickell Avenue (former U.S. 1) prior to 2016. U.S. 1 extends another 157 miles southward to its terminus at Key West. Photo taken 03/04/14.
|Historical Perspective from Interstate 95 south
||Prior to 2001, this sign posted a half mile out from the I-95 end also showed a white on red U.S. 1 shield, a remnant of Florida's abandoned colored U.S. Highway shield scheme. The empty holes within the old sign were leftover from where yellow flashers had been. Photos taken by Gene Janczynskyi (08/00).
||Another red U.S. 1 shield remained in service at the Interstate 95 wye interchange with U.S. 1 (Brickell Avenue) south until 2001. Photo taken by Gene Janczynskyi (08/00).
|Perspective from U.S. 1 north
||An older sign, partially obscured by the traffic signal mast arm, references Interstate 95 as the Downtown Bypass for U.S. 1. U.S. 1 traveled Brickell Avenue along the west shore of Biscayne Bay toward Downtown until January 2014, when maintenance of Brickell was transferred from FDOT to the city of Miami. U.S. 1 now overlaps with I-95 north to the Downtown Distributor (Exit 2A) east to bypass the previous alignment. Photo taken 03/04/14.
||Interstate 95 & U.S. 1 separate from Brickell Avenue (old U.S. 1) at a wye interchange. The freeway commences with two lanes initially through to the on-ramp from Rickenbacker Causeway.
Sign changes made here removed U.S. 1 from the right-hand panel but did not add it to the I-95 overhead. Photo taken 03/04/14.
|Historical Perspective from U.S. 1 north
||Older guide signs for the former split of Interstate 95 and U.S. 1 at Brickell Avenue were carbon copied after 2006. Photo taken 03/26/06.
|Perspective from Interstate 95 & U.S. 1 north
||Still within the wye interchange at Brickell Avenue, the first northbound shield assembly for Interstate 95 appears. Photo taken 03/04/14.
||The Downtown Miami skyline comes into view on Interstate 95 & U.S. 1 north, one mile ahead of Exit 1B for U.S. 41. U.S. 41 ends at Downtown just east of the freeway. Photo taken 03/04/14.
|Perspective from Interstate 95 north
||This is the final Interstate 95 northbound reassurance shield, found along the three mile stretch between U.S. 1 and U.S. 2 in Houlton. Photo taken by Patrick Lilja (07/26/05).
||Nearing the final interchange of Interstate 95 northbound between Houlton and the International Border in Aroostook County, Maine. Interstate 95 transitions into New Brunswick 95 after the Canadian Customs Station. New Brunswick 95 provides a freeway connection to Trans Canada Highway 2 and its freeway bypass of Woodstock. Photo taken 06/27/05.
||Motorists not destined for Canada must depart Interstate 95 via Exit 305. Exit 305 constitutes a trumpet interchange with U.S. 2's eastern terminus north of Airport Road and Houlton International Airport (HUL).
There is no U-turn ramp in place beyond the interchange like there is at California crossings into Mexico. Photo taken 06/27/05.
||Exit 305 departs Interstate 95 northbound for U.S. 2 to Airport Road. U.S. 2 turns west onto Military Street from Airport Road adjacent to the freeway. Airport Road leads south to Houlton International Airport and its Industrial Park. Military Street heads west 2.5 miles into downtown Houlton. Photo taken 06/27/05.
||End Interstate 95 shield marker posted just east of the U.S. 2 on-ramp at the Canadian border. New Brunswick 95 continues the freeway east nine miles to Woodstock and Trans Canada Highway 2. Photo taken by Jeff Royston (12/02).
||As Northbound Interstate 95 transitions into New Brunswick 95, the freeway crosses into Atlantic Time Zone. Photo taken by Jeff Royston (12/02).
|Perspective from Interstate 95 south
||A begin Interstate 95 shield assembly stands at the international border, prior to the port of entry for passage into the United States. Photo taken Ian Ligget (04/11/15).
||A closer look at the shield marker posted at the New Brunswick 95 west transition to Interstate 95 south. Photo taken by Jeff Royston (12/02).
||Welcome to Maine sign posted within the trumpet interchange (Exit 305) at U.S. 2. Photo taken by Jeff Royston (12/02).
||The first of many Interstate 95 reassurance shields posted southbound from Houlton to Miami. The initial stretch of I-95 leading west from U.S. 2 is the least traveled along the 1,920-mile route. Photos taken 06/27/05.
||Mileage sign along Southbound Interstate 95, two miles to Houlton and 120 miles to Bangor, the next major city along the route. Photo taken by Jeff Royston (12/02).
|Perspective from U.S. 2 east
||U.S. 2 leaves Houlton en route to Houlton International Airport (HUL) and its eastern terminus at the final Interstate 95 interchange. Border Lane spurs east from U.S. 2 to dead end at the International Border with Canada. This was the original alignment of U.S. 2 prior to the construction of Interstate 95. Photo taken by Ian Ligget (04/11/15).
|Perspective from Trans Canada 2 in New Brunswick
||Westbound Trans Canada Highway 2 approaching New Brunswick 95, which leads west into the United States to connect to the northern terminus of Interstate 95 in Maine. Photo taken by Jeff Royston (12/02).
||TCH Route 2 west reaches the trumpet interchange with New Brunswick 95 west to Houlton, Maine. NB 95 was upgraded to a full freeway in 2007, with an interchange added at NB 540 and Richmond Corner. Photo taken by Jeff Royston (12/02).
I-95 Widening. SCDOT.
- "Springfield Interchange Improvement Project - Fact Sheet." VDOT.
The Woodrow Wilson Bridge Project. VDOT.
- "Project Overview - Woodrow Wilson Project." VDOT.
- Metts, Mitchell (SCDOT)
- Kozel, Scott. "Springfield Interchange Improvement Project - Final Phase to Begin." Online posting, misc.transport.road, September 23, 2003.
"LEAD to receive update on I-95 extension." Bangor Daily News, September 16, 2003.
"Despite wear, state says I-95 toll not in works." The Herald, South Carolina October 26, 2003.
"Higher tolls get initial OK." The Baltimore Sun, September 30, 2003.
"HOT plans for 95" The Free Lance-Star (Fredericksburg, VA) October 11, 2003.
"Support for I-95 tolls in N.C. should increase." Raleigh News & Observer,November 6, 2003.
"Easley, Tippett: Agree To Disagree?" WRAL-TV Raleigh, November 18, 2003.
- Jason (gps_man2003). "Re: I-95 section from Ft Pierce to PGA BLVD," Online posting, Yahoo! Groups FL Roads, November 13, 2003.
Kozel, Scott. "Re: [seroads] VDOT criticizes I81 plans." Online posting, Yahoo! Groups Southeast Roads and Transport , November 18, 2003. See also Mr. Kozel's outstanding History of Richmond's Interstate & Expressway System.
I-95 Redesignation & Re-numbering Information," Maine Department of Transportation.
Divided Highways: Building the Interstate Highways, Transforming American Life in 1997 by Tom Lewis, Viking Penguin/Penguin Books, page 197.
Florida's Turnpike: About Us - official site
Kozel, Scott: "Re: Exit Letters," Online posting to Misc.Transport.Road newsgroup, 12/12/04; see also Mr. Kozel's outstanding Roads to the Future: Interstate 295 and Richmond-Petersburg Turnpike page
John F. Kennedy Memorial Highway fact sheet (MDTA) - official site
New Jersey Turnpike Fact Book - official site
- Connecticut Turnpike by NYCRoads.com (Steve Anderson)
Blue Star (New Hampshire) Turnpike - official site
About the Maine Turnpike - official site
Florida's Interstates: A Half-Century of Progress
http://www.fl-interstate.com (official Florida Department of Transportation site)
Celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the Eisenhower Interstate Highway System: Previous Interstate Facts of the Day by the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA).
Maine's Interstate System: An Investment in Safety, Mobility, and Prosperity by Maine Department of Transportation
95 Express Managed Toll Lanes in Miami Dade & Broward Counties (web site).
"I-95 Express Lanes construction begins this week." The Washington Post, August 8, 2012.
- PA Turnpike / I-95 Interchange Project: History
"Completion near for interstate road systems," Rome News-Tribune, November 14, 1977.
"Blacktop And Greenbacks: I-95 Turns 25," State, The (Columbia, SC), February 18, 2001.
"New Haven Interstate 95-91 interchange to head in new direction for first time in 60 years." New Haven Register, July 10, 2016.
Whittier Bridge/I-95 Improvement Project fact sheet. massDOT, Fall 2013.
"I-95 in Mercer County to be renamed I-295 in early 2018, several exit numbers to change." PlanetPrinceton, December 21, 2017.
Page Updated January 12, 2018.