I-95 Annual Average Daily Traffic (AADT)
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 stretch 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 I-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)
Interstate 95 between I-85 in Petersburg and I-64 in Richmond, along with the northernmost section of I-85, comprise the Richmond-Petersburg Turnpike. This 36-mile facility commenced operations in 1958. The eventual plan for I-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, with I-95 transferred onto the new freeway once it was constructed. The Turnpike would subsequently become a state route no longer in the Interstate Highway System.
The connections between I-85, I-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 I-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 I-95/295 interchange north to the Richmond-Petersburg Turnpike would be renumbered as I-795
- The mainline Turnpike would carry an unspecified state route number
- Interstate 95 between the interchange with I-64 and I-195 north to the second interchange with I-295 would be numbered Interstate 195
- Today’s I-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 I-95 and (more or less) Virginia Route 288
However, as the new freeway was constructed in stages between 1984 and 1992, it was signed as Interstate 295, not I-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. 06/22/05
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 (MD 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 I-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
Interstate 95 enters the Garden State east along the Pearl Harbor Memorial Extension to the New Jersey Turnpike mainline near Florence. Northward from that point (Exit 6A), I-95 follows the Turnpike to Interstate 80 and the approach to the George Washington Bridge. The section of the NJ Turnpike south of Exit 6A is designated as New Jersey Route 700 internally 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 better through route to the George Washington Bridge. Additionally, the New Jersey Turnpike took over maintenance of I-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.
Entering the former New Rochelle toll plaza on Interstate 95 (New England section of the New York Thruway) northbound. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced the conversion of entire 570-mile Thruway system to all electronic toll collection (AET) in June 2018. The plaza at New Rochelle was one of three to be converted by the end of 2018. It was subsequently demolished in 2019. 08/29/05
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
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 American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) Route Numbering Committee approved the Interstate 495 designation for the second segment on December 4, 1987.23
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 Falmouth Spur, I-95 traveled to the northern end of Interstate 295 and onto a toll free highway alignment between Falmouth and Gardiner. A proposal to change the designation of I-95, I-295 and I-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 I-495/Maine Turnpike as Interstate 95. As a result of this change, former I-95 was renumbered as a northerly extension of Interstate 295 between Falmouth and Gardiner. The short, Falmouth Spur became unsigned Interstate 495. Interstate 95 now follows the entire Maine Turnpike from Kittery to Augusta. As a result of this change, I-95 uses mileage based exit numbers rather than sequential based exit numbers. The redesignation process was undertaken 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, underway from November 2011 to April 2015, extended the HOT lanes northward to Broward Boulevard (SR 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 S.C. 327. The South Carolina Department of Transportation (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 remained no immediate plans to overhaul or widen the rest of Interstate 95 in South Carolina as of 2003.8
The South Carolina General Assembly voted to fund SCDOT $453 million in federal COVID-19 relief in March 2022. One of the projects to receive funding is the expansion of 33 miles along Interstate 95 from the Georgia state line northward. This project was deemed a high priority in 2018.35
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 eventually fizzled.
Major construction eventually got underway in January 2020 on expansion of 16 miles along Interstate 95 between Exit 55 / Murphy Road and Exit 71 near Dunn. This first of several projects expanding Interstate 95 to six or eight lanes, with subsequent work underway from Exit 71 north to I-40 at Exit 81. Additional work widens I-95 south of Fayetteville at Lumberton.
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 I-95, I-395 and I-495 in Northern Virginia. This $676 million project also upgrading I-95 south to Franconia and the interchanges with SSR 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 exchange between Interstate 295 and the MD 210 connector was upgraded into a high-speed interchange. New overpasses for I-295/MD 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 MD 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 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 (SR 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 (SR 294) and Edsall Road (SR 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 commenced on December 29, 2014. Find more details on the 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 I-95, I-695, and I-895 to generate $100 million a year for highway improvements along the I-95 corridor.9
Construction of the I-95 Express Toll Lanes from Baltimore east to MD 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.