The Center Leg Freeway was previously proposed as Interstate 195 in part of a larger renumbering plan by the District Department of Transportation (DDOT) in 1983/84. Aimed for the convenience and safety of the traveling public, the D.C. plan outlined relocating I-395 over I-695 along the Southeast Freeway between 2nd and 12th Streets SE, and over what was partially built for I-295 from 12th Street SE to East Capitol Street. Incomplete at the time, the Center Leg Freeway north from I-395 to U.S. 50 would be renumbered as Interstate 195.
While approved by AASHTO on May 24, 1984, the redesignation of I-295, I-395 and I-695 were subject to completion of final alignments, with existing signing of I-395 to remain specifically until the completion of the eastern segment from 12th Street to the Anacostia Freeway. Since the Southeast Freeway was never built beyond the exchange at Pennsylvania Avenue SE, I-395 was never realigned.