Interstate 895 Maryland

Interstate 895 Maryland
History
North End
South End

Overview


Interstate 895 constitutes a nearly 15 mile route parallel to I-95 through the city of Baltimore. Known as the Baltimore Harbor Tunnel Thruway, the I-895 is a toll road with the exception of the stretch between Exit 12 (Lombard Street) and the north end at I-95. I-895 provides a viable alternative to the often congested Fort McHenry Tunnel along I-95, with the exception that the Baltimore Harbor Tunnel is prohibited to trucks because of a 13 foot 16 inch height restriction at the Patapsco River crossing.

Cash toll rates at the Baltimore Harbor Tunnel increased from $1.00 to $2.00 per passenger vehicle between June 2003 and 2004 and again to $3.00 on November 1, 2011. A further increase to $4 per passenger vehicle took take place on July 1, 2013. Discounts were applied to Maryland based E-ZPass accounts on July 1, 2015 and the state switched to all electronic toll (AET) collection in 2020. 1957 tolls were set at just 40 cents.

Construction previously scheduled from 2016 to 2021 replaces the structurally deficient Canton Viaduct of I-895 north of the Harbor Tunnel. Costing $189 million, the three year project kicked off in November 2018.5 The 60-year old structure will be razed and replaced with a new 3,300 foot roadway meeting modern safety standards. Additional work in the four-stage project replaces the Holabird Avenue off-ramp and repairs the tunnel roadway approaches and retaining walls. I-895 will stay open during work, but with reduced capacity and 11 foot wide lanes.1

A separate $48.5 million project commenced on August 18, 2016 to repair the Interstate 895 bridge across the Patapsco River Flats. Staged closures through Summer 2019 resulted in two-way traffic on southbound then on northbound as crews replaced the bridge deck and superstructure, and reduced the number of bridge joints. Work affected I-895 between Exit 4 (MD 295) and Exit 6 (I-895 Spur).2

The I-895/Baltimore Harbor Tunnel Toll Plaza and Interchange Improvements Project will remove the 14 booth toll plaza for the Baltimore Harbor Tunnel and reconfigure the ramps joining I-895 with Frankfurst Avenue and Childs Street. Environmental studies will be completed in Spring 2021 along with preliminary engineering. Final design work follows from Summer 2021 to 2023. Phase construction is anticipated for 2024 to 2027.

The project will replace the toll plaza with AET gantries. A collector distributor roadway system will be built in both directions between Frankfurst Avenue and Childs Street. Exit 8B from I-895 southbound will be removed and Exit 8A expanded with access to Frankfurst Avenue west. Entrance ramps from Frankfurst Avenue and Shell Road north will be demolished. Shell Road will be realigned to intersect Frankfurst Avenue across from a new entrance ramp for I-895 north.

Interstate 895 Spur

A two pronged spur for Interstate 895 connects the Baltimore Harbor Tunnel Thruway with both I-97 (Glen Burnie Bypass) south and Maryland Route 2 (Ritchie Highway) south in Anne Arundel County. These roadways opened in 1957 to feed traffic to the Harbor Tunnel from the Glen Burnie area and Baltimore Beltway. The Maryland State Highway Administration (MDSHA) classifies these spur routes as I-895A and I-895B, though neither are signed in the field. Instead signs posted along the freeways simply refer to the routes they connect with.

Route Information

  • North End – Baltimore, MD

  • South End – Elkridge, MD

  • Mileage – 11.44

  • Cities – Baltimore

  • JunctionsI-95 I-695 I-895 Spur

Source: December 31, 2018 Interstate Route Log and Finders List

I-895 Annual Average Daily Traffic (AADT)

Baltimore, MD - 1966
The unnumbered Harbor Tunnel Thruway – 1966 Maryland Official Highway Map

The Harbor Tunnel Thruway provided a direct connection to the John F. Kennedy Memorial Highway, but was never formally considered a part of Interstate 95. Sequential exit numbers on the toll road were unusual in that they increased both north and south from the Harbor Tunnel.

Baltimore, MD - 1983
Interstate 895 on the 1983-84 Maryland Official Highway Map

The Harbor Tunnel Thruway provided the main route for I-95 through traffic across the city of Baltimore until the Fort McHenry Tunnel opened to traffic on November 23, 1985.

History

The Baltimore Harbor Tunnel opened to traffic on November 29, 1957 at a cost of $130 million. The Tunnel Thruway, including the K-Truss Bridge over the CSX Railroad yard, opened west to U.S. 1 (Washington Boulevard) and east to U.S. 40 (Pulaski Highway) in 1957.3 This included the Canton Viaduct, which cost $6.6 million and took two years to build.1 A northward extension to the then-Northeast Expressway (JFK Memorial Highway) at the Baltimore city line followed in 1963. Work in 1973 completed the Thruway to Interstate 95 at Elkridge.3

I-895 north at Baltimore Harbor Tunnel

Interstate 895 north at the Baltimore Harbor Tunnel. 12/21/12

The Harbor Tunnel Thruway was the default route of Interstate 95 until it was completed through the Fort McHenry Tunnel on November 23, 1985. Preceding that opening, Maryland officials requested the previously undesignated route to be added to the Interstate system. I-895 shields were erected starting in the early 1980s.3

Speed limits along the portion of Interstate 895 west of the Baltimore city line were increased to 65 miles per hour by 2010. Work at the north end between late 2007 and 2011 reconfigured the wye interchange so that movements between I-95 and I-895 merge or depart from the right. This work was undertaken as part of the $1.1 billion, multi-year project to build the I-95 Express Lanes, which added toll lanes to I-95 between I-895 and MD 43 (White Marsh Boulevard). The managed lanes opened to traffic on December 6, 2014.4

Highway Guides

North End I-95 – Baltimore, Maryland

I-895 North at I-95

I-895 north at I-95 - Baltimore, MD

Crossing Herring Run, Interstate 895 separates in 0.4 miles for ramps to both the I-95 Express Lanes toward White Marsh and the I-95 general travel lanes to Wilmington, Philadelphia and New York. 12/21/12

I-895 north at I-95 - Baltimore, MD

Ramps join Moravia Road with Interstate 895 as the Express lane ramps separate. There are no remaining exits from the Harbor Tunnel Thruway north. 12/21/12

I-895 north at I-95 - Baltimore, MD

A wye interchange connects the north end of I-895 with I-95 at the Baltimore County line. I-95 advances east along John F. Kennedy Memorial Highway through Harford and Cecil Counties.
The I-95 Express Lane flyover drops onto the left side of I-95 north here as well. The toll lanes extend eight miles beyond the exchange (Exit 67) with MD 43. 12/21/12

I-95 South at I-895

I-95 south at I-895 - Baltimore, MD

Completed by Fall 2011, construction for the I-95 Express Lanes shifted the left exit ramp to I-895 from the I-95 general travel lanes to the right. 01/04/19

I-95 south at I-895 - Baltimore, MD

One mile ahead of the wye interchange with Interstate 895 (Harbor Tunnel Thruway) along I-95 south. 01/04/19

I-95 south at I-895 - Baltimore, MD

Approaching the Chesaco Avenue overpass, Interstate 95 south partitions with three lane continuing to the Fort McHenry Tunnel and two lanes for the Harbor Tunnel via I-895. 01/04/19

I-95 south at I-895 - Baltimore, MD

A lengthy flyover departs to from the south end of the I-95 Express Lanes as Exit 62 leaves the Interstate 95 general travel lanes for I-895. 01/04/19

I-95 south at I-895 - Baltimore, MD

Interstate 895 provides a good alternative to I-95 for motorists heading south to Washington. Guide signs however reference Annapolis instead for the I-895 Spur connection to Interstate 97 near Glen Burnie. The toll road also connects with Moravia Road and U.S. 40 (Pulaski Highway) nearby. 01/04/19

I-95 south at I-895 - Baltimore, MD

I-95 and I-895 cross paths again prior to their respective tunnels across the Patapsco River, but without direct access to one another. 01/04/19

South End I-95 – Elkridge, Maryland

I-95 North at I-895 US 1

I-95 north at I-895 - Elkridge, MD

One half mile ahead of Interstate 895 (Harbor Tunnel Thruway) on I-95 north in eastern Howard County. There are no northbound exits from I-895 until after the K-Truss Bridge and adjacent toll plaza.
This overhead replaced a ground-level sign by 2010. 12/21/12

I-95 north at I-895 - Elkridge, MD

Entering the wye interchange (Exit 46) with Interstate 895 north on I-95 north. Interstate 195 (Metropolitan Boulevard) joins I-95 with BWI Airport and Catonsville next while the Thruway travels eight miles to the Harbor Tunnel toll plaza. 12/21/12

I-895 South at US 1 I-95

I-895 south at US 1/I-95 - Elkridge, MD

I-895 (Harbor Tunnel Thruway) straddles wetlands and industrial areas along the Patapsco River from the Baltimore Beltway to Exit 1 with U.S. 1 (Washington Boulevard) south. Generally paralleling I-95, U.S. 1 travels south to Elkridge en route to Laurel and Beltsville. 10/12/14

I-895 south at US 1/I-95 - Elkridge, MD

Interstate 195 (Metropolitan Boulevard) passes over I-895 south as Exit 1 departs for U.S. 1 (Washington Boulevard) to Elkridge. The Harbor Tunnel Thruway ended at this wye interchange until 1973. 10/12/14

I-895 south at US 1/I-95 - Elkridge, MD

Turning more west, I-895 crosses the Patapsco River and enters Howard County. The Harbor Tunnel Thruway reduces to a single lane southbound to the wye interchange with Interstate 95 south. 10/12/14

Sources:

  1. “Five-year construction project on I-895 north of Harbor Tunnel to begin 2016.” The Baltimore Sun (MD), November 13, 2014.
  2. Major I-895 bridge project underway.WTOP (Baltimore, MD), June 19, 2016.
  3. Harbor Tunnel Thruway (I-895) @ DCRoads.net.
  4. “Express toll lanes on I-95 north of Baltimore set to open Dec. 6.” The Baltimore Sun (MD), November 14, 2014.
  5. “Construction on I-895 in Baltimore to cause major traffic problems for the next three years.” The Baltimore Sun (MD), November 9, 2018.

Page updated December 14, 2020.