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.