Interstate 395 in Virginia

Interstate 395 in Virginia is the 9.67-mile-long expressway from the I-95/I-495 Capital Beltway interchange in Fairfax County at Springfield, through Alexandria and Arlington to the District of Columbia border (Potomac River). It is part of the 17.56-mile-long Shirley Highway (I-95 & I-395) from Woodbridge to the District. I-395 continues into D.C., passes through the central business district, and ends at New York Avenue.

The terrain that I-395 in Virginia crosses is gently rolling, and the highway serves the city and towns of Alexandria and Springfield, and the counties of Arlington and Fairfax. I-395 crosses one major transportation barrier as it crosses the Potomac River on the 14th Street Bridge between Arlington, Va., and Washington, D.C. The Pentagon building (Department of Defense headquarters) in Arlington, Va., is served by I-395, as are the many federal buildings in downtown D.C. Washington National Airport (DCA) is served by I-395 via the limited access 6-lane George Washington Memorial Parkway.

When Shirley Highway was completed in 1952, much of it was in rural areas outside of urbanized areas. Today, most of the entire corridor has nearby major development, especially on the I-395 portion. I-395 serves as an Interstate spur from I-95 into downtown D.C., as well as being part of the major north-south expressway in Northern Virginia and into central D.C. The Washington, D.C. area is a metropolitan area of 4.7 million population (1998). The original route number of Shirley Highway was VA-350, and it was designated as I-95 in the late 1960s, since it was part of the planned I-95 through the District of Columbia. I-95 in Virginia inside the I-495 Capital Beltway was redesignated as I-395 in 1977 because of the rerouting of I-95 to the eastern half of the Capital Beltway. This was done because of the cancellation of proposed I-95 from New York Avenue in D.C. northward into Prince George's County to I-495.

Route openings. The original 4-lane limited access freeway VA-350 Shirley Highway was completed on May 24,1952. The section in Arlington was opened in 1942, at the time the Pentagon was completed; this section included the Mixing Bowl interchange complex near the Pentagon with VA-27 Washington Boulevard and the Pentagon parking lots.

Traffic Volumes on I-395 are very high, with some variation. VDOT 1997 average daily traffic volume data follows, and figures are published rounded to the nearest 100. The section between I-495 Capital Beltway and VA-648 Edsall Road carries 251,000 AADT. The section between VA-648 Edsall Road and VA-236 Duke Street carries 188,000 AADT. The section between VA-236 Duke Street and VA-27 Washington Blvd. varies from 229,000 AADT to 245,000 AADT. The section between US-1/VA-110 and the Potomac River carries 282,000 AADT. All these sections carry about 9% large trucks.

Number of Lanes. As of 2000, all of I-395 in Virginia has at least 3 general purpose lanes each way, and some sections have 4 general purpose lanes each way. The center reversible roadway has 2 lanes. See my Henry G. Shirley Memorial Highway (I-95 and I-395) article for more details.

Major widening projects. See my Henry G. Shirley Memorial Highway (I-95 and I-395) article.

For more details, see my articles Henry G. Shirley Memorial Highway (I-95 and I-395) and Springfield Interchange Project and 14th Street Bridge Complex (I-395 and US-1) and 14th Street Bridge, the Air Florida Crash and Subway Disaster (1-13-82). See Kurumi's Kurumi: Interstate 395 for I-395 in Virginia.

Lead article Interstate Highway System in Virginia

Copyright 2000-2003 by Scott Kozel. All rights reserved. Reproduction, reuse, or distribution without permission is prohibited.

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By Scott M. Kozel, Roads to the Future

(Created 5-30-2000, updated 12-21-2003)