Interstate 395 (Virginia–District of Columbia)

Interstate 395 (I-395) in Washington, D.C., and Virginia is a 13.39-mile-long (21.55 km) spur route of I-95 that begins at an interchange with I-95 in Springfield and ends at an interchange with U.S. Route 50 (US 50) in northwest Washington, D.C. It passes underneath the National Mall near the U.S. Capitol and ends at a junction with US 50 at New York Avenue, roughly one mile (1.6 km) north of the 3rd Street Tunnel. Despite its proximity to I-395 in Maryland, the route is unrelated and unconnected.

Interstate 395 marker

Interstate 395
I-395 highlighted in red
Route information
Auxiliary route of I-95
Length13.31 mi[1] (21.42 km)
9.91 miles (15.95 km) in Virginia
3.48 miles (5.60 km) in the District of Columbia
RestrictionsNo HazMat or vehicles over 13 feet (4.0 m) in the Third Street Tunnel
Major junctions
South end I-95 / I-495 in Springfield, VA
North end US 50 in Washington, DC
StatesVirginia, District of Columbia
CountiesVA: Fairfax, City of Alexandria, Arlington
DC: City of Washington
Highway system
SR 394VASR 396
DC 295DCI-495

I-395 is known by three different names over its various segments. The Virginia portion is part of the larger Shirley Highway that continues southward on I-95 beyond the terminus of I-395. In the District of Columbia, it is known as the Southwest Freeway from the 14th Street Bridge to the Southeast Freeway interchange (I-695), the Center Leg or Center Leg Freeway from the Southeast Freeway interchange to New York Avenue.

Route descriptionEdit


The intersection where I-395, I-95, and the I-495 (Capital Beltway) meet is called the Springfield Interchange. Unofficially, this interchange is referred to as The Mixing Bowl. This moniker causes confusion, because the intersection of I-395, Washington Boulevard, and Columbia Pike several miles north was historically known by that name, and continues to be recognized by the Virginia Department of Transportation as such.

I-395 contains a third roadway: reversible, barrier-separated Virginia HOT lanes with their own entrances and exits, also known locally as the "express lanes", between South Eads Street near the Pentagon in Arlington County and State Route 610 (Garrisonville Rd.) in Stafford County, Virginia.[2] During morning and evening rush hour, traffic on this roadway flows in the direction of rush-hour traffic. At these times, the road may only be used by vehicles containing three or more passengers and by motorcycles, alternative-fuel cars, hybrids registered in Virginia before July 1, 2006, and law enforcement vehicles. At other times, the road is either open to all traffic in one direction or closed to all traffic.[3] In 2012, the exemption was modified to be "open-ended" rather than year-to-year.[4]

This third roadway was built as a single-lane busway, the first in the United States, before being expanded and converted to HOV use. A 2007 survey found that during the morning rush hour, the HOV lanes carry about 65% of travelers on I-395 (61,000 commuters), including 32,000 in transit buses and 29,000 in private vehicles with two or more people. The other 33,000 commuters (35% of total users) drove alone.[5]

I-395 and US 1 cross the Potomac River from Virginia to Washington, D.C., on three parallel four-lane bridges, together known as the 14th Street Bridge. Potomac River crossings for the Washington Metro's Yellow Line and for a major CSX railroad line are immediately downstream here. This site has long been a major Potomac River crossing, with the first bridge constructed here in 1809. Of the present highway spans, the eastern one was built in 1950, the western one in 1962, and the central one in 1972.

District of ColumbiaEdit

After crossing the 14th street Bridge, the freeway has a left-side exit allowing access to US 1 (exit 1). The southbound side of I-395 has no access to northbound US 1 here. I-395 crosses Potomac Park (exit 2) and a second bridge, the Francis Case Memorial Bridge over the Washington Channel. Here, the route bends from a generally northeast direction to a due east direction, interchanging (exit 3) with the 9th and 12th Street Expressways, two tunnels that carry traffic under the National Mall. A series of complex interchanges (numbered 4, 5, 6, and 7) provide partial access to Maine Avenue and C Street SW, as well as connections to Interstate 695. Immediately after I-695, the freeway makes a hard turn to the due north to follow the Third Street Tunnel immediately under Union Square and just to the west of the United States Capitol Building. Emerging from the tunnel, I-395 follows a depressed roadway (the Center Leg Freeway) that has three more partial interchanges (exits 8, 9, and 10) with local streets before terminating at New York Avenue/US 50.


Shirley HighwayEdit

The portion of Interstate 395 between the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia, and the interchange with Interstate 95 and the Capital Beltway in Springfield is part of the Henry G. Shirley Memorial Highway, named for a Virginia Highway Commissioner who died on July 16, 1941, just a few weeks after approving work on the new expressway. Originally State Route 350, the full length of the Shirley Highway was opened on September 6, 1949, from south of the Pentagon to Woodbridge, Virginia,[6] along what is now better known as the Interstate 95 corridor. The Shirley Highway featured the nation's first reversible bus lanes, a precursor to today's HOV lanes.

During an evening rush-hour snowstorm in 1982, Air Florida Flight 90 crashed on take-off from National Airport, hitting the easternmost of the three highway bridges known as the 14th Street Bridge. The oldest span, formerly named the Rochambeau, is now named the Arland D. Williams, Jr. Memorial Bridge, in honor of a passenger of Flight 90 who survived the crash, escaped from the sinking aircraft, and perished in the Potomac River while saving others from the icy waters. The center span is now called the Rochambeau Bridge, and the western span, the George Mason Memorial Bridge.

Interstate Highway through WashingtonEdit

Original plans called for I-95 to travel through Washington, D.C., and Prince George's County, Maryland, toward the northeastern portion of the Capital Beltway, from which I-95 presently continues its northbound route. However, neighborhood opposition in the District halted this plan in 1977, diverting planned funding toward construction of the Washington Metro. The only remnant of the Maryland extension is a series of ramp stubs near College Park, which now lead to a Park & Ride. The portion of I-95 within the Beltway became I-395, while the eastern half of the Beltway was re-designated I-95 (and, later, co-signed I-95/I-495). I-395 currently terminates in Washington, D.C., at a traffic signal at U.S. Route 50, which is New York Avenue, near Mount Vernon Square.

Center Leg Freeway development / Capitol CrossingEdit

The District government finalized a deal in 2010 with the Louis Dreyfus Group to construct a 2.1-million-square-foot (200,000 m2) mixed-use development in the airspace over the Center Leg Freeway portion of Interstate 395. The $425 million office, residential, and retail project at the east end of the Judiciary Square neighborhood will also restore the area's original L'Enfant Plan street grid by reconnecting F and G Streets over the freeway. The project was awaiting final regulatory approval and expected to be complete by 2016.[7]

In 2015, work began on I-395 in conjunction with the Capitol Crossing, a major real estate project in D.C, part of which lies on top of the highway. The work involves adding a $200 million concrete platform that connects neighborhoods that have been severed by the freeway, creating a better community atmosphere in the eastern edge of downtown. DDOT expected the work would take up to four years.[8]


In 2015, the Commonwealth of Virginia announced that the HOV lanes between the Turkeycock Run bridge and Eads Street (at The Pentagon) will be converted to toll lanes as part of the I-395 Express Lanes Extension project. The existing HOV lanes, which run in both directions in some areas, will become reversible HOT lanes for the entire scope of this project, spanning eight miles (13 km).[9]

Part of the project involves the reconfiguring of the Pentagon interchange to provide greater access to Army Navy Drive, as well as the closing of the on-ramp—from the southbound HOV lanes to the mainline Interstate southbound—located just west of the Pentagon interchange. All existing HOV interchanges within the project's scope will also become tolled, except for the northbound exit and southbound entrance at Seminary Road, which will remain toll-free while retaining its HOV-only restriction.[10]

Once the project is completed, vehicles carrying three or more passengers will still be able to use the former HOV lanes for free. The project is expected to be completed in 2019.[9]

Exit listEdit

Exits in Washington, D.C. were unnumbered until 2008.[citation needed] In 2014, in conjunction with the rebuilding of the 11th Street Bridges and the Southeast Freeway, some exit numbers were converted to a mileage-based numbering system.[11]

State/districtCountyLocationmi[12][11]kmOld exitNew exit[13]DestinationsNotes
VirginiaFairfaxSpringfield0.000.001A  I-95 south – RichmondSouthern terminus; part of Springfield Interchange
  I-95 Express south – RichmondSouth end of I-395 Express lanes; part of Springfield Interchange
1B  SR 644 – Franconia, SpringfieldPart of Springfield Interchange; southbound exit and northbound entrance
   I-495 north (Capital Beltway Inner Loop) / I-95 Express north – Baltimore, Tysons CornerPart of Springfield Interchange; southbound exit and northbound entrance for Express lanes only
1C   I-95 north / I-495 east – BaltimorePart of Springfield Interchange; southbound exit and northbound entrance
1D  I-495 north – Tysons CornerPart of Springfield Interchange; southbound exit and northbound entrance
0.400.642  SR 648 (Edsall Road)Signed as exits 2A (east) and 2B (west)
1.101.77  I-395 ExpressSouthbound exit and northbound entrance
  I-395 Express south / I-395 north (HOV Lanes)Current northern terminus of I-395 Express lanes and southern terminus of HOV lanes
  I-395 ExpressNorthbound exit and southbound entrance
City of Alexandria2.003.223A  SR 236 east (Duke Street) – Landmark
3B  SR 236 west (Little River Turnpike) – Lincolnia
3.705.954Seminary Road (SR 420)Includes full access to and from HOV lanes
4.607.405  SR 7 (King Street)
ArlingtonShirlington5.408.696ShirlingtonSouthbound access is part of exit 7; includes exit ramp to Quaker Lane
ShirlingtonSouthbound exit and northbound entrance via Express lanes only
5.909.507  SR 120 (South Glebe Road) – Marymount University, ShirlingtonSigned as exits 7A (south) and 7B (north/Marymount) northbound; southbound exit includes exit ramp to Quaker Lane
Arlington Ridge6.9011.108A   SR 27 west (Washington Boulevard) to SR 244 (Columbia Pike) / South Arlington Ridge Road – Pentagon South ParkingSR 244 (Columbia Pike) signed northbound only; Pentagon South Parking/South Arlington Ridge Road signed southbound only
Pentagon City  SR 27 east / Arlington Memorial BridgeNorthbound exit and southbound entrance via Express lanes only
7.5012.078B  SR 27 east (Washington Boulevard) – Pentagon, Arlington Cemetery, RosslynNorthbound exit and southbound entrance
  I-395 ExpressSouthbound entrance only from Express lanes
PentagonExpress Lanes only; access via SR 27
8.0012.8798B   SR 110 north to I-66 west – RosslynSouthbound exit and northbound entrance
Crystal City8.4013.528C   US 1 south – Pentagon City, Crystal City, Reagan National Airport, AlexandriaSouthern terminus of concurrency with US 1; left exit southbound; northbound signed as "To US 1"
8.5013.68  I-395 Express northNorthbound exit and southbound entrance
8.7014.00109Clark StreetNorthbound exit is part of exit 10A
Long Bridge Park8.90–
10ABoundary Channel Drive – Pentagon North Parking
VirginiaD.C. lineArlingtonWashington line1110B–C  George Washington Parkway – Memorial Bridge, Reagan National Airport, Mount VernonSigned as exits 10B (south) and 10C (north)
0.000.0014th Street Bridges over Potomac River
District of ColumbiaWashington0.500.801  US 1 north (14th Street) – National MallNorthern terminus of US 1 concurrency; northbound exit and southbound entrance; includes access to/from HOV lanes
0.600.972Potomac Park, U.S. Park PoliceAccess via Ohio Drive
0.801.29  To I-395 Express southNorthern terminus of I-395 Express Lanes
Francis Case Memorial Bridge
0.901.45312th Street Expressway north – Capital One ArenaNo entrance ramps; southbound exit is part of exit 4
9th Street ExpresswayNo exit ramps
1.302.094Maine Avenue – Southwest Waterfront, Nationals ParkNo entrance ramps
1.502.4156th Street SW / 7th Street SW – L'Enfant PromenadeSouthbound exit and northbound entrance
    I-695 east / South Capitol Street to I-295 / DC 295 – Nationals ParkSouthbound exit and northbound entrance
1.602.572B6C Street SW – U.S. Capitol, The HouseNorthbound exit only
1.903.062A7    I-695 east to I-295 / DC 295Southbound exit and northbound entrance; western terminus of I-695
Southern end of Third Street Tunnel
2.203.542B8U.S. CapitolSouthbound exit and northbound entrance; via 2nd Street SW
2.403.869U.S. SenateNorthbound exit and southbound entrance; via 1st Street SW
2.704.3510  Massachusetts Avenue – AmtrakNorthbound exit and southbound entrance
Northern end of Third Street Tunnel
3.405.47     US 50 east (New York Avenue) to I-95 / I-295 / I-495 / Baltimore-Washington Parkway – BaltimoreAt-grade intersection
1.000 mi = 1.609 km; 1.000 km = 0.621 mi

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Adderly, Kevin (January 27, 2016). "Table 2: Auxiliary Routes of the Dwight D. Eisenhower National System of Interstate and Defense Highways as of December 31, 2015". Route Log and Finder List. Federal Highway Administration. Retrieved August 21, 2016.
  2. ^ Kozel, Scott M. (March 1, 2004). "Virginia Freeway HOV Lanes". Roads to the Future. Retrieved October 5, 2014.[self-published source]
  3. ^ Virginia Department of Transportation (n.d.). "Virginia HOV Systems: HOV Rules & FAQs". Virginia Department of Transportation. Archived from the original on February 6, 2006.
  4. ^ Morris, Joan; McCord, Jennifer (May 8, 2012). "New Law for Hybrids on HOV Lanes" (Press release). NR12-33. Archived from the original on June 6, 2012. Retrieved May 31, 2012.
  5. ^ Quintana, Kala (September 10, 2007). "Many More People Commuting Along I-395/Route 1 Corridor Inside The Beltway Are Using HOV And Transit Than Driving Alone" (Press release). Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation. Archived from the original on January 29, 2013. Retrieved February 18, 2013.
  6. ^ London, John (September 7, 1949). "Shirley Road Saves Time, Test Reveals". The Washington Post. p. B1. ProQuest 152105125.
  7. ^ Farmer, Liz (October 19, 2010). "Major development over I-395 moves closer to reality". The Washington Examiner. Archived from the original on July 17, 2012. Retrieved November 2, 2011.
  8. ^ "Major work for Capitol Crossing project is set to begin on I-395". The Washington Post. June 23, 2015. Retrieved August 21, 2016.
  9. ^ a b Virginia Department of Transportation (July 25, 2017). "I-395 Express Lanes Extension". Virginia Department of Transportation. Retrieved July 30, 2017.
  10. ^ Virginia Department of Transportation (2016). "I-395 Express Lanes Northern Extension" (PDF). Virginia Department of Transportation. pp. 7, 16–17. Retrieved July 30, 2017.
  11. ^ a b Google (December 26, 2013). "Interstate 395 in Washington, D.C." (Map). Google Maps. Google. Retrieved December 26, 2013.
  12. ^ Google (December 26, 2013). "Interstate 395 in Virginia" (Map). Google Maps. Google. Retrieved December 26, 2013.
  13. ^ Virginia Department of Transportation (October 14, 2012). "Virginia Interstate Exits: I-395". Virginia Department of Transportation. Retrieved August 21, 2016.

External linksEdit

Route map:

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