With the 495 Express Lanes complete, making commuting easier for motorists on the beltway, I-95 commuters are now looking for better commuting options from Richmond and Fredericksburg. One major option by the end of 2014 will be the 95 Express Lanes currently under construction, with a seamless express link at the Springfield Interchange for a congestion-free commute from Garrisonville Road (Route 610) to the Tysons Corner area or up I-395 to the Pentagon and Washington D.C.
This link in Springfield, known to insiders as Phase 8, was a follow-on phase to the seven-phase Springfield Interchange that was rebuilt between 1998 and 2007. That link was a vision of Virginia Department of Transportation planners in the 1990’s, a long time before the 495 Express Lanes were even on the drawing board to connect I-95 HOV lanes directly to I-495 towards Tysons Corner area.
“When the interchange was being rebuilt, construction included some ramps and toll-gantry platforms built for future use. The 495 Express Lanes planners utilized the structures as part of the Springfield project construction linking the two transportation corridors,” said Steve Titunik, VDOT’s regional communications director who
also managed the communications through construction of the Springfield Interchange.
When the 495 Express Lanes opened in November 2012, motorists enjoyed the seamless transition from the express lanes to the reversible I-95/395 High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) lanes. In the past, I-495 motorists trying to get on the HOV lanes had to get on I-95 South first and travel past the Springfield Interchange before taking the slip ramp to the HOV lanes heading south.
When the 95 Express Lanes open in late 2014, motorists will be able to remain in the express lanes, bypassing any lane changing or ramps of the Springfield Interchange. In the morning, motorists heading north can easily get to Tysons Corner, and coming home in the evening, the transition to southbound 95 Express Lanes will be seamless. Buses and carpools with three riders or more ride toll-free, two or less riders have an option to pay a toll and enjoy the free-flowing traffic as well.
For Richmond resident Carolyn Bogen, this connection at Springfield and the uncongested 495 Express Lanes saves valuable time. “It cut the last leg of the commute in half, it’s a much easier ride,” she said.