Interstate 395 (Virginia–District of Columbia)

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Interstate 395

I-395 highlighted in red
Route information
Auxiliary route of I-95
Maintained by VDOT and DDOT
Length13.79 mi[1] (22.19 km)
NHSEntire route
RestrictionsNo hazardous materials or vehicles over 13 ft (4.0 m) in the 3rd Street Tunnel
Major junctions
South end I-95 / I-495 in Springfield, VA
Major intersections
North end US 50 in Washington, DC
CountryUnited States
StatesVirginia, District of Columbia
CountiesVA: Fairfax, City of Alexandria, Arlington
DC: City of Washington
Highway system
SR 394VA SR 396
DC 295DC I-495

Interstate 395 (I-395) in Washington, D.C., and Virginia is a 13.79-mile-long (22.19 km) spur route of I-95 that begins at an interchange with I-95 in Springfield and ends at an interchange with US Route 50 (US 50) in Northwest Washington, D.C. It passes underneath the National Mall near the US 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.

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 bridges to the Southeast Freeway interchange (I-695) and the Center Leg or Center Leg Freeway from the Southeast Freeway interchange to New York Avenue. The Southwest and Center Leg freeways are collectively denominated as the Dwight D. Eisenhower Freeway. I-395 is planned to be rerouted off of the Center Leg and onto I-695 with latter route being decommissioned. The Center Leg will then be designated I-195.

Route description

  mi[1] km
VA 9.91 15.95
DC 3.88 6.24
Total 13.79 22.19


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 State Route 244 (SR 244; Columbia Pike) several miles north was historically known by that name and continues to be recognized by the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) as such.

I-395 contains a third roadway: reversible, barrier-separated Virginia high-occupancy toll (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 SR 610 (Garrisonville Road) in Stafford County.[2] During morning and evening rush hour, traffic on this roadway flows in the direction of rush-hour traffic.

This third roadway was built as a single-lane busway, the first in the US, before being expanded and converted to high-occupancy vehicle (HOV) use. A 2007 survey found that during the morning rush hour, the HOV lanes carry about 65 percent of travelers on I-395 (61,000 commuters), including 32,000 in transit busses and 29,000 in private vehicles with two or more people. The other 33,000 commuters (35 percent of total users) drove alone.[3]

I-395 and US 1 cross the Potomac River from Virginia to Washington DC on three parallel four-lane bridges, together known as the 14th Street bridges. Potomac River crossings for the Washington Metro's Yellow Line and for a major CSX Transportation 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 Columbia

After crossing the 14th Street bridges, 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 East 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 Southwest, as well as connections to I-695. Immediately after I-695, the freeway makes a hard turn to the due north to follow the 3rd Street Tunnel immediately under Union Square, just to the west of the US Capitol building and underneath the Frances Perkins Building. I-395 follows a depressed roadway (the Center Leg Freeway), which was placed underground in 2019, that has three more partial interchanges (exits 8, 9, and 10) with local streets before terminating at New York Avenue/US 50.


Shirley Highway

The portion of I-395 between the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia, and the interchange with I-95 and the Capital Beltway in Springfield is part of the Henry G. Shirley Memorial Highway, named for the Virginia Highway Commissioner who died on July 16, 1941, just a few weeks after approving work on the new expressway. Originally SR 350, the full length of the Henry G. Shirley Memorial Highway was opened on September 6, 1949, from south of the Pentagon to Woodbridge, Virginia,[4] along what is now better known as the I-95 corridor. The Henry G. Shirley Memorial 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 takeoff from what was then known as Washington National Airport, hitting the easternmost of the three highway bridges known as the 14th Street bridges. 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, after a US delegate to the Constitutional Convention.

Interstate Highway through Washington DC

Original plans called for I-95 to travel through Washington DC 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 DC 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 and ride. The portion of I-95 within the beltway became I-395, while the eastern half of the beltway was redesignated I-95 (and, later, cosigned I-95/I-495). I-395 terminates in Washington DC at a traffic signal at US 50, which is New York Avenue, near Mount Vernon Square.

Center Leg Freeway development/Capitol Crossing

The DC government finalized a deal in 2010 with Louis Dreyfus Company to construct a 2.1-million-square-foot (200,000 m2) mixed-use development in the airspace over the Center Leg Freeway portion of I-395. The $425-million (equivalent to $580 million in 2023[5]) 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.[6]

In 2015, work began on I-395 in conjunction with Capitol Crossing, a major real-estate project in DC, part of which lies on top of the highway. The work involves adding a $200-million (equivalent to $251 million in 2023[5]) concrete platform that connects neighborhoods that have been severed by the freeway, creating a better community atmosphere in the eastern edge of downtown. The District Department of Transportation (DDOT) expected the work would take up to four years.[7]

Express lanes conversion

In 2015, the commonwealth of Virginia announced that the HOV lanes between the Turkeycock Run bridge and Eads Street (at the Pentagon) would be converted to toll lanes as part of the I-395 Express Lanes Extension project. The existing HOV lanes, which ran in both directions in some areas, became reversible HOT lanes for the entire scope of this project, spanning eight miles (13 km).[8]

Part of the project involved the reconfiguring of the Pentagon interchange to provide greater access to Army Navy Drive, as well as the closing of the onramp—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 became tolled.[9]

Vehicles carrying three or more passengers are still able to use the former HOV lanes for free if they have E-ZPass Flex transponders in HOV mode.[10][11] The express lanes opened on November 17, 2019.[12] The lanes are operated by Transurban. The reversible portion runs toward the District of Columbia in the morning and toward Virginia in the afternoon.[11]


In January 2021, as part of an effort to eliminate driver confusion among I-395, I-695, and I-295 in Downtown, the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) approved a request by the District of Columbia to eliminate the entirety of I-695 and renumber it as an extension of I-395. I-395's previous route along the Center Leg Freeway is to be renumbered as a new I-195.[13] Although the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) also approved the request on April 23,[14] resigning work is yet to commence as of November 2022.

Plans to rehabilitate the Arland D. Williams Jr. Memorial Bridge, which carries northbound I-395 and US 1 over the Potomac River, have been in the works since inspections between 2005 and 2009 revealed that the bridge was deteriorating. A small $27-million (equivalent to $36.1 million in 2023[5]) project was done between 2010 and 2011, but a 2014 inspection revealed that the bridge still had problems. However, DDOT pushed the date to fix the problems until 2020 due to the expense and the need to replace or repair several deficient bridges elsewhere in DC.[15] On April 13, 2023, DDOT announced the US Department of Transportation had provided $72 million to help fund the rehabilitation project. The $90-million project, which will also be funded in part by the DC government, would start with preliminary engineering and the environmental review for the project later that spring, with the preliminary design expected to be completed later that year. Construction is estimated to take two years.[16]

Exit list

Exits in Washington DC were unnumbered until 2008. 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.[17]

State/districtCountyLocationmi[17][18]kmOld exitNew exit[19]DestinationsNotes
I-95 south – Richmond
Southern terminus; part of Springfield Interchange

I-95 Express south – Richmond
South 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 Corner
Part of Springfield Interchange; southbound exit and northbound entrance for Express lanes only

I-95 north / I-495 east – Baltimore
Part of Springfield Interchange; southbound exit and northbound entrance
I-495 north – Tysons Corner
Part of Springfield Interchange; southbound exit and northbound entrance
0.400.642 SR 648 (Edsall Road)Signed as exits 2A (east) and 2B (west)
I-395 Express
City of Alexandria2.003.223A
SR 236 east (Duke Street) – Landmark
SR 236 west (Little River Turnpike) – Lincolnia
3.705.954Seminary Road (SR 420)Includes full access to and from Express 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 Parking
SR 244 (Columbia Pike) signed northbound only; Pentagon South Parking/South Arlington Ridge Road signed southbound only
Pentagon City
SR 27 east / Arlington Memorial Bridge
Northbound exit and southbound entrance via Express lanes only
SR 27 east (Washington Boulevard) – Pentagon, Arlington Cemetery, Rosslyn
Northbound exit and southbound entrance

I-395 Express
Southbound entrance only from Express lanes
PentagonExpress Lanes only; access via SR 27

SR 110 north to I-66 west – Rosslyn
Southbound exit and northbound entrance
Crystal City8.4013.528C
US 1 south – Pentagon City, Crystal City, Reagan National Airport, Alexandria
Southern terminus of concurrency with US 1; left exit southbound; northbound signed as "To US 1"

I-395 Express north
Northbound 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 Mall
Northern 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

To I-395 Express south
Northern 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 to I-295 / DC 295
Northbound left exit and southbound left entrance; future I-395 north
I-395 north from this point on is future I-195 (Center Leg Freeway)
1.602.572B6C Street SW – U.S. Capitol, The HouseNorthbound exit only

I-695 east to I-295 / DC 295
Southbound left exit and northbound entrance; western terminus of I-695; future I-395 north
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

US 50 east (New York Avenue) to I-95 / I-295 / I-495 / Baltimore-Washington Parkway – Baltimore
At-grade intersection
1.000 mi = 1.609 km; 1.000 km = 0.621 mi

Related highways

9th Street Expressway and 12th Street Expressway

LocationWashington, D.C.
Length0.9 mi[20][21] (1,400 m)
The 12th Street Expressway begins at exit 3 on northbound I-395.

The 9th Street Expressway and the 12th Street Expressway are a one-way pair of freeway spurs connecting I-395 (Southwest Freeway) with US 1 and US 50 (Constitution Avenue) in Washington, D.C. The expressways also provide connections to the L'Enfant Promenade and Independence Avenue. Both highways pass through tunnels under the National Mall and are named for the streets that extend northward from their respective northern termini. The 9th Street Expressway and the 12th Street Expressway run southbound and northbound, respectively, between I-395 and Constitution Avenue.

The 9th Street Expressway begins at the intersection of Constitution Avenue and 9th Street Northwest. The highway heads southbound along the east side of the National Museum of Natural History and descends into the 9th Street Tunnel under the National Mall. The 9th Street Expressway emerges from the tunnel just north of L'Enfant Plaza and receives a ramp from Independence Avenue. At the south end of L'Enfant Plaza, ramps for northbound I-395 and southbound I-395 split from the roadway; the southbound I-395 also provides access to Maine Avenue in the direction of the Tidal Basin. The highway continues south beyond I-395 to an intersection with Maine Avenue at The Wharf (Washington, D.C.).[20]

The 12th Street Expressway begins as a flyover ramp from northbound I-395 as the Interstate crosses the Francis Case Memorial Bridge. Southbound I-395 also has a ramp to the expressway as part of its ramp to Maine Avenue. The two ramps both have exits for the L'Enfant Promenade, specifically D Street Southwest. The expressway's ramps from both directions of I-395 merge and the highway descends into the 12th Street Tunnel, before which the highway receives a ramp from Independence Avenue. The 12th Street Expressway passes under the National Mall and then ascends to the west of the National Museum of Natural History to its terminus at the intersection of Constitution Avenue and 12th Street Northwest.[21]


  1. ^ a b Starks, Edward (January 27, 2022). "Table 2: Auxiliary Routes of the Dwight D. Eisenhower National System of Interstate and Defense Highways". FHWA Route Log and Finder List. Federal Highway Administration. Retrieved January 14, 2023.
  2. ^ Kozel, Scott M. (March 1, 2004). "Virginia Freeway HOV Lanes". Roads to the Future. Retrieved October 5, 2014.
  3. ^ 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.
  4. ^ London, John (September 7, 1949). "Shirley Road Saves Time, Test Reveals". The Washington Post. p. B1. ProQuest 152105125.
  5. ^ a b c Johnston, Louis; Williamson, Samuel H. (2023). "What Was the U.S. GDP Then?". MeasuringWorth. Retrieved November 30, 2023. United States Gross Domestic Product deflator figures follow the MeasuringWorth series.
  6. ^ 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.
  7. ^ Lazo, Luz (June 23, 2015). "Major work for Capitol Crossing project is set to begin on I-395". The Washington Post. Retrieved August 21, 2016.
  8. ^ Virginia Department of Transportation (July 25, 2017). "I-395 Express Lanes Extension". Virginia Department of Transportation. Retrieved July 30, 2017.
  9. ^ Virginia Department of Transportation (2016). "I-395 Express Lanes Northern Extension" (PDF). Virginia Department of Transportation. pp. 7, 16–17. Retrieved July 30, 2017.
  10. ^ Smith, Max (November 4, 2019). "Transurban: I-395 tolling will start Nov. 17 in Northern Va. - WTOP News". WTOP News. Retrieved November 27, 2022.
  11. ^ a b "Opening date of 395 Express Lanes now set for Nov. 17". Washington Post. 2019-11-04. ISSN 0190-8286. Retrieved 2022-11-27.
  12. ^ "Express Lanes on I-395 Open". Alexandria Living Magazine. November 17, 2019. Retrieved November 27, 2022.
  13. ^ Dildine, Dave (January 11, 2021). "Move over, I-395: Southeast Freeway, 3rd Street Tunnel to be renumbered". Washington, DC: WTOP-FM.
  14. ^ Dildine, Dave (July 7, 2021). "EXCLUSIVE: Feds sign off on biggest DC interstate renumbering in decades". Washington, DC: WTOP-FM.
  15. ^ Dildine, Dave (June 25, 2015). "DDOT details area's structurally deficient bridges". WTOP. Retrieved September 1, 2015.
  16. ^ Drain, Aja (13 April 2023). "DC's 14th Street Bridge To Get Overhaul Thanks To Federal Grant". DCist. Retrieved 26 April 2023.
  17. ^ a b Google (December 26, 2013). "Interstate 395 in Washington, D.C." (Map). Google Maps. Google. Retrieved December 26, 2013.
  18. ^ Google (December 26, 2013). "Interstate 395 in Virginia" (Map). Google Maps. Google. Retrieved December 26, 2013.
  19. ^ Virginia Department of Transportation (October 14, 2012). "Virginia Interstate Exits: I-395". Virginia Department of Transportation. Retrieved August 21, 2016.
  20. ^ a b Google (December 4, 2016). "9th Street Expressway" (Map). Google Maps. Google. Retrieved December 4, 2016.
  21. ^ a b Google (December 4, 2016). "12th Street Expressway" (Map). Google Maps. Google. Retrieved December 4, 2016.

External links