Interstate 695 (District of Columbia)

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Interstate 695

Southeast Freeway
I-695 highlighted in red
Route information
Maintained by DDOT
Length2 mi[1] (3.2 km)
NHSEntire route
Major junctions
West end I-395 in Washington, DC
East end I-295 / DC 295 in Washington, DC
CountryUnited States
Federal districtDistrict of Columbia
Highway system
I-495 US 1

Interstate 695 (I-695) is a two-mile-long (3.2 km) auxiliary Interstate Highway in Washington DC.[1] It is also known as the Southeast Freeway. It travels from an interchange with I-395 south of the US Capitol building east then south across the 11th Street Bridges to an intersection with I-295 and District of Columbia Route 295 (DC 295) in Anacostia.

Access also exists from eastbound I-695 to Pennsylvania Avenue at Barney Circle, just northwest of the John Philip Sousa Bridge. Stub ramps at Pennsylvania Avenue, once meant to continue the freeway (as part of I-295) to I-95 and US Route 50 (US 50) northeast of Washington Union Station, now provide access to Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Stadium.

Though the I-695 designation has existed since near the birth of the Interstate Highway System, the route was only signed in late 2011 along with the 11th Street Bridges reconstruction project. The route is planned to be decommissioned in favor of an extension of I-395, but the resigning work is yet to commence as of January 2023.

Route description

I-695 eastbound at exit 1C
View east at the west end of I-695

I-695 begins at an interchange with I-395, following through the densely populated areas of Washington DC. The road comes to an interchange with South Capitol Street, providing access to the Nationals Park baseball stadium. It then continues east, passing over 6th Street Southeast. The Interstate comes to another interchange, providing access to I-395 north (westbound only) and 11th Street and Southeast Boulevard (eastbound). It then proceeds to cross the 11th Street Bridges over the Anacostia River before reaching its terminus at I-295 and DC 295.


Plans from 1955 (numbered in 1958) took I-95 through Washington on what is now I-395, turning east at US 50 and leaving along the Baltimore–Washington Parkway. I-295 was to travel along its current route to south of the 11th Street Bridges, but then would have continued northeast along DC 295, ending at I-95 just outside DC. I-695 was to travel from I-295 over the 11th Street Bridges, turning west on what is now I-695 to end at I-95 (now I-395).

Soon—possibly by 1958, when numbers were assigned—I-95 between Baltimore, Maryland, and Washington DC was shifted to a new alignment, splitting from the US 50 corridor northeast of Washington Union Station. I-295 was shifted to cross the 11th Street Bridges and then turn east in the median of present I-695 (where the ramps to Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Stadium now lie), continuing north and northwest to end at I-95 and US 50 at their split. I-695 would be the short section of freeway between I-95 and I-295, and ramps on both sides of the Whitney Young Memorial Bridge would provide a freeway-to-freeway connection between I-695 and DC 295 (via I-295).

By 1971, an extension was added to the planned I-695. It would travel concurrent with I-95 west to Maine Avenue, where it would split (the existing interchange provides for freeway-to-freeway ramps) and run northwest along Independence Avenue past the Lincoln Memorial to end at I-66, at the east end of the Theodore Roosevelt Bridge (that interchange also has the appropriate ramps).

The Southeast Freeway, including the section planned as I-295 to Pennsylvania Avenue, was built in the late 1960s. Plans for the remaining Interstates in Washington DC were canceled in 1977 after much opposition, and I-295 was later truncated to I-695, with the former I-295 stub to Pennsylvania Avenue renumbered as part of I-695.

In the 1990s, the Barney Circle Freeway was planned to travel from the east end of I-695 across the Anacostia River to DC 295. This would have filled a hole in Washington DC's freeway system, which had no connection between I-395 and DC 295. (This would have been provided by I-295 and the Whitney Young Memorial Bridge.) After the Barney Circle Freeway plan was canceled in 1996, a left-turn movement was added at the interchange between Pennsylvania Avenue and DC 295, allowing traffic coming from I-695 to cross the Anacostia on Pennsylvania Avenue and join DC 295 directly, albeit passing through two traffic signals. No ramp was provided from DC 295 south to Pennsylvania Avenue west, however, and so traffic from DC 295 south to I-395 south needed to cross the Anacostia on South Capitol Street.

That decommissioning was foretold in April 2003, when the DC Office of Planning stated that "the elevated Southeast Freeway and industrial landscape create formidable psychological barriers" between the surrounding neighborhoods.[2] In October 2008, the freeway was named one of ten US "Freeways Without Futures" by Congress for the New Urbanism.[3]

In December 2009, construction began on replacement of the 11th Street Bridges and their interchange with I-295/DC 295, including ramps that now allow for highway-only travel between DC 295, I-295, and I-395 in all directions. The renderings for that project[4] also show a deletion of the connections between the bridge and I-695 east, indicating that the stretch of the Southeast Freeway between 11th Street Southeast and Pennsylvania Avenue would soon be decommissioned and replaced by an at-grade boulevard with traffic signals. In 2011, as a part of the project, I-695 was signed along the Southeast Freeway.[5]

Prior to the 11th Street Bridge Project, the unsigned I-695 did not cross the bridges and terminated north of the Anacostia River. New signage installed by the District Department of Transportation (DDOT) in 2011–2012 marks the first time I-695 has appeared on directional signs in the District of Columbia; some signs referring to I-695, however, still read "To I-295" along I-395, and some remaining "To I-395" signage can still be found along I-695 westbound. The new signs designate I-695 as extending from the point where I-395 branches off from the Southeast Freeway, with I-695 continuing along the Southeast Freeway and over the new 11th Street Bridge to the interchange with I-295.[6] Some commentators contend the new signage is confusing and that the Southeast Freeway is often confused with Baltimore's Beltway, a highway with the same route designation.[7]

In January 2021, as part of an effort to eliminate driver confusion in the area of the Southeast Freeway, the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials (AASHTO) approved a request by the District of Columbia to eliminate I-695 and renumber it as an extension of I-395. I-395's previous route along the Center Leg Freeway will be renumbered as a new I-195.[8] The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) approved the request of resigning I-695 as I-395 on April 23, 2021,[9] but no progress was made as of January 2023.

Exit list

The entire route is in Washington DC. Exits were unnumbered until July 2014.[10][11]

Southwest Federal Center
Southwest Waterfront line
I-395 north (3rd Street Tunnel)
Western terminus; exit 7 on I-395 south; future I-195
D Street SWWestbound exit and eastbound entrance

I-395 south – Richmond
Westbound exit and eastbound entrance; exit 5 on I-395 north
0.300.481ASouth Capitol Street – Nationals ParkEastbound exit and westbound entrance
Capitol Hill
Navy Yard line
0.901.451B6th Street SEEastbound exit and westbound entrance

To I-395 north – Baltimore
Westbound exit and entrance; access to far right lanes to avoid merging traffic from 6th Street SE; to future I-195
1.502.4111th Street SE / Southeast BoulevardEastbound exit and westbound entrance; opened July 2014
1.602.571D8th Street SEWestbound exit and eastbound entrance
Navy Yard1.802.902M Street SE – Navy YardWestbound exit and eastbound entrance
Anacostia River1.903.0611th Street Bridges

I-295 south to I-95 / I-495
Eastbound exit and westbound entrance; northern terminus of I-295; exit 5A on I-295

DC 295 north to US 50
Eastern terminus; southern terminus of DC 295; exits 1B-C on DC 295
1.000 mi = 1.609 km; 1.000 km = 0.621 mi


  1. ^ a b Adderly, Kevin (June 28, 2017). "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. Archived from the original on July 3, 2017. Retrieved January 16, 2018.
  2. ^ "Anacostia Waterfront Initiative Draft: Existing Conditions". Office of Planning. Archived from the original on August 21, 2007. Retrieved April 6, 2009.
  3. ^ Otterbein, Holly (October 29, 2008). "The Fallacy of Freeways". American Next City. Archived from the original on November 3, 2008. Retrieved January 14, 2023.
  4. ^ "Anacostia Waterfront Initiative" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on February 1, 2016.
  5. ^ DeBonis, Mike (November 28, 2011). "Interstate 695 reappears in D.C." The Washington Post. Retrieved December 8, 2011.
  6. ^ Thomson, Robert (January 9, 2012). "D.C.'s new 11th St. Bridge opening in phases". The Washington Post.
  7. ^ Thomson, Robert (22 August 2012). "'I-695' is still an unfamiliar sign on D.C. highways". The Washington Post. Retrieved 13 September 2014.
  8. ^ Dildine, Dave (11 January 2021). "Move over, I-395: Southeast Freeway, 3rd Street Tunnel to be renumbered". WTOP.
  9. ^ Dildine, Dave (7 July 2021). "EXCLUSIVE: Feds sign off on biggest DC interstate renumbering in decades". WTOP.
  10. ^ a b 11th Street Bridge Project: Eastbound I-695 Exit to 11th Street SE. Southeast, Washington, D.C.: DDOT. 2014. Retrieved September 8, 2014.
  11. ^ "Clinched Highway Mapping". Retrieved 5 October 2014.
  12. ^ Google (December 26, 2013). "Interstate 695" (Map). Google Maps. Google. Retrieved December 26, 2013.

External links