Federally-funded effort redesigned I-95 entrance and exit ramps to reduce vehicle merging, weaving and crash risk at Exit 130 interchange
FREDERICKSBURG, Va. – Construction is complete one month ahead of schedule on a federally-funded safety improvement project to reduce the risk of crashes and injuries at the Route 3 interchange (Exit 130) on Interstate 95 in Fredericksburg.
The $21 million Highway Safety Improvement Program (HSIP) project aims to reduce vehicle merging and weaving at the entrance and exit points to I-95 at Route 3.
The interchange is one of the busiest in the Fredericksburg region, where 150,000 vehicles traveling daily on Interstate 95 overlap with 84,000 vehicles a day traveling on Route 3.
After reviewing the I-95 corridor for spot safety improvements, the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) determined the Route 3 interchange in Fredericksburg had a crash rate above the statewide average. This project was designed to lower the risk by eliminating potential conflict points where Route 3 and I-95 vehicles would make competing maneuvers.
“Making any change at such a busy interchange is always disruptive, and we are grateful for the community’s support and patience during construction,” said Marcie Parker, VDOT Fredericksburg District Administrator. “I want to thank everyone who drove carefully through this work zone, and helped us deliver a better interchange design that should make it easier, and most importantly, safer, to travel on and off the interstate at Route 3.”
Benefits to drivers include a new traffic pattern at the end of the I-95 southbound exit ramp to Route 3 westbound. Drivers can use a dedicated lane to enter the Central Park shopping area at Carl D. Silver Parkway, or choose to enter triple right-turn lanes to proceed on Route 3 westbound at a new traffic signal.
“We appreciate VDOT’s attention to the congestion issues that have plagued this area,” said Fredericksburg Mayor Mary Katherine Greenlaw. “They figured out how to address several challenging problems and then implemented the necessary work as quickly as possible. They also took great care to keep the travelling public informed, ensuring that the construction phase of this safety project itself remained as safe as possible. They are true professionals.”
For Route 3 eastbound traffic entering I-95 northbound, a cloverleaf on-ramp with a short acceleration lane was closed. Instead, drivers now use triple left turn lanes at a new traffic signal. A longer acceleration ramp provides more room for motorists to safely merge into traffic at interstate speeds.
Fresh I-95 and Route 3 shield symbols were installed on the pavement for traffic exiting the Central Park shopping area to help drivers properly align with the ideal lane for entering I-95 northbound, or proceeding on Route 3 eastbound. These color symbols are intended to reduce last-minute merging and weaving among drivers just prior to entering an interstate ramp.
The Commonwealth Transportation Board awarded a contract worth approximately $18.2 million to Branch Civil, Inc. of Manassas in February 2017 to build the I-95 Safety Improvements Project at Route 3. Branch Civil is finishing the project one month ahead of the January 2019 scheduled completion date.
Changes to the Route 3 interchange will complement a separate project underway to build three additional I-95 southbound lanes between the Route 17 interchange in Stafford County and Route 3 in Fredericksburg. New southbound lanes for the I-95 Southbound Rappahannock River Crossing project will open to traffic in May 2022.
More information on I-95 projects under construction or planned to be underway in the Fredericksburg region by 2024 can be found online at improve95.org.