Improvement at Springfield on Wednesday
Some of our bigger projects are so complex and long lasting that we're stunned when told we can actually drive on them. I feel that way about the plan to open an important new ramp at the Springfield Interchange on Wednesday morning.
While it's a fragment of the total project -- which is one of the largest public works under construction in the nation -- it has my attention because the new ramp is designed to ease what I always saw as one of the interchange's main hazards: the need to merge left across several lanes to head south on I-95.
The Virginia Department of Transportation plans to open Exit 57A from the Capital Beltway's outer loop to I-95 South by 10:30 a.m. Wednesday, weather permitting. The ramp has two lanes, but only one would be opened at that hour, to allow space for the final work on lane markings. That work is likely to slow traffic on the first day. The other lane is scheduled to open by 3:30 p.m.
It's going to take some getting used to. The two ramp lanes from the Beltway will join up with the two southbound lanes of I-395, from Washington. After about a third of a mile, the right lane falls away, leaving three southbound lanes. These three lanes meet up with two lanes on the left carrying traffic from the Beltway's inner loop.
Here's a special caution: With the opening of the new ramp, you will no longer be able to use those local lanes on the right to connect with I-95 S a little south of the big merge.
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