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Major Highway Improvement Today

Travelers heading south onto I-95 from the Capital Beltway's outer loop should find the new highway ramp open this morning at the Springfield interchange .

The project's managers have been anxious to get the thing open, because the new, easier merge represents one of the final big improvements in the eight-year reconstruction of the massive interchange. Plans to open the ramp were set back several times by the fall weather -- too cool or wet for the new lane paint to stick to the pavement.

For Local Traffic: The Virginia Department of Transportation says the old ramp that was going to remain open for local traffic to use Exit 169B/A (Old Keene Mill/Franconia Road) will close for about six months to allow for construction work in the local ramp area. The local ramp was to remain open until later December or January, but the work schedule has been moved up.

If you're heading to Springfield, says VDOT, take the new ramp to where you'll find a slip ramp on the right to reach Exit 169B/A. The only traffic you'll meet on the right as you take the slip ramp is the local traffic from I-395 South and from the inner loop

For Everybody: Slow down so you can get familiar with the new traffic pattern. And long-distance drivers, pay attention, because you will no longer be able to ease back onto I-95 farther south if you accidentally take the wrong ramp. There will be new barriers to prevent such lane shifts. Here's a link to a map and directions provided by VDOT.

The benefit for everyone is that getting through this area won't involve the bobbing and weaving we had to do for so many years.

By Robert Thomson  |  December 15, 2006; 5:00 AM ET
Categories:  Springfield Interchange  
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I drove through it this morning. As usual, there were the people who can't read simple signs who were slowing to a stop to re-orient themselves -- what a thrill. It didn't help that the sun was in everyone's eyes.

People, be careful out there!!

Posted by: Gene Barnes | December 15, 2006 9:09 AM | Report abuse

This opening is almost worth taking a lawn chair out to the side of the Outer Loop! I'll bet that 40% of the southbound traffic misses the ramp and has to go to Van Dorn or Eisenhower to turn around. The idiots trying to back up on the shoulder to re-try the approach should be amusing, too!

Posted by: jaded native | December 15, 2006 9:56 AM | Report abuse

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