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Traffic Alert: All Lanes Opened on WB I-295 in Southeast

All lanes are open on westbound I-295 near the U.S. Capitol after an accident that closed four lanes. Traffic is still slow off the 11th St. Bridge.

By Washington Post Editors  |  June 12, 2009; 9:18 AM ET
Categories:  Advisories  
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I always think of 295 as North/South. Which way is westbound?

Posted by: Cosmo06 | June 12, 2009 10:08 AM | Report abuse

What they really should have said is the westbound SE/SW Freeway, which is un-numbered on the signs and is I-695 according to Federal Highway Administration. The signs just say "to I-395" (wb) and "to I-295" (eb), so many mistakenly believe the road is either part of I-395 or I-295 when it is not.

Posted by: thetan | June 12, 2009 12:02 PM | Report abuse

Thanks. My assumption had been that I-295 runs north from the Wilson Bridge to the 11th Street Bridge exit (beyond which it continues as DC-295 to the B-W Parkway, MD-295). I got out my AAA map and it has I-295 going over the 11th Street Bridge and continuing on the SE/SW Freeway as you said, where apparently it ends at the point where I-395 becomes part of the freeway. I agree that saying the westbound SE/SW Freeway after the bridge would have been clearer. 295 should be N/S in any case.

Posted by: Cosmo06 | June 12, 2009 3:31 PM | Report abuse

Exactly. Southeast Freeway and Southwest Freeway are univerally understood by all who live here. So the "I-295" referenced above refers to the Southeast Freeway (and I guess technically a very tiny portion of the Southwest Freeway, since I-395 joins the Southwest Freeway at 3rd Street SW, whereas the Freeway crosses the quadrant boundary 3 blocks back at South Capitol Street).

The way the numbering works is as follows:

I-395 is the Southwest Freeway to the 3rd Street Tunnel, and then the Third Street Tunnel and accompanying freeway up to NY Avenue.

I-295 is from the Wilson Bridge (actually, MD 210) to the exit for the 11th Street Bridges, where 295 then turns into a District route and continues as DC 295 and MD 295 up to Baltimore (although the National Park Service maintained segment of the parkway does not have 295 signs on it, the MD SHA maintained part between Baltimore and MD 175, as well as US 50 and the DC line is part of MD 295).

I-695, which is a secret, hidden, legislative route only is the tiny segment of the SW Freeway from the 3rd Street exit to where it changes to the SE Freeway at South Capitol Street, then the SE Freeway to the exit for the 11th Street Bridges, then over the 11th Street Bridges where it ends at I-295.

The SE Freeway from the 11th Street Bridge exit to the dead-end at Pennsylvania Avenue is simply just the SE Freeway, and is not part of the Interstate highway system. Plans are to possibly demolish this road, once the two "missing ramps" at the 11th Street Bridge/295 interchange are completed, so through traffic heading north will use the 11th Street Bridge instead of the Pennsylvania Ave. Bridge (Sousa Bridge). Traffic wanting Pennsylvania Ave east of DC 295 can take the 11th Street Bridge to DC 295 to the Pennsylvania Ave exit. But I don't believe it is officially part of the plans yet to demolish this freeway segment, but just a future possibility.

Posted by: thetan | June 12, 2009 3:45 PM | Report abuse

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