Noticeable relief is coming as early as this weekend for U.S. 1 drivers heading for the Wilson Bridge and Outer Loop Beltway on Interstate 95 in Virginia.
According to a press release from the state Department of Transportation, on or about Saturday, March 11, a new ramp from southbound U.S. 1 – sometimes referred as “Route 1” – in Old Town Alexandria, VA, to the Outer Loop will open to traffic, helping to fix U.S. 1’s severely congested access to the Outer Loop of the Beltway.
“This is a major transportation improvement for Route 1 drivers who, for years, have endured chronic gridlock when they access the Beltway heading into Maryland,” said Ronaldo T. Nicholson, Virginia DOT project manager, in a statement. “By significantly separating the entry points to the Beltway for southbound and northbound Route 1, the new ramp eliminates a difficult and abrupt merge condition which consistently caused backups and contributed to accidents on Route 1, as well as the Beltway.”
The new southbound U.S. 1 to Outer Loop ramp is an elevated ramp west of the existing ramp. It joins the Beltway about 600 feet earlier than the previous ramp and is about 1,500 feet longer, providing capacity to hold an additional 60 vehicles at any given time.
As a measure of the anticipated benefit to drivers, traffic modeling indicates up to a 25 percent reduction in travel time for northbound U.S. 1 to Outer Loop drivers during the afternoon peak hours. Motorists on this ramp will gain a dedicated acceleration lane onto the Outer Loop, which will eliminate the current “no merge” condition.
To implement the ramp opening, drivers are advised that the existing ramps for both southbound and northbound U.S. 1 to the Outer Loop will be closed from about 7 a.m. to 5 p.m., EST, Saturday. Drivers may access the Outer Loop by following a signed detour to the Telegraph Road interchange via Huntington Avenue. In addition, the right lane on the Outer Loop between U.S. 1 and Washington Street will be closed during this time. Project actions are subject to weather conditions and may change.
During the coming weeks and months, motorists should expect periodic, temporary nighttime lane closures in both directions of U.S. 1 and the Beltway as workers demolish the existing U.S. 1 South to Outer Loop ramp. Drivers should look for current information on roadway message signs and the Web site wilsonbridge.com.