Redundant ramp to close on I-395

Traffic is bumper to bumper south-bound on I-395 headed out of Washington before the Thanksgiving holiday, Tuesday, Nov. 20, 2012, in Alexandria, Va. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)(AP/Alex Brandon)
The second slip ramp from the southbound I-395 HOV lanes toward the main lanes near the Pentagon will be permanently closed. The ramp is located near Route 1, which is not pictured. (Courtesy VDOT)

A redundant ramp along Interstate 395 will be permanently closed as work to convert the High Occupancy Vehicle lanes into E-ZPass Only lanes moves forward.

The second ramp that carries southbound traffic from the I-395 HOV lanes into the main lanes near the Pentagon will be permanently eliminated this weekend. The HOV lanes will be closed this weekend for construction but are expected to reopen by late Sunday.

By Monday, the southbound slip ramp near Boundary Channel Drive will become the one and only way southbound drivers leaving Washington will be able to transition into the main lanes.

The change primarily affects drivers beyond the 14th Street Bridge who do not qualify for HOV status during the afternoon commute. Carpools with three or more occupants will continue driving southbound as usual. During the morning rush hour, southbound traffic is forced to exit the dual set of HOV lanes since the reversible facility is only open to northbound traffic.

The slip ramp near Boundary Channel Drive places drivers who are exiting the HOV lanes into the main lanes about 1,000 feet from a left exit toward U.S. Route 1 in Crystal City.

“Lots of accidents today happen in this area as traffic merges back onto those regular lanes from this ramp and also competes with traffic trying to enter the southbound HOV lanes coming out of the Pentagon,” said Mike McGurk with Transurban, the operator of the facility.

The on and off ramps at Eads Street, in addition to the Rotary Road around the Pentagon South Parking Lot, are being modified in conjunction with the express lanes construction. A new bus loop, slugging area and revamped parking lot opened last week.

“Closing the ramp will also allow us to deliver a better experience for drivers when the 395 Express Lanes open by providing direct access to the Pentagon and to Pentagon City in the morning and afternoon commutes,” McGurk said.

The ramp near Boundary Channel Drive will become the northern extent of tolling when the lanes open as an E-ZPass Only facility this fall.

Dave Dildine

A native to the Washington area, Dave Dildine is no stranger to the region's complex traffic and weather patterns. Dave joined WTOP in 2010 when the station launched its very own in-house traffic service. You can hear him "on the 8s and when it breaks" from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m. on weekdays.

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