Variable speed limits on northbound I-95 in Virginia start Thursday

Here’s a heads up if you’ll be traveling on northbound Interstate 95 Thursday: New LED signs that can show varying speed limits will be lit up in some areas.

Specifically, they’ll be in Caroline and Spotsylvania counties and in the City of Fredericksburg.



The Virginia Department of Transportation said new variable and message signs will replace the static signs over a 15-mile stretch between Exit 110 (Ladysmith) and Exit 130 (Route 3/Fredericksburg), from mile markers 115 to 130.

The signs themselves can be seen every half mile.

VDOT said they’ll only show the maximum of 65 mph to 70 mph for the first few days. Starting on Wednesday, June 22, the system will be fully activated to display variable speed limits between 35 mph and 70 mph.

The idea is to have drivers adjust their speed in the area based on real-time conditions. Slowing traffic as it nears congestion will make travel safer by reducing the risk of crashes and stop-and-go backups, according to VDOT.

“When we studied the I-95 corridor to identify areas for operational improvements, we found recurring congestion was contributing to crashes and driver delay at this location, especially on weekends and during holidays,” said Mena Lockwood, assistant state traffic engineer for VDOT.

“Northbound motorists approaching this area are often surprised by a sudden slowdown in traffic, and brake sharply. By installing this variable speed limit system here, we can lower vehicle speeds before travelers reach the point of congestion. This reduces the risk of crashes and resulting injuries, and it maximizes our ability to keep traffic moving.”

Beacons on top of the signs will flash when speed limits are reduced below the maximum.

More information is available online.

Will Vitka

William Vitka is a Digital Editor and reporter for WTOP.com. He's been in the news industry for over a decade. Before joining WTOP, he worked for CBS News, Stuff Magazine, The New York Post and wrote a variety of books—about a dozen of them, with more to come.

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