I-95 bridge over Rappahannock River aims to smooth commute in Fredericksburg

By Thursday morning, days before the busy Thanksgiving travel season, a second northbound bridge span will be carrying Interstate 95 traffic over the Rappahannock River, with the goal of easing congestion near Fredericksburg, Virginia.

Starting early Thursday, the Virginia Department of Transportation said one bridge will carry I-95 through-traffic, while the other bridge will carry local traffic to Exit 133, which is Route 17, toward Warrenton and Falmouth.

Click to watch VDOT’s simulation of the new northbound traffic pattern.

Drivers traveling northbound will need to make their lane decisions earlier with the pattern changes.

Motorists who plan to exit at Exit 133 — Route 17 — will need to stay right, soon after Exit 130 near Fall Hill Avenue, to join the local lanes.

Drivers planning to continue on I-95 north, or use 95 Express Lanes North, should stay on the left to remain on I-95, bypassing Exit 133.

Earlier construction on I-95 created separate local and through travel lanes for southbound I-95.

Construction on the northbound project is expected to be finished by spring 2024.

When the five-year, $264 million project in the Fredericksburg area is completed, there will be a total of 12 lanes of I-95 spanning the river.

According to VDOT, nearly 150,000 vehicles per day travel along I-95 in the Fredericksburg region.

Expect traffic delays Tuesday and Wednesday evenings

Northbound I-95 travelers can anticipate evening delays beginning Tuesday to move traffic into the new pattern, VDOT said.

I-95 will be reduced to a single lane starting before exit 130 (Route 3) and continuing north through the exit 133 interchange area between 8 p.m. Tuesday and 4:30 a.m. Wednesday, according to VDOT’s website.

The next night, Wednesday into Thursday, I-95 will be reduced to two lanes starting before exit 130 (Route 3) and continuing north to the Cowan Boulevard overpass.

Weather permitting, VDOT expects that by 4:30 a.m. on Thursday, all six northbound lanes across the river will be open to traffic.

Neal Augenstein

Neal Augenstein has been a reporter at WTOP since 1997. Through the years, Neal has covered many of the crimes and trials that have gripped the region. Neal's been pleased to receive awards over the years for hard news, feature reporting, use of sound and sports.

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