1941 - President Franklin D. Roosevelt appoints a committee to evaluate the need for a national highway system.

Looking Back

Harry Lee has been an engineer for VDOT since the beginning of the I-95 project. Click on the audio icons throughout this timeline to hear audio commentary from Harry. / Photo by Becky Sell, The Free Lance-Star.

'Really congenial community'

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1944 - The committee recommends a highway network, and Congress approves one in its Federal-Aid Highway Act of 1944.

 

1956 - Congress sets design standards for highways and creates the Highway Trust Fund to support their construction.

Aug. 24, 1960 - The first local project on I95, including grading and bridge construction through Quantico, is advertised.

Construction of I-95 near Boswell's Corner in Stafford County, 12/9/60.

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March 15, 1961 Federal Highway Administration eliminates several planned interchanges, including one at State Route 208 (Courthouse Road) in Spotsylvania and one each at State Routes 627 (Mountain View Road) and 610 (Garrisonville Road) in Stafford.

 

July 21, 1961 - The State Route 610 interchange in Stafford is restored because of its nearness to Quantico.

Construction of the bridge over the Rappahannock River, 10/20/62.

November 1961 T.A. Loving & Co. of Goldsboro, N.C., is awarded a $1.27 million contract to build twin bridges across the Rappahannock River for I95.

May 23, 1962 - Contractors break ground on the last section of I95 between Woodbridge and Richmond, a piece near State Route 630 (Courthouse Road) in Stafford.

 

Aug. 9, 1963 - Highway bridges over the Rappahannock River are completed 20 days ahead of schedule. Final cost: $1.4 million.

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The Massaponax exit, one month before opening, June 8, 1964.

Looking Back

'I don't think I realized how massive it was.'

Harry Lee talks about the beginning stages of designing I-95.

July 16, 1964 - The 35-mile segment between Ashland and Massaponax Creek opens. The cost: $50 million.

The area "is entering a new era of safety and convenience and driving pleasure," State Highway Commissioner Douglas Fugate says at the ribbon-cutting.

 

Oct. 31, 1964 - A 12-mile section from the Stafford/Prince William line up to Woodbridge opens.

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Dec. 18, 1964 - The four-lane, 20-mile piece of I95 between Massaponax and Triangle opens. The ceremony features the Stafford High School band, a group dressed up as famous colonial Fredericksburg residents and Miss I95 Patsi Butler, a James Monroe High School student. Speeches are kept short due to the extreme cold.

The opening ceremony, 12/18/1964.

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Dec. 22, 1964 - City Manager F. Freeman Funk tells a news reporter that holiday traffic is flowing well on the new highway. I was mighty thankful it wasnt coming down Jefferson Davis Boulevard, he says.

 

Feb. 26, 1965 - I95 is carrying just over 9,100 cars a day around the city. Traffic on U.S. 1 near Four Mile Fork has dropped about 55 percent since the highway opened. Traffic near the Falmouth Intersection drops between 30 percent and 40 percent.

Looking Back

'It really wasn't that safe'

Harry Lee: U.S. 1 was dangerous stretch of highway before I-95.

Dec. 19, 1966 - Officials say I95 is safer than U.S. 1 ever was. Between 1962 and 1965, traffic volume along the I95/U.S. 1 corridor increased 73 percent, but the accident rate dropped 49 percent, injury rate dropped 47 percent and the death rate dropped 46 percent.

May 1972 - Traffic on I95 is growing at a rate faster than predicted. Engineers expected 29,500 cars a day would use the highway between U.S. 17 and Quantico by 1975. Already, that number is up to 33,000 cars a day.

 

Jan. 3, 1976 - The state awards a $1.41 million contract to widen I95 to three lanes on each side from the Occoquan River to Woodbridge. Ultimately, it plans to widen the highway to six lanes from D.C. to Triangle.

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July 1977 - Shirley Highway in Northern Virginia is renamed Interstate 395.

Looking Back

'It was never intended to be a commuter highway.'

Harry Lee talks about the original purpose of the interstate highway system.

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Nov. 7, 1977 Estimates show that widening I95 from Triangle to Ashland will cost around $95 million.

  November 1980 - Widening begins in North Stafford and Upper Caroline. Both projects will cost about $15 million

Nov. 8, 1981 - "It's certainly not a pleasant drive between here [Richmond] and Washington. It's one that you've got to be careful with," Stokes Grymes, spokesman for the Automobile Club of Virginia, tells the Times-Dispatch.

Looking ahead

'How are we gonna accommodate this traffic?'

Harry Lee talks about the challenges VDOT faces by a steady increase in traffic.

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April 1983-June 1985 - Plans approved to upgrade the U.S. 17 interchange and widen parts of I95 in Caroline, Spotsylvania, Fredericksburg and Stafford.

 

December 1985 - State Highway Department converts the northbound shoulders of I95 from Springfield to Woodbridge into commuter lanes during rush hours. It does the same with the southbound shoulder in June 1986.

Oct. 22, 1987 - The last section of the newly widened I95, from Thornburg to Massaponax, opens. The cost of six-laning the highway comes to $171 million. Now, 40,000 cars a day come through the Fredericksburg area.

Looking ahead

'I hear "Build it and they will come,"...the fact of the matter is, we have to build it because they're already here.

Harry Lee discusses growth.

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June 1989 - Construction on HOV lanes from Springfield to Quantico Creek (19 miles) begins. The project is estimated to cost $200 million. VDOT discusses a need to widen I95 to eight lanes.

 

December 1989 - After six years of delay, work begins on a $27 million upgraded interchange at State Route 610 in North Stafford.

June 1990 - Stafford submits a proposal to state and federal authorities for an interchange at State Route 627. The estimated cost is $10 million, and the county hopes to open it by 1995.

Were not talking 10 years. Were talking much nearer-term, says assistant county administrator Richard Noble.

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December 1991 - Shoulder lanes, which have been open to commuters between Springfield and Woodbridge during rush hour for five years, open 24/7 to reduce congestion.

 

February 1997 - HOV lanes open in Dumfries after eight years of construction. The $285-million project gives drivers 30 miles of HOV lanes from Prince William to D.C.

April 1999 - Work on the Springfield Interchange begins. The estimated cost is $350 million.

The Mixing Bowl at the Springfield interchange in April 2001. This view of Phase 2 and 3 looks south from above Commerce Street towards Newington. / Robert A. Martin, The Free Lance-Star

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Jan. 5, 2000 - VDOT launches Web site that allows commuters to view video and highway conditions on I95 as well as Interstates 66, 395 and 495.

 

June 2000 - VDOT updates cost of the Springfield Interchange to $509 million.

October 2000Price tag for Springfield Interchange rises to $567.4 million.

During a snowstorm on Feb. 22, 2001, a 117-vehicle pileup shut down I-95 for hours. Victoria Dickerson is helped through a gauntlet of wrecked and burned vehicles by Stafford firefighter Billy Kelly. / Robert A. Martin, The Free Lance-Star

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Feb. 22, 2001 - A 117-car accident in North Stafford triggers 33 wrecks along snow-covered I95, shutting the road down between Massaponax and Prince William for almost 10 hours. The pile-up, in which one woman dies, is tied for the worst wreck in U.S. history.

 

April 24, 2001 - The Springfield Interchange is now estimated to cost $585 million.

March 2002 - Scratch that. The price tag is now $676.5 million.

May 2002Work on the State Route 627 interchange in Stafford begins. The $49.2 million project is slated to be complete in July 2005.

The interchange at State Route 627 in Stafford, under construction in September 2004. / Alex Russell, fredericksburg.com

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2002 - Traffic counts for this year show that as many as 140,000 cars a day travel parts of I95 in the Fredericksburg region.

 

February 2003 - Contractors associated with the Stafford Marketplace development start reconfiguring the interchange at State Route 610 so drivers exiting west bound can reach the far left lanes. The $2 million project is paid for by developer Pence-Friedel.

September 2003 - A consortium of three firmsKoch Perfor mance Roads, Clark Construction Group and Shirley Contracting Co.proposes building HOT lanes on I95 to U.S. 17 in Stafford.

Steelworkers bolt down a 200-ton girder almost a football field in length in August 2003. The beam will support the offramp for the Capital Beltway at the Springfield interchange. Interstate 95 at the Washington Beltway was closed as 600-tons of steel were hoisted into place on piers towering 100-feet above the highway./ Robert A. Martin, The Free Lance-Star

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March 2004 - Fluor Virginia and six other partners propose building HOT lanes down to Massaponax. VDOT is reviewing both proposals.

 

May 19, 2004 - A $31 million bridge from westbound I495 to southbound I95 opens as part of the Springfield Interchange project.

I-95 in Northern Virginia has come a long way from the 'rural highway' transportation planners envisioned back in the '50s. / Becky Sell, The Free Lance-Star

Looking Ahead

'It's opened up the world to us.'

July 2004 - A committee of state transportation officials issues the VTrans2025 report, which predicts that all of I95 in the Fredericksburg and Northern Virginia regions will be impassable by 2025.

 

Dec. 18, 2004 - I95 in this region celebrates 40 years of existence.

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