Hidden in Plain Sight – Interstate 695

This is really a follow-up to Monday’s post about the opening of the new inbound 11th Street Freeway Bridge. We haven’t heard any complaints about the new bridge (thankfully) but there does seem to be some traffic-stopping confusion (not literally) about new signs posted on the approach to the new bridge and on the span itself. In fact, some folks think we made a glaring – and very visible – mistake on the signage.

New Sign on New Inbound 11th Street Bridge

The signs say “Interstate 695 to Interstate 395 Capitol Hill.” Only problem is there is no I-695 in the District, right? Maybe – some speculate – the signs are referring to the Baltimore Beltway which is also I-695.

Opening of the Inbound Freeway Bridge

Well, actually, there is an I-695 in DC and there has been on for a long time. But while residents and commuters are intimately familiar with I-295 and I-395, you can’t blame them for not knowing where I-695 is located; as far as we can tell it was not previously signed although it was shown on some maps. I-695 has been the designation for a portion of the Southeast/Southwest Freeway, beginning where I-395 enters the Third Street Tunnel and extending to the northern side of the 11th Street Bridge, a grand total of 1.4 miles.

Map Showing New Limits of I-695

In conjunction with the construction of the new 11th Street Bridges, DDOT requested and received approval to extend I-695 across the Anacostia River where it now terminates at the interchange with I-295 and DC 295. I-695 is now a full 2 miles long with mile marker zero located at the junction with I-395. And I-695 is now signed. The map above shows the new limits of I-695 highlighted in green.

There is a method to our madness – we promise – but if you’re still confused maybe Mike DeBonis of the Post or WTOP’s Adam Tuss can provide more clarity.

If only they had signed I-695 way back when the SE/SW Freeway was completed.

Construction of SE/SW Freeway in 1972

Now, who knows where to find the Dwight D. Eisenhower Freeway? Is it signed?

John Lisle
Communications Director

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3 Responses to Hidden in Plain Sight – Interstate 695

  1. OK, I give up! Where is the Eisenhower Freeway in DC?

  2. I can’t remember where, but I have seen it signed as the Eisenhower Freeway.

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