STAFFORD COUNTY, Va. (WWBT) - I-95 has reopened near Fredericksburg. following construction work over the weekend.
The Virginia Department of Transportation is urging drivers to avoid northbound I-95 this weekend as construction gets underway on a new overpass of Route 17.
“Lane closures are needed for 18 consecutive hours of paving, lane striping and preparation to finish building the transition point for drivers to enter three temporary travel lanes for I-95 northbound in the median,” VDOT said in a news release.
The overpass project in Stafford County is expected to last 12 months. Both the northbound and southbound bridges are being replaced.
“To build the new overpass, all I-95 northbound traffic will be diverted to travel in temporary lanes in the median, parallel to the interstate,” VDOT said.
The work on Sept. 21 and 22 is “the final step before the temporary lanes open.”
Beginning at 4 p.m. on Saturday, I-95 northbound will be reduced to two lanes near the Rappahannock River bridge, which is between the City of Fredericksburg and Stafford County.
I-95 northbound will be reduced to a single lane at 5 p.m. Saturday. The northbound exit ramp and entrance ramp at Exit 133, also known as a collector-distributor lane, will remain open. It will serve as a second northbound travel lane.
At 8:30 p.m., traffic will use the exit lane to get around the work zone and will be directed back into regular lanes without having to leave the highway.
Drivers will not be able to use the regular three travel lanes during that time.
Between 8:30 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. Sunday, northbound I-95 traffic can exit to Route 17, but Route 17 traffic cannot use the entrance ramps to access I-95 northbound. Detour signs for local traffic on Route 17 will be directed to use Route 1 northbound and Exit 136 (Centreport Parkway) to access I-95 northbound.
I-95 southbound will remain open. All I-95 southbound ramps at Exit 133 at Route 17 will remain open.
Why shut the lanes down on a busy Saturday?
VDOT Project Manager Robert Ridgell says crews are trying to avoid the weekday morning and evening rush.
“In order to do the work we are doing we have to have an 18-hour continuous window to put down the asphalt. Otherwise we would have unsafe drop-offs between lanes,” Ridgell said.
The $132,000,000 should be done Sunday morning and lanes should reopen at 10.
That’s just one small part of a much bigger project.
Crews are working to expand the highway and add lanes in hopes of to cut down traffic.
“This particular area, particularly the southbound side of I-95 has been identified as one of the worse bottlenecks in the country on interstate. Doing the southbound project will eliminate capacity and add additional capacity here with an additional crossing over the Rappahannock,” Ridgell said.
Real-time updates on this work zone, lane closures and congestion will be available on 511Virginia.
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