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I-95 Rappahannock River Crossing Project

Background

The 2009, the Virginia General Assembly adopted an Act to create the George Washington Toll Road Authority and to prescribe its powers and duties (Chapter 801 of the 2009 Acts of Assembly). The Authority encompasses the City of Fredericksburg and the counties of Spotsylvania and Stafford for the purposes of alleviating highway congestion, promoting highway safety, expanding highway construction, increasing the utility and benefits and extending the services of public highways, including bridges, tunnels and other highway facilities, both free and toll, and otherwise contributing to the welfare of the Commonwealth and the George Washington Region. The Authority is governed by a ten member board of directors. Three members are appointed from each of the original participating localities from among their elected officials, and one member is a designee of the Commissioner of the Virginia Department of Transportation.

The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) and Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) have conditionally approved an Interchange Justification Report (IJR) for the “Rest Area Access/Toll Road project.  The “Rest Area Access/Toll Road” project, as presented in the approved IJR, included improvements to the I-95 Interchange at Route 17 in Stafford County, increased capacity to I-95 to the south (including new capacity across the Rappahannock River), a new I-95 Interchange just north of the Welcome Center in Fredericksburg and a new arterial/toll road extending from the new Interchange, southwesterly to the intersection of Gordon Road and Route 3.

In addition to funds dedicated to the project by the Fredericksburg Area Metropolitan Planning Organization (FAMPO), the Commonwealth Transportation Board (CTB) had programmed nearly $15 million in federal and state funds to complete the “Preliminary Engineering” (PE) phase of the project, including preliminary design, environmental analysis and financial analysis.

The George Washington Toll Road Authority (GWTRA) had agreed to manage the project in accordance with an executed Locally-Administered Project Agreement with VDOT.  The name of the project had been changed to “I-95 Rappahannock River Crossing”. In January 2012, the Spotsylvania County Board of Supervisors voted to object to the toll road portion of the project, while supporting the I-95 proper improvements; therefore, the project had been divided into phases, with one phase being the new interchange and a new arterial/toll road to Route 3 at Gordon Road and the other phases being the I-95 proper improvements.  No work on the interchange and toll road beyond the Preliminary Engineering (PE) Phase would had been undertaken without the support of the Spotsylvania County Board of Supervisors.  The project agreement with VDOT would had been amended to take into account the project phasing that was adopted on March 5, 2012 with GWTRA Resolution No. 12-01.

At the May 7, 2012 GWTRA meeting, it was announced by the Commonwealth Transportation Board that the project will be shelved and the funding will be allocated to other state road projects.  The ongoing environmental work will be completed as required.

In September 2013, Virginia Secretary of Transportation Sean Connaughton asked VDOT to make a recommendation for congestion relief in the Fredericksburg area at Interstate 95, Route 17 and Route 3 near the Rappahannock River. Secretary Connaughton made this request at the September 17-18, 2013 CTB meeting and workshop held in Fredericksburg.

Before VDOT undertakes any project, it has to determine the project’s purpose and need. For this study, the purpose was to reduce congestion by identifying alternatives that improve traffic operations and assist the flow of commerce along I-95, Route 17 and Route 3. The need was identified as reducing current and future congestion in the I-95 corridor near Route 3 and Route 17, as well as reducing crashes, gridlock and a failing level of service for motorists.

VDOT’s recommendations were delivered at the December 4, 2013 Commonwealth Transportation Board meeting.

On June 24, 2015,  the Virginia Department of Transportation held a public hearing on the results of an environmental study for the proposed Rappahannock River Crossing project, which would add collector-distributor lanes and bridges parallel to Interstate 95 northbound and southbound between Exit 130 (Route 3) in Fredericksburg and Exit 133 (Route 17) in Stafford County.  The study covers such things as the project’s purpose and need, along with the impact it would have on the area.

The goal of the Rappahannock River Crossing is to improve I-95 congestion by providing local traffic with an additional route to travel between Route 17 and Route 3. The existing I-95 interchanges at Route 17 and Route 3 would also be modified.

The Rappahannock River Crossing project does not include the Rappahannock Parkway, which is a separate project. Consequently, this study will not include study of the proposed design concept for Rappahannock Parkway.

I-95 Rappahannock River Crossing Public Notice

In its most recent long-range plan, the Fredericksburg Area Metropolitan Planning Organization ranked the crossing as the area’s the second-most important road project. It will have to compete for funding in the state’s new prioritization program, which will rank certain projects to determine which ones get funding.

Local and state transportation officials expect the crossing project to score well in the new program.

The crossing would add collector-distributor lanes parallel to the general purpose lanes of I-95 between Route 17 in Stafford and Route 3 in Fredericksburg.

A draft Environmental Assessment (EA) has been completed on the proposed project. Before this project could advance to construction, a design public hearing would be held at a future date. This public hearing will focus only on results from this federally-required environmental study.

For more information, please visit the I-95 Rappahannock River Crossing Environmental Study on the VDOT website.

Study Documents:

Fredericksburg Area Congestion Relief Study: Commonwealth Transportation Board Presentation

Fredericksburg Area Congestion Relief Study: Evaluation of Conceptual Alternatives (Technical Information Slides)

Technical Report, Fredericksburg Area Congestion Relief Study

Frequently Asked Questions

I-95 Access Study

I-95 Access Study (Entire Report) – October 22, 2010

Table of Contents
Executive Summary
Chapter 1: Introduction
Chapter 2: Existing Conditions
Chapter 3: Future Year Traffic & No-Build Alternative Analysis
Chapter 4: Purpose and Need
Chapter 5: Alternatives
Chapter 6: Analysis of Preferred Alternative
Chapter 7: Environmental Compliance
Chapter 8: Funding Plan
Chapter 9: Conclusion & Recommendations
Appendix A: Existing Conditions
Appendix B: No-Build Conditions
Appendix C: Alternative Analysis
Appendix D: Preferred Alternative

News Articles

07/24/2015 – Editorial: River crossing plan makes a comeback 

07/21/2015 – FAMPO: Rappahannock River Crossing project is still best bet for new prioritization program

06/22/2015 – VDOT to unveil Rappahannock River Crossing study

04/17/2014 – VA Transportation Plan Released Wednesday – NBC 29 News

02/11/2014 – FAMPO blesses parkway proposals

12/12/2013 – Spotsy bypass returns, without the tolls

12/04/2013 – Rappahannock parkway makes comeback

12/01/2013 – VDOT to offer plan to fix I-95 congestion

10/21/2013 – FAMPO to consider I-95 corridor plans to send to state

10/16/2013 – Stafford Pitches Roads

09/25/2013 – Spotsy sends VDOT plans

09/18/2013 – State to examine area road woes

08/20/2013 – I-95 Bypass in Stafford Would End in Orange, Where Major Development Eyed 

05/15/2013 – Highway, Bridge and Transit Funding Proposed for Fredericksburg District

05/15/2013 – News Release submitted by Cord Sterling: HIGHWAY, BRIDGE AND TRANSIT FUNDING PROPOSED FOR FREDERICKSBURG DISTRICT

05/08/2012 – Interchange money going elsewhere

04/03/2012 – Parkway opposition continues

03/06/2012 – Resolution divides I-95 project in two

02/28/2012 – Toll authority could save part of I-95 improvements around Fredericksburg

02/28/2012 – Outer Connector plan still dead

02/27/2012 – Measure could keep I-95 interchange/toll road project alive

02/25/2012 – Could old road project return?

02/07/2012 – Spotsy supervisors explain votes to toll road panel

01/24/2012 – WHAT IS TRAFFIC ANSWER?

01/23/2012 – Spotsy to address traffic issues

01/22/2012 – Toll road plan may have hit dead end

01/21/2012 – Dead end for toll road hopes?

01/11/2012 – Spotsy board opposes bypass

11/04/2011 – Toll road project is a big issue

11/01/2011 – Like it or not, a toll road may be on the way

09/30/2011 – Planned toll road troubles some

06/09/2011 – Toll-road study plan OK’d by area panel

05/04/2011 – Parkway project finally moving

05/03/2011 – New Interchange clears hurdle

03/01/2011 – Local legislators had successes, some failures

02/20/2011 – RELIEF FOR OUR CLOGGED ARTERIES?

01/30/2011 – INTERCHANGE AND PARKWAY AHEAD?

01/30/2011 – STAFFORD MAY JOIN AUTHORITY

12/12/2010 – Spotsy paving way for tolls?

09/10/2010 – Toll-road authority selects new leaders

08/18/2010 – ROAD PROJECT REVIVED

07/21/2010 – I-95 interchange site picked

06/22/2010 – Second public hearing on GWTRA scheduled tonight before Fredericksburg City Council

06/22/2010 – A Toll Road For Fredericksburg

05/10/2010 – County joins toll board

04/28/2010 – Spotsy sups ask for details

04/12/2010 – Should our area add toll road to ease congestion on Rt. 3?

03/10/2010 – Public has little to say on toll road authority

03/08/2010 – City, Spotsy start toll road process

10/25/2009 – Planning for toll road to begin

05/19/2009 – Two plans weighed for new I-95 exit

03/14/2009 – Area gets $9 million in earmarks THE PROJECTS

02/25/2009 – Senate OKs local transportation panel

02/20/2009 – Toll road authority measure advances

02/18/2009 – Richmond could help us break up traffic jams

02/09/2009 – 4-mile spur TR in Fredericksburg VA advances

01/30/2009 – Local toll road eyed in Orrock transportation bill

11/18/2008 – Framework for toll authority moves ahead

02/26/2008 – New interchange in Spotsy backed

12/16/2008 – Rest area I-95 exit could ease Route 3

11/17/2007 – PROJECT MAY BE IMPETUS FOR NEW INTERCHANGE

05/22/2007 – Planning group supports access I-95 road would enter celebrate Virginia

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