Beginning in 2007, the FAMPO and the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) evaluated the possibility of constructing a new access point or interchange with I-95 in the City of Fredericksburg between the Rappahannock River and VA 3 (Route 3). A new toll parkway would had intersected with I-95 near the existing rest area and proceed west and tie into Route 3 near Gordon Road (Route 627).
The project included the construction of a new interchange with I-95 between Route 3 and the Rappahannock River with improvements to handle the ingress and egress travel within the study area. A connector road on new alignment that extends from I-95 southwest to Route 3 in the vicinity of Gordon Road/Harrison Road was also part of the project. The new roadway was anticipated as a four to six lane principal arterial with the ability to be tolled.
Purpose and Need
The purpose of the project was to reduce congestion on Route 3 between Gordon Road and I-95 including the I-95/Route 3 Interchange, facilitate movement between I-95 and the key commercial areas in Fredericksburg, and facilitate weekday peak period commuter flows between I-95 and the residential communities in Spotsylvania County. The I-95 Access Study was initiate to identify alternatives that address the Purpose and Need.
The Study Area was located in the George Washington Region and included portions of Spotsylvania County, Stafford County and the City of Fredericksburg. The study area surrounds I-95 from just south of the VA 3 (Route 3) Interchange (Exit 130) to just north of US 17 (Route 17) Interchange (Exit 133).
This I-95 Access Study included an alternative analysis to determine what alternatives would best meet the Purpose and Need while minimizing impacts and costs. The preferred alternative included the following:
- A new, full interchange with I-95 (providing access to the west only) between the rest area and the Rappahannock River
- New two-lane structures over the Rappahannock River parallel to the existing structures (one in each direction)
- Interchange improvements at Route 17. At this time, neither the underpass for the overpass option for the Northbound (NB) to Westbound (WB) off-ramp was identified as the preferred option.
- A four to six lane limited access connector road from I-95 to the Route 3/Gordon Road intersection.
- An interchange at the Route 3/Gordon Road termini of the connector road
- An interchange providing access to commercial areas from the connector road.
The I-95 Access Study was completed on October 22, 2010.
I-95 Access Study
Chapter 1: Introduction
Chapter 2: Existing Conditions
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
George Washington Toll Road Authority (GWRTA)
The 2009, the Virginia General Assembly adopted an Act to create the George Washington Toll Road Authority (GWTRA) 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 (CTB) meeting. The following are the study documents presented to the CTB:
Fredericksburg Area Congestion Relief Study: Evaluation of Conceptual Alternatives (Technical Information Slides)
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
10/16/2013 – Stafford Pitches Roads
09/25/2013 – Spotsy sends VDOT plans
09/18/2013 – State to examine area road woes
05/08/2012 – Interchange money going elsewhere
03/06/2012 – Resolution divides I-95 project in two
02/28/2012 – Outer Connector plan still dead
01/23/2012 – Spotsy to address traffic issues
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 – A Toll Road For Fredericksburg
05/10/2010 – County joins toll board
04/28/2010 – Spotsy sups ask for details
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