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District of Columbia @ AARoads

Washington D.C. Road Map - AARoads

The capital of the United States, Washington, D.C., boasts a limited freeway system that supplements its spoke-like street system. Many of the originally planned freeways were not constructed, especially north of downtown. Interstate 95 was to have passed through the city center along current Interstate 395. Interstate 66 and 295 were to have also met the never built route, and never-built Interstate 266 was to act as a connector route between the two. Additionally, a southeast extension of the Southeast Freeway was never built (the "Barney Circle" Freeway). U.S. 1, 29, and 50 serve Washington. A deleted route, U.S. 240, was the original connector between the city and Frederick, Maryland, to the northwest. The District of Columbia only has one signed route, that of D.C. 295 along the northern portion of the Anacostia Freeway. Originally D.C. 4 existed along Pennsylvania Avenue, continuing the Maryland 4 numbering convention into the city.

District of Columbia Cancelled Freeways Map


Guides:
District of Columbia
Virginia
Theodore Roosevelt Memorial Bridge
Interstate 66 briefly enters the city of Washington before ending at U.S. 29 (Whitehurst Freeway west / K Street east). The freeway was planned to continue east along the North Leg of the Inner Loop freeway to a planned terminus at Interstate 95 where the current Interstate 395 ends. Additionally Interstate 266 was planned as a bypass route between the current Interstate 66 end and Cherrydale, Virginia. In 1977 all unconstructed segments of the D.C. Freeway network were cancelled2 and the freeway system exists as it does today. More information on Interstate 66 is available on its guide.

North Central Freeway
Plans also called for Interstate 70S (present Interstate 270 / Spur Interstate 270) to continue south of the Capital Beltway to an end with planned Interstate 95 at Fort Totten Park. Known as the North Central Freeway, this route along with other unconstructed routes at the time, was cancelled in 19772.


Guides:
Maryland
Virginia
Capital Beltway
For the most part, Interstate 95 does not enter the District of Columbia; instead, it is routed along the Capital Beltway (Interstate 495). There is a very short portion of the Woodrow Wilson Bridge along the Capital Beltway as it crosses the Potomac River that is within the District of Columbia, but originally Interstate 95 was supposed to serve a much greater portion of the District. Interstate 95 was signed along what is now Interstate 395 within the District when the Interstate system was in its infancy. The route followed all of the existing Interstate 395 from the Capital Beltway to the Southwest Freeway and underneath the National Mall. The route was planned to continue northward through the city to meet the current Interstate 95 at the northern junction of Interstate 95/495 near College Park. A small stub of the planned Interstate 95 was built from the Capital Beltway southward. This segment now serves a metro station and park and ride line.

Whitehurst Freeway
Unconstructed Interstate 266 was to provide a bypass route for Interstate 66 travels between the Spout Run Parkway area of Fort CF Smith Park across the Potomac River to the Whitehurst Freeway and its interchange with K Street. The route was cancelled in 1972.1


Maryland
District of Columbia
D.C. 295
Anacostia Freeway
Interstate 295 follows the Anacostia Freeway northward from the Capital Beltway to the 11th Street Bridge and its current end at unsigned Interstate 695 (Southeast Freeway). Interstate 695 continues the drive westward to downtown Washington for commuters emanating from Maryland via Interstate 295. The designation will be changing in the near future as construction is planned at the 11th Street Bridge and Anacostia Freeway interchange to include full movements to the D.C. 295 freeway. Upon completion, Interstate 695 will be signed and overtake Interstate 295 across the 11th Street Bridge.

Historically, Interstate 295 is part of the East Leg Freeway of the Washington Inner Loop. Unconstructed from Pennsylvania Avenue northward, Interstate 295 would have followed the Anacostia River to Lake Kingman and a northwestern turn to an interchange with Interstate 95 and U.S. 50 at Eckington.


Guides:
District of Columbia
Virginia
Southwest Freeway
Interstate 395 replaced Interstate 95 along the Henry Shirley Memorial Highway from Springfield northeast to Washington, DC and the Southeast and Center Leg Freeways within the District. The Shirley Highway originally opened as Virginia 350.



Guides:
Maryland
Virginia
Capital Beltway
Although only touching the extreme southern point of the district, the Capital Beltway plays a pivotal role in the traffic scheme for metropolitan Washington. The zero milepost for the highway exists at the Woodrow Wilson Bridge. That bridge represents one of the few Interstate drawbridges in the country. Overall the bridge carries 12 lanes, while the beltway varies between six and eight overall. The interchange with Interstate 95 and 395 at Springfield underwent a transformation from an outdated ground level one to that of a high level stack. The new interchange includes high speed ramps that funnel traffic to and from the Capital Beltway. The beltway corridor has been engulfed with development, and overall the highway reflects this with high traffic counts.

Interstate 95 was moved to the Capital Beltway when it was determined that it would not be completed between central Washington and the beltway. At that point, Interstate 395 was christened, with Interstate 95 taking over the Interstate 495 designation on the eastern side of the beltway. Interstate 495 was later cosigned with the eastern half to provide continuity with the western half.


Guides:
District of Columbia
Southeast Freeway
Interstate 695 exists as an unsigned route linking the Southeast Freeway with Interstate 395 (Southwest Freeway) and Interstate 295 (11th Street Bridge) and as a spur eastward to Pennsylvania Avenue. Planned as part of the South Leg Freeway, Interstate 695 was to connect Interstate 66 at the Constitution Avenue interchange with Interstate 295 at the 11th Street Bridge. Part of this alignment uses the Southwest Freeway of Interstate 395 (planned then as Interstate 95). The segment by the Lincoln Memorial was cancelled by 1977.2

New plans underway involve upgrading the current 11th Street Bridge interchange with the Anacostia Freeway (D.C. 295) to include full movements in all directions. This interchange upgrade coincides with a planned rerouting of Interstate 695 southeast across the Anacostia River to end at Interstate 295. Interstate 295 will seamlessly transition into D.C. 295 instead of spurring northwest. Future plans may see the Interstate 295 designation extended northeastward over the Anacostia Freeway. Meanwhile to the north, the Interstate 695 spur east to Pennsylvania Avenue will be removed.

U.S. Highways

Three U.S. routes pass through the district. U.S. 1, which cosigns with U.S. 50 in central Washington, provides a main route to northeastern Washington from government complex area. The highway follows Rhode Island as it exits the city towards College Park, Maryland. U.S. 1 Alternate follows U.S. 50 (New York Avenue) east from U.S. 1 to Bladensburg Road north to Cottage City and Edmonston, Maryland.

U.S. 50 enters the district on a freeway that connects Washington with Annapolis and the Chesapeake Bay Bridge in Maryland. The route links Interstate 395 with the aforementioned freeway along New York Avenue. This street facilitates six lanes of travel with a 35 mile-per-hour speed limit. The highway cosigns with U.S. 1 along Sixth and Ninth Street into central Washington. The highway crosses the Potomac River along the Interstate 66 Theodore Roosevelt Memorial Bridge into Virginia.

U.S. 50 enters Washington from Cheverly, Maryland as a freeway (John Hanson Highway) and travels New York Avenue west to a merge with U.S. 1 Alternate (Bladensburg Road). The freeway was originally intended to end at unconstructed Interstate 95 and 295 (East Leg Freeway) at Eckington.

The last existing U.S. highway routed within the city is U.S. 29. The highway enters the city from Arlington, Virginia along the Francis Scott Key Bridge. Upon crossing into Washington, U.S. 29 intersects the eastern terminus of Interstate 66 via the Whitehurst Freeway. U.S. 29 heads north from K Street north of the government district to Silver Spring and Wheaton in Maryland.

There were two other U.S. routes that served the city: U.S. 211 and 240. U.S. 211 paralleled U.S. 29 and terminated near downtown; the duplication was eliminated. U.S. 240 was terminated with the completion and designation of Interstate 270. U.S. 240 followed Maryland 355 (Rockville Pike) from Rockville, Maryland into Washington via Wisconsin Avenue. The route spanned the Potomac River via the Arlington Memorial Bridge to an end in Virginia.

U.S. Highway Guides

U.S. Highway 1 | U.S. Highway 29 | U.S. Highway 50

U.S. Highway Street Routings
U.S. 1 U.S. 29 U.S. 50 Historic U.S. 240
George Mason Bridge / 14th Street Bridge
14th Street SW
Constitution Avenue NW
6th Street NW (north)
9th Street NW (south)
New York Avenue NW (south)
Rhode Island Avenue NW / NE
Theodore Roosevelt Memorial Bridge
Constitution Avenue NW
6th Street NW (north)
9th Street NW (south)
New York Avenue NW (south)
New York Avenue NE
Francis Scott Bridge
Whitehurst Freeway
K Street NW
13th Street NW
Logan Circle
Rhode Island Avenue NW
Georgia Avenue NW
Wisconsin Avenue NW
Pennsylvania Avenue NW
23rd Street NW
Arlington Memorial Bridge

U.S. 1 North
Jefferson Drive east at U.S. 1 (14th Street SW) at The National Mall. Jefferson Drive ventures east to the Smithsonian Institution Building and 3rd Street SW on the Mall. Photo taken 08/01/05.
Directly east from the Washington Monument is the U.S. Capitol. Photo taken 08/01/05.
The Washington Monument rises prominently from The National Mall midway between 15th Street and 17th Street west of U.S. 1 (14th Street SW). Photo taken 08/01/05.
Oddly shaped U.S. 1 and 50 shields posted on U.S. 1 (14th Street SW) north at Madison Drive NW. Madison Drive NW west to 15th Street NW leads drivers to U.S. 50 (Constitution Avenue SW0 west to The Ellipse and the Theodore Roosevelt Bridge. U.S. 1 north merges with U.S. 50 east onto Constitution Avenue SW one block ahead. Photo taken 08/01/05.
U.S. 1 South
U.S. 1 south shield in downtown Washington, D.C. Photo taken 01/20/00 by Jeff Royston.
U.S. 1 south splits with U.S. 50 (Constitution Avenue SW) west for 14th Street SW. 14th Street SW carries the route southward across The National Mall. This scene looks at the route after its intersection with Constitution Avenue. Photo taken 08/01/05.
Madison Drive SW intersects U.S. 1 (14th Street SW) between 12th and 15th Streets on The National Mall. Photo taken 08/01/05.
Interstate 495 trailblazer directing travelers southward on U.S. 1 (14th Street SW). U.S. 1 merges with Interstate 395 across the Potomac River, with the freeway carrying drivers south to the Springfield Interchange and junction Interstates 95 and 495. Photo taken 08/01/05.
Jefferson Drive SW flows east from 15th Street on The National Mall to 3rd Street. Photo taken 08/01/05.
Southbound U.S. 1 (14th Street SW) at C Street SW eastbound next to the Department of Agriculture, Bureau of Engraving and Printing, and the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum. Photo taken 08/01/05.

Suitland Parkway

One of several Washington area National Park Service roads, Suitland Parkway joins South Capitol Street with Maryland 4 (Pennsylvania Avenue) at Andrews AFB.

D.C. Area State Route Guides

District of Columbia Street Scenes

14th Street SW
14th Street SW southbound at one of the entrances to the Department of Commerce. An Interstate 495 trailblazer directs motorists southward as 14th Street SW becomes part of U.S. 1. Photo taken 08/01/05.
15th Street SW
15th Street SW southbound at Independence Avenue SW and Raoul Wallenburg Place. Raoul Wallenburg Place heads south to Maine Avenue and Basin Drive to Interstate 395. Independence Avenue leads west to Ohio Drive SW and junction Interstate 66 & U.S. 50 (Theodore Roosevelt Bridge). Photo taken 08/01/05.
Views of the Washington Monument west of 15th Street on The National Monument. Photos taken 08/01/05.
Jefferson Drive SW begins at 15th Street SW just east of the Washington Monument. Jefferson Drive flows east along The National Mall to 3rd Street SW. Photo taken 08/01/05.
15th Street NW
Looking south at 15th Street NW at Pennsylvania Avenue NW with Washington Monument rising on the horizon. Photo taken 08/01/05.
Pennsylvania Avenue NW becomes E Street NW west of 15th Street NW. The road is closed to traffic as it passes between The Ellipse and The White House. Photo taken 08/01/05.
New York Avenue NW travels east from 15th Street NW and the Department of Treasury to Mt. Vernon Square and junction U.S. 1 & 50 (9th Street / 6th Street). Photos taken 08/01/05.
17th Street SW
17th Street NW's intersection with F Street NW with the Old Executive Office Building to the right. Photos taken 08/01/05.
Pennsylvania Avenue NW veers away from 17th Street NW to Washington Circle at K Street (U.S. 29). Pennsylvania Avenue between 17th and 15th Streets NW is closed to vehicular traffic, but open to pedestrians as it passes by Lafayette Park and The White House. Photo taken 08/01/05.
South Capitol Street north
South Capitol Street turns northwest from its merge with Suitland Parkway and rises to cross the Anacostia River along the Frederick Douglass Memorial Bridge. Photo taken 01/02/08.
Frederick Douglass Memorial Bridge passes over Anacostia Drive and Anacostia Park on its turn across the Anacostia River. Photo taken 01/02/08.
Drivers touch down from the Frederick Douglass Memorial Bridge at Potomac Avenue. A $27-million project undertaken between 2007 and 2008 removed a two-block section of viaduct (Potomac avenue to O Street) from the bridge northward. The viaduct was replaced with a new surface boulevard to coincide with construction of the new Washington Nationals baseball stadium. Photo taken 01/02/08.
Traveling through the intersection with P Street adjacent to the Nationals ball park. P Street leads west to Fort Lesley J. McNair. Before the viaduct was removed, South Capitol Street passed over P Street without access. Photo taken 01/02/08.
N Street crosses South Capitol Street on the northwest corner of the Washington Nationals ball park. N Street heads west to Canal Street and east to the Southeast Federal Center. Photo taken 01/02/08.
South Capitol Street dives below M Street; frontage streets travel along side the four-lane boulevard above to provide access. M Street joins the Washington Navy Yard with Maine Avenue. Photo taken 01/02/08.
South Capitol Street prepares to split with ramps to Interstate 395 (Southwest Freeway / Center Leg Freeway) north of I Street. Photo taken 01/02/08.
The northbound frontage street returns to South Capitol Street at K Street. K Street is bisected from South Capitol Street; there is no access from the South Capitol Street mainline to K Street east. Photo taken 01/02/08.
I Street intersects South Capitol Street at the split with ramps to Interstate 395. I Street leads west to 7th Street and east to New Jersey Avenue. Photo taken 01/02/08.
Ascending onto the ramps for Interstates 395 south (Southwest Freeway) and 395 north (Center Leg Freeway). South Capitol Street meanwhile passes under Interstate 695 (Southeast Freeway) en route to Washington Avenue and D Street. Photo taken 01/02/08.
The northbound ramp to Interstate 395 splits with ramps to the Center Leg Freeway north to U.S. 50 (New York Avenue) and D Street SW near the Rayburn Building. Photo taken 01/02/08.
Turning west, drivers partition into the ramps for Interstate 395 north to U.S. 50 (New York Avenue) and Interstate 395 south to Arlington, Virginia. Photo taken 01/02/08.
Independence Avenue SW
Independence Avenue SW eastbound at U.S. 1 (14th Street SW) across from the Department of Agriculture. Photo taken 08/01/05.
Interstate 395 District of Columbia trailblazer posted along Independence Avenue SW westbound between U.S. 1 (14th Street SW) and Raoul Wallenburg Place. Raoul Wallenburg Place south to Basin Drive SW leads drivers onto Interstate 395 south at the George Mason Bridge. Photo taken 08/01/05.
Independence Avenue splits into separate carriageways west of 15th Street SW. Westbound leads to Maine Avenue SW and 17th Street SW. Photo taken 08/01/05.
L'Enfant Promenade north
L'Enfant Promenade travels northward underneath L'Enfant Plaza between the Interstate 395 westbound Frontage Road to D Street SW. Pictured here is the Promenade northbound after Frontage Road SW at the public parking garage entrance. Photo taken 08/01/05.
An original guide sign over L'Enfant Promenade north still eludes to Interstate 95 District of Columbia via D Street east. Interstate 95 was originally signed along what is now Interstate 395. Plans to complete Interstate 95 through Washington were shelved in 1977. Photo taken 08/01/05.
L'Enfant Promenade ends at D Street SW. D Street heads west to intersect 12th Street SW at Maryland Avenue SW, south of 12th Street's tunnel under the National Mall. Photo taken 08/01/05.
D Street continues east from L'Enfant Promenade to 7th Street SW, which leads drivers south to Interstate 395 (Southwest Freeway) east of its junction with Interstate 695 (Southeast Freeway) and the Center Leg Freeway. Interstate 395 represents the former alignment of Interstate 95; the Southeast Freeway connects with Interstate 295. This is why Interstate 95 and 295 D.C. shields were signed here. Photo taken 08/01/05.
D Street SW east at L'Enfant Promenade south, under L'Enfant Plaza. Photo taken 08/01/05.
Lincoln Memorial Circle SW
Walking along the Lincoln Memorial Circle SW between Daniel French and Henry Bacon Drives. This section of the circle is closed to vehicular traffic. The circle also represents the historic southern terminus of U.S. 240. U.S. 50 used the circle between 23rd Street SW and the Arlington Memorial Bridge before it was relocated onto the Theodore Roosevelt Bridge. Photos taken 08/01/05.
Facing east from the Lincoln Memorial Circle SW, in view is the Constitution Gardens, the Reflecting Pool, Washington Monument, and the U.S. Capitol dome. Photos taken 08/01/05.

Sources:

  1. Interstate 266 @ Wikipedia.org.
  2. Interstate 66 @ Wikipedia.org

Other Resources

For more background and other related information for Washington area highways, please see the Roads to the Future page by Scott Kozel.

Page Updated October 8, 2009.