State Route 895 - Pocahontas Parkway

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SR 895 is Pocahontas Parkway, a 7.80 mile long toll road connecting I-95 and SR 150 (Chippenham Parkway) to the west with Richmond International Airport (RIC) and I-295 to the east.

A Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) study in 1981 advocated building a connector from the end of Chippenham Parkway at I-95 east across the James River to I-295. A corridor was selected in 1983, and the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) approved an Environmental Impact Study in 1984. Money was tentatively allocated for preliminary engineering in 1986, but never spent.1

The proposed highway and lift bridge spanning the James River linking Chippenham Parkway in Chesterfield County with I-295 in eastern Henrico County was added to the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) six-year road building plan in 1985. VDOT however dropped the $174 million project to construct Interstate 895 from the six-year plan in 1987 due to cuts in federal highway aid.2

Richmond area officials continued to lobby for construction of Interstate 895 in 1988, including the possibility of financing the 6.8 mile long project with tolls.3 A preliminary study by VDOT for the Metropolitan Transportation Planning Organization concluded that a one-way toll as high as $1.50 along with another extension of tolling along the Richmond-Petersburg Turnpike were needed to pay for $127.1 million in construction for the "Chippenham-Laburnum Connector" between Chippenham Parkway (SR 150) and Laburnum Avenue in Henrico County. The study in July 1988 also concluded that if Interstate 895 were built all the way to I-295, local jurisdictions and the state would need an additional $41 million beyond the potential toll revenue for $175 million in total construction.4

Interstate 895 was eventually added back to the VDOT six-year highway program in 1992 at the urging of Dr. M. Philmore Howlette, the Richmond District representative on the Virginia Commonwealth Transportation Board. The plan outlined spending $2 million per year over a five year period followed by another $1 million for preliminary engineering.1

The Commonwealth Transportation Board eventually approved $8 million for design work on December 15, 1994. This included $5.4 million to design 3.6 miles of highway, including the James River span, and $2.6 million to a separate engineering firm for the rest of the project.5

The I-895 project was submitted under the Virginia Public-Private Transportation Act of 1995, with plans detailed on November 9, 1995 by the group FD/MK Ltd. The group indicated that it would build the 8.8 mile long road for $250 million, with construction finished by 2000.6 The Commonwealth Transportation Board approved the preliminary plans to build I-895 as a private toll road on March 21, 1996.7 The state and FD/MK LLC came to an agreement on June 3, 1998 for construction of the $324 million, I-895 connector.8

Construction was scheduled to begin in November 1998 and be completed by early 2002.8 State Route 895 was named Pocahontas Parkway in a vote by the Commonwealth Transportation Board on January 21, 1999.9 The toll road opened fully eastbound on May 22, 2002 and westbound from I-295 to Laburnum Avenue the following day.10 The remainder of Pocahontas Parkway westbound opened following a dedication ceremony on September 20, 2002 formally naming the high rise span over the James River as the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Bridge:11

The Vietnam Veterans Memorial Bridge will stand in remembrance of the 1,305 Virginians who died during that conflict and to the more than 50 who remain missing in action.
Virginia Route 895 scenes
Airport Drive concludes at the trumpet interchange with SR 895 (Pocahontas Parkway), east of SR 5 and west of Interstate 295. 01/16/11
Tolls are charged electronically along the connection from Airport Drive south to I-295 and from SR 895 west to Airport Drive north. 01/16/11

  1. "Plan Would Revive Chesterfield, Henrico Highway Link." Richmond Times-Dispatch (VA), May 21, 1992.
  2. "I-295 Road Project is Delayed, I-895 Dropped in Budget Cuts." Richmond Times-Dispatch (VA), July 17, 1987.
  3. "Area Officials Renew Pleas for I-895 Project." Richmond Times-Dispatch (VA), April 7, 1988.
  4. "Study Says Tolls, More Necessary to Build I-895." Richmond Times-Dispatch (VA), July 13, 1988.
  5. "State Approves Fund for Design of I-895 - Eastern Connector Would Link I-95-295." Richmond Times-Dispatch (VA), December 14, 1994.
  6. "$2 Toll Charge Seen for I-895 Connector - Major James River Bridge Part of Plan." Richmond Times-Dispatch (VA), November 10, 1995.
  7. "Private Toll-Road Plan Backed." Richmond Times-Dispatch (VA), March 22, 1996.
  8. "I-895 Connector Deal Closed - First Project Under Public-Private Transportation Act." Richmond Times-Dispatch (VA), June 4, 1998.
  9. "Road Honors Pocahontas." Richmond Times-Dispatch (VA), January 22, 1999.
  10. "Eastbound Part of Pocahontas Debuts Today." Richmond Times-Dispatch (VA), May 22, 2002.
  11. "Parkway Honors Vietnam Veterans - Henrico, Chesterfield Segment is Dedicated." Richmond Times-Dispatch (VA), September 21, 2002.
  12. Route 895 - Pocahontas Parkway (Scott Kozel).
  13. "Richmond Airport Connector Road Opens." Richmond International Airport, web site.

Photo Credits:

01/16/11 by Will Weaver

Connect with:
Interstate 95
Interstate 295
State Route 150 - Chippenham Parkway

Page Updated 08-11-2021.

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