I-95 Express Lanes (copy)

Southbound I-95 Express Lanes users use a one mile exit lane (at right) before merging in to the highway's main lanes at the Route 610 interchange in Stafford on Friday, Nov. 2, 2018.

Interstate 95 travelers will start to feel the impact of the express lanes extension project next week.

Preliminary work on the $500-million project has already started, but activity is set to ramp up Monday.

The work will result in lane and shoulder closures along a 15-mile stretch of the interstate, between the Russell Road and U.S. 17 exits, according to the Virginia Department of Transportation.

VDOT said crews will be working in the median and on the shoulders in each direction.

Crews will first set up the work zone, erecting signs and barriers and doing other prep work. VDOT released the work schedule:

  • Monday through Friday, 9 p.m. to 4:30 a.m. on the northbound side;
  • Monday through Friday, 9 p.m. to 10 a.m. on the southbound side;
  • Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., shoulder work, which will lead to periodic closures of about 15 minutes.

Once the project site is established, crews will begin work on clearing and erosion and sediment control. Crews will do that work on weekdays between 7 a.m. and 5 p.m.

The express lanes extension will add two reversible lanes covering about 10 miles, from just south of State Route 610 in North Stafford to U.S. 17. The lanes are expected to open in 2022, with all of the work expected to be completed in 2023, VDOT said.

The express lanes extended the old HOV lanes to North Stafford and converted it into an electronic toll facility. Vehicles with at least three passengers ride for free. Motorcyclists also can use the lanes for free.

The new merge area in Stafford has struggled with congestion since the express lanes opened in 2014.

That led to a short extension, which opened in 2017.

When the second extension opens, the toll lanes will connect to new lanes as part of the Rappahannock River crossing, which will run to State Route 3 in Fredericksburg. Work on the southbound crossing is scheduled to be finished in 2022, with the northbound crossing slated for completion in 2023.

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Scott Shenk: 540/374-5436

sshenk@freelancestar.com

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