Even though the summer driving season is winding down, next weekend might be a good time to avoid Interstate 95 through Fredericksburg.

Eighteen consecutive hours of lane closures are scheduled to start Saturday afternoon on northbound I–95 in the U.S. 17 area in Stafford County, the Virginia Department of Transportation announced in a news release.

The work causing the lane closures is part of the southbound Rappahannock River crossing project.

In this case, crews will be preparing to rebuild one of two U.S. 17 overpasses scheduled for improvements. Crews will work on the bridge over the northbound lanes first.

To do that work, temporary lanes will be built in the median for vehicles to use. And that work will be extensive.

VDOT said crews will spread 2,000 tons of asphalt, spray 20,000 feet of lane markings and set up 5,000 feet of concrete barriers during the 18-hour period.

The lane closures are set to start at 4 p.m. Saturday near the Rappahannock River bridge. The U.S 17 northbound exit and entrance ramp will remain open and will serve as one of the through lanes while crews build the temporary lanes in the median.

All northbound traffic will use the ramp lane beginning at 8:30 p.m. Saturday. U.S. 17 traffic will not be able to access the interstate’s northbound lanes during this time. VDOT will erect detour signs directing traffic to U.S. 1 and the Centreport Parkway exit.

I–95 traffic is expected to be diverted to the new temporary lanes by 10 a.m. Sunday.

VDOT noted that it analyzed the various ways to do the work, and identified the 18-hour work zone during the weekend as the best period to “avoid disrupting travelers over multiple weeks of evening work.”

In order to help traffic flow on alternate routes, VDOT will make several adjustments while the work is being done.

The highway department will lift lane closures on northbound U.S. 1 in the Fredericksburg area, as well as along northbound State Route 207 in Caroline County and northbound U.S. 301 in Caroline and King George counties.

Signal timing also will be adjusted on the detour routes, and overhead message boards will alert traffic on I–95 and Interstates 295 and 64 about the lane closures.

The southbound crossing project will add collector–distributor lanes between State Route 3 and U.S. 17. The new lanes are slated to open in 2022.

There also will be a northbound crossing project, which also will add three collector-distributor lanes in the same area. That project should start by early 2021 and be completed in 2024.

The projects will cost a combined $264 million.

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Scott Shenk: 540/374-5436

sshenk@freelancestar.com

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