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I-495 North Shoulder Lane Use

From the Express Lanes merge to George Washington Parkway in Fairfax County

Area Maps

Project at a Glance

Begin Date
June 1, 2014

Est Completion Date
Open to traffic July 2015; completed in September 2015

$20 million


Northern Virginia

Paul Nishimoto
Project Manager

About the Project

VDOT began work on June 1, 2014 to improve travel conditions where the northbound 495 Express Lanes join the regular lanes.

The 1.5-mile project allows traffic to travel on the left shoulder of northbound I-495 from where the 495 Express Lanes end to the George Washington Parkway. The existing shoulder was rebuilt to accommodate traffic.

The shoulder is open to all traffic during peak travel periods on weekdays from 7 to 11 a.m. and 2 to 8 p.m. A lane-use management system, with green arrows and red "X's" similar to the lane-control system on I-66, alerts travelers when the shoulder is available. 

In addition, the project includes several safety enhancements such as upgraded concrete barriers in the median of I-495, new cameras and electronic highway signs to help with incident response and traveler information, and rehabilitating the pavement for a smoother ride.

All travelers and buses are benefiting from the new capacity and improved merge. There is no barrier separation between the shoulder lane and the regular Beltway lanes, ensuring easy access for travelers.

Cost and Schedule

Estimated Project Cost
Preliminary engineering: $3 million
Construction: $17 million
Total: $20 million

Anticipated project schedule
Construction of the shoulder project began on June 1, 2014.

Open to traffic in July 2015, completed in September 2015.


Public Information Meeting Presentation and Brochure (November 2013)

Shoulder Lane Control System (SLCS)

I-495 Roadway Display

Environmental Documents:

Categorical Exclusion 

Final Design Noise Analysis

Air Report

Traffic Report

UPC: 105130

State Project: 0495-029-123

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Page last modified: Feb. 24, 2016