Welcome Background The Project Project Information
The section of I-695 (Baltimore Beltway) from MD 144 (Frederick Road) to the I-95 Interchange is a major commuter route that is heavily congested today. Everyone who uses the Beltway recognizes that the traffic congestion in the area is increasing every year. I-695 serves as the primary route for traffic going along Interstate I-83 to Pennsylvania to Interstate I-95 and points south. The purpose of the project is to improve traffic operations and safety around the Baltimore Beltway by the addition of travel lanes.
In addition to the anticipated growth in traffic volumes and congestion, other factors entered into SHA's decision to widen I-695. While safe, the existing bridges need more and more maintenance and remedial work, just as an old car does to keep it running safely and efficiently. In addition, the existing bridges do not meet the most current Federal bridge standards for vertical underclearance. The Westland Boulevard Bridge does not provide adequate additional width underneath for the widening of I-695.
The current average daily traffic for I-695 is approximately 185,000. The 2020 forecast is 236,000 for an increase of 22 percent.
Why Just the Outer Loop?
While everyone would like to have their portion of I-695 be the highest priority for improvement, SHA has a responsibility to maintain a safe and well operating roadway system for all I-695 roadway users. Towards this end, SHA has reviewed the existing and forecasted future traffic data and operating characteristics for the entire I-695 roadway system. As a result of this review, SHA has identified and prioritized the following critical issues:
- The locations most in need of construction improvements
- The positive impacts to traffic operations (i.e., reduced congestion, greater operating speeds) resulting from construction at specific locations
- and the cost of the proposed roadway improvements.
Using the above criteria, SHA has established a preliminary prioritized list for the design and construction of the following segments of the I-695 roadway:
- Southwest Outer Loop Part 1 - I-95 to MD 144 (Frederick Road)
- Southwest Outer Loop Part 2 - MD 144 (Frederick Road) to I-70
- Northeast Inner Loop - Harford Road to I-83
- Northeast Outer Loop - Harford Road to I-83
- Southwest Inner Loop - I-95 to I-70
It is important to note that the priorities are fluid and the entire list is subject to change based on continuing reviews of traffic operations and conditions. Equally important are budgetary constraints and the need to obtain both Federal and State funding before the design and construction phases can proceed.