Bidding a final farewell to a DC ghost road – WTOP
On Saturday morning, I was driving from Tenleytown to Eastern Market with my sons. As we entered the beginning of Interstate 66 westbound from the Whitehurst Freeway (US 29), I mentioned to my boys that the sign on the left was a covered up because the road, I-695, was never built.
Bidding a final farewell to a freeway that never came to be. DDOT plans to preserve and display the decades old I-695 sign in its sign shop. pic.twitter.com/NAfvcktH6R
— Dave Dildine (@DildineWTOP) August 23, 2018
The linked article has the whole slideshow.
The original I-695 plans had it beginning at I-66 (Potomac Freeway) adjacent to the Theodore Roosevelt Bridge and tunneling under the National Mall near the Lincoln Memorial. It was to emerge onto the Southwest Freeway where it would be multiplexed with I-95. The ramps were built and now connect Maine Ave SW to what’s posted as I-395 of course, because I-95 never got built between New York Ave (at the geographic center of the District of Columbia) to the I-495 Capital Beltway near College Park.
When the new 11th Street Bridge was built, I-695 was finally posted along the Southeast Freeway – it had always been officially numbered that, though unmarked. The “new” I-695 replaced the I-295 designation on the 11th Street Bridge before ending at the I-295/DC 295 interchange on the other side of the Anacostia River.
The freeway revolts were pivotal in the District’s history as it slowly gained home rule. Funding originally planned for I-66, I-95 and I-266 freeways were transferred to build out Metro. Present shortcomings aside, building the second largest subway system instead of just a bunch of freeways was a bold choice that, in my view, made the renaissance of the District and Northern Virginia inside the Beltway possible.
Neverthless, it’s interesting to see a relic of a different age and thankfully, the District Department of Transportation is saving the sign.