News & Politics

Changes Are Coming to DC’s Oft-Confusing Highway System

Two of DC’s busiest roadways are getting new names.

Interstate 695 and the Third Street Tunnel are getting new digits, which will hopefully help confused drivers navigate DC’s highways. The Federal Highway Administration has approved a proposal from DC Department of Transportation (DDOT) to relabel the tunnel as I-195—designating a brand new interstate, which will run just over a mile and a half long—and to reclassify DC’s I-695 as an extension of I-395, reports WTOP.

The Southeast Freeway (I-695) currently starts on its west side with an interchange from I-395, spanning almost one-and-a-half miles to I-295. Absorbing the stretch into I-395 is intended to minimize confusion for motorists who are surprised by the sudden change between corridors.

Similarly, the Third Street Tunnel has perplexed drivers who are caught off guard when the I-395 signs suddenly turn into I-695, causing dangerous swerving between exits.

Although the request has been rubber-stamped, actually instituting the change will take some time. An official at DDOT told Fox 5 the shift is likely to occur in a year to 18 months. The change will also require new exit numbers for Barracks Row, Nationals Park, and Navy Yard.

Daniella Byck
Lifestyle Editor

Daniella Byck joined Washingtonian in 2022. She was previously with Outside Magazine and lives in Northeast DC.