Extending Interstate 97 to Richmond to Fix Mid-Atlantic Transport Headache

Authors: Alexander M. Chrvala*, University of Mary Washington
Topics: Transportation Geography, United States, Planning Geography
Keywords: transportation, infrastructure, highways, Interstate Highway System, transportation planning
Session Type: Poster
Day: 4/6/2019
Start / End Time: 8:00 AM / 9:40 AM
Room: Lincoln 2, Marriott, Exhibition Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

Interstate 95 is one of the United States’ most important transportation routes, serving over 110 million people and facilitating an estimated 40 percent of the United States’ gross domestic product. In 2017, this led to a segment of I-95 in Northern Virginia being named the worst traffic hotspot in the United States. I-97 currently runs from an interchange south of Baltimore, Maryland, to U.S. Routes 50 and 301 near Annapolis, Maryland. I propose to extend I-97 south to Richmond, Virginia, using existing sections of US 301 and new construction. This project ties into the Maryland Transportation Authority’s plans to replace US 301’s crossing of the Potomac River with a higher-capacity bridge, and would route intercity traffic away from the overcrowded sections of I-95 in the Washington metropolitan area. In addition, this project offers relief to overcrowded portions of US 301 in southern Maryland by bypassing suburbs such as La Plata and Waldorf. For most of the proposed route, I-97 runs through rural forests and farmland. The proposed extension of I-97 is approximately 121 miles long and includes 36 interchanges. In choosing the best route, I took care to minimize environmental damage and negative economic impacts; overall, about 70 acres of parkland and 460 acres of wetlands would be disturbed, along with 339 properties. The project would also require the construction of an estimated 243 bridges. In all, my proposal aims to deliver a cost-effective and efficient solution to a major U.S. transportation problem.

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