Under Construction: I-95 Northbound Variable Speed Limits

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The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) has installed variable speed limits to enhance safety in the I-95 norhtbound corridor between mile markers 115 and 130 in Caroline and Spotsylvania counties, and the City of Fredericksburg.

Crashes have occurred when northbound vehicles traveling at speed unexpectedly encounter stopped or slowing traffic flow due to congestion or lane closures for incidents and highway work zones.

New LED signs displaying variable speed limits between 35 mph and 65-70 mph are paired with dynamic message boards in this section of I-95 northbound. Drivers will adjust their speed based on real-time information about delays and conditions on the road ahead. Gradually slowing traffic as it approaches congestion will help to reduce the risk of crashes, and stop-and-go travel conditions.

The variable speed limit signs are located every half-mile to one mile in the project corridor, with a total of 48 speed limit signs, installed in pairs.

The new signs will be illuminated starting Thursday, June 16. For several days after illumination, the variable speed limit signs will display only the maximum speed limit of 65-70 mph to help motorists adjust to their presence.

Beginning on Wednesday, June 22, the system will be fully activated to display variable speed limits between 35 mph and 70 mph.

Speed limits will be reduced only when necessary. Vehicle detectors will collect traffic speed and volume data, which will be fed into a software program to recognize when traffic is approaching unstable conditions (for example, very high volume and fast speed) and assign incrementally lower speeds. Once traffic flow stabilizes, the posted speed limit will return to the maximum speed. 

Speed limits posted on VSL are enforceable just like regular speed limit signs. Enforcement authorities will have access to real-time changes in posted speed limits along the VSL corridor.

Variable speed limits were recommended for this section of I-95 northbound as part of the I-95 Corridor Improvement Plan. Based on the expected success of this deployment, VDOT anticipates implementation of VSL at additional locations throughout the Commonwealth.

Learn more: 

News Release: I-95 Northbound Variable Speed Limits to Begin

Commonwealth Transportation Board presentation, April 2021

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Video 

Commonwealth Transportation Board presentation, January 2022

Benefits 

  • Seeks to reduce crashes 
  • Increases vehicle throughput
  • Fewer stop-and-go conditions 
  • Informs travelers of conditions on the road ahead

 

Major Milestones 

Construction Start: Summer 2021

Activation: 

Soft launch is June 16, 2022, when signs will illuminate and display static speeds

Full activation is June 22, 2022, when variable speed limits will start to display

Resources

Major funding source: I-95 Corridor Improvements Program and the Innovation and Technology Transportation Fund (ITTF)

Phase: Under Construction

Lat/Long: 38.098484, -77.517537

Locality: Caroline , Fredericksburg , and Spotsylvania

Page last modified: June 24, 2022