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Construction starting next week on upgraded I-395 and Boundary Channel Drive interchange

Changes coming to Boundary Channel Drive and I-395 interchange (image via VDOT)

Construction is starting next week to make Boundary Channel Drive and the I-395 interchange near Crystal City and the Pentagon safer.

The impact on locals should be “minimal,” Virginia Department of Transportation spokesperson Mike Murphy told ARLnow. While there could be lane closures, access to surrounding facilities will be kept open.

“Some day and overnight lane closures may be scheduled along I-395, Boundary Channel Drive, and Long Bridge Drive in the project area,” Murphy said. “Access to I-395 via Boundary Channel Drive, as well as access to Pentagon facilities and the Long Bridge Aquatics & Fitness Center will be maintained during construction.”

The long-planned $20 million project is set to reduce traffic lanes on Boundary Channel Drive to make room for paths and sidewalks, install roundabouts, reconfigure ramps, and add crosswalks.

The purpose of the renovations is to simplify traffic patterns and to make it safer for pedestrians, cyclists and drivers.

“We’ve long sought these improvements,” then-County Board Chair Matt de Ferranti said at a Board meeting last year when voting to approve the project. “They will reconfigure the interchange that you see to make it work a lot better and safer for everyone.”

The VDOT-led project is expected to be completed about a year from now, in fall 2023.

Crews will begin with work on Boundary Channel Drive, where both directions will be reduced to one lane to allow for the construction of the new roundabouts, utility work, and pedestrian improvements.

Those improvements include a path along the south side of Boundary Channel Drive, complete with crosswalks, landscaping, and street lighting.

The new shared-use path, varying in width between ten and twelve feet, will start at the Long Bridge Aquatic Center parking lot entrance. It will then follow Long Bridge Drive northbound before connecting with westbound Boundary Channel Drive, per Murphy. The half-mile-long path will pass under I-395 and turn north at the soon-to-be-built western Boundary Channel Drive interchange roundabout.

The new path will ultimately connect with the existing one that parallels the southbound George Washington Memorial Parkway ramp to I-395 southbound.

This project has been in the works since at least 2014 and is estimated to cost $19.6 million. It’s being paid for by a combination of state, federal, regional, and county money.

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