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Interstate 695 Descriptions


Curtis Creek to I-95

kStarting at the zero milepost in Baltimore, I-695, which at this point is officially called MD 695 and is maintained by the Maryland Transportation Authority, is four lanes wide. The route passes over Curtis Creek on a pair of drawbridges here, which have 58 feet (18 m) of vertical navigational clearance and provide access for tall ships to a U.S. Coast Guard base further upstream. Continuing west through industrial areas into Anne Arundel County, the route encounters the northern terminus of Maryland Route 10 (Arundel Expressway) at a directional interchange, where maintenance switches to the Maryland State Highway Administration. The interchange includes access to the next interchange, with Maryland Route 2 (Ritchie Highway), a major north–south route between Baltimore and the southern suburbs, in Glen Burnie. This interchange has access to northbound MD 2 in both directions and from northbound MD 2 to the westbound direction. Beyond MD 2, I-695 encounters Interstate 895 Spur, a short connector to Interstate 895 (Harbor Tunnel Thruway); this interchange provides access to southbound MD 2 from both directions and to the eastbound direction from southbound MD 2. Immediately past this interchange, I-695 comes to an interchange with the northern terminus of Interstate 97, which terminates on the Beltway. At this point, the route officially becomes I-695.

The route continues west as a six-lane 55 mph (89 km/h) freeway, heading west into residential areas of Linthicum. It interchanges with Maryland Route 648 (Baltimore Annapolis Boulevard), where 132,330 vehicles travel I-695 every day, before turning northwest and intersecting Maryland Route 170 (Camp Meade Road). The route encounters the Baltimore–Washington Parkway (Maryland Route 295) at a cloverleaf interchange where the route’s signage changes from east–west to north–south at this interchange. It turns more to the north from here and heads into commercial areas, interchanging with Maryland Route 168 (Nursery Road) and Hammonds Ferry Road. Past this interchange, the route crosses the Patapsco River into Baltimore County and soon encounters a partial interchange with Interstate 895 (Harbor Tunnel Thruway) with access only from the southbound direction of I-695 to I-895 northbound and from I-895 southbound to the northbound direction of I-695. Past this interchange, I-695 heads north, interchanging with Hollins Ferry Road in Lansdowne before passing under CSX’s Baltimore Terminal Subdivision and coming to an interchange with U.S. Route 1 Alternate (Washington Boulevard) in Arbutus. A short distance later, I-695 comes to a semidirectional interchange with Interstate 95.

Along this portion of I-695, the daily traffic counts range from a high of 134,095 vehicles at the interchange with MD 170 in Linthicum to a low of 43,100 vehicles at the Curtis Creek drawbridge in 2007.

I-95 to I-70

I-695 widens to nine lanes past interchange with I-95, with five lanes in the southbound direction and four lanes in the northbound direction. Running northwest, it crosses over Amtrak’s Northeast Corridor and comes to a partial interchange with U.S. Route 1 (Southwestern Boulevard), with a southbound exit and northbound entrance. From here, it continues northwest through residential areas of Catonsville to an interchange with Maryland Route 372 (Wilkens Avenue). Narrowing to eight lanes total, with four lanes in each direction, beyond MD 372, the route continues through suburban neighborhoods before coming to an interchange with Maryland Route 144 (Frederick Road). At this point, I-695 narrows to seven lanes, with three southbound lanes and four northbound lanes. It continues north and interchanges with Edmondson Avenue before turning northwest and intersects U.S. Route 40 (Baltimore National Pike) near the defunct Westview Mall, now a big-box complex. Beyond US 40, I-695 continues north through residential areas, narrowing to six lanes, with three lanes in each direction, before coming to a four-level stack interchange with Interstate 70 in Woodlawn.

Along this portion of I-695, the daily traffic counts range from a high of 216,940 vehicles at the interchange with I-70 in Woodlawn to a low of 179,390 vehicles at the interchange with I-95 in Arbutus in 2007.

I-70 to I-83

The Baltimore Beltway narrows from seven to six lanes within the interchange, which contains braided ramps providing access to the next interchange, Maryland Route 122 (Security Boulevard), located near the Security Square Mall and the headquarters of the Social Security Administration. Continuing north, the road widens to eight lanes again and continues through a mix of suburban homes and business parks in Lochearn. I-695 interchanges with Maryland Route 26 (Liberty Road) east of Randallstown and resumes north, narrowing to six lanes. It intersects the southern terminus of Interstate 795 (Northwest Expressway), which serves as a bypass of Maryland Route 140 in the Owings Mills area. The Baltimore Metro's line to Owings Mills passes under I-695 within the interchange and runs in the median of I-795 as far as that town. At the I-795 interchange, the signage of route changes from north–south to east–west.

From here, I-695 heads northeast as an eight lane road and enters Pikesville, where it intersects MD 140 (Reisterstown Road) at a single-point urban interchange. A short distance later, the road comes to a partial interchange with Maryland Route 129 (Park Heights Avenue), with an eastbound exit and westbound entrance. I-695 heads east to another partial interchange with Stevenson Road, which has a westbound exit and eastbound entrance. The Baltimore Beltway passes through heavily forested land as it encounters Greenspring Avenue. Past this interchange, I-695 continues northeast through woodland before coming to an interchange with Interstate 83 (Jones Falls Expressway). The interchange includes connections to Maryland Route 25 (Falls Road), which heads into the open countryside north of Baltimore. Within this interchange, I-83 forms a concurrency with I-695 and the roadway widens to ten lanes, with six for the Beltway and four for I-83. After running concurrently, I-83 splits from I-695 by heading north on the Harrisburg Expressway at a directional interchange.

Along this portion of I-695, the daily traffic counts range from a high of 228,300 vehicles along the I-83 concurrency to a low of 180,080 vehicles at the interchange with MD 129 in Pikesville in 2007.

I-83 to I-95

Beyond I-83, I-695 turns northeast as a six lane road and heads into Towson, interchanging with Maryland Route 139 (Charles Street). The Baltimore Beltway heads through residential and commercial areas before coming to interchanges with Maryland Route 45 (York Road) near The Shops at Kenilworth and Maryland Route 146 (Dulaney Valley Road). Continuing east, the Baltimore Beltway passes to the north of Goucher College and comes to an interchange with Providence Road. I-695 turns southeast through residential areas past Providence Road and comes to an interchange with Maryland Route 542 (Loch Raven Boulevard) and Cromwell Bridge Road. The road continues towards Parkville, where it comes to a cloverleaf interchange with Maryland Route 41 (Perring Parkway) within commercial areas. The Baltimore Beltway continues through residential areas into Carney, coming to another cloverleaf interchange with Maryland Route 147 (Harford Road). Continuing east into White Marsh, the route encounters the western terminus of Maryland Route 43 (White Marsh Boulevard), a limited-access at-grade boulevard that provides access to White Marsh Mall, US 1 and I-95.

I-695 turns south past MD 43 and interchanges with US 1 (Belair Road) south of White Marsh. The road continues southeast to an interchange with I-95 (John F. Kennedy Memorial Highway) a short distance after US 1 in Rossville. This interchange with I-95 (to east of Baltimore city) is a fully directional interchange where the carriageways of both routes crossed over each other onto the opposite side, then crossed over each other again; at the site of each crossover, left-hand entrance and exit ramps were provided to eliminate the need for directional flyovers. In 2008, interchange reconstruction at the I-95 interchange removed the left-hand entrance from northbound I-95 to westbound I-695 with the remaining left-hand entrances to be removed by August 2009 as part of the construction of the I-95 Express Toll Lane Project; all exits and entrances were now on the right, and I-95's opposing roadways no longer crossed each other (but I-695's still did).

Along this portion of I-695, the daily traffic counts range from a high of 180,930 vehicles at the east end of the I-83 concurrency in Lutherville to a low of 110,143 vehicles at the interchange with I-95 in Rossville in 2007.

I-95 to Curtis Creek

Continuing south, the Baltimore Beltway officially becomes MD 695 again, despite being signed as I-695, and soon encounters Maryland Route 7 (Philadelphia Road). Between I-95 and MD 7, the route’s changes from east–west to north–south. Immediately after MD 7, the route interchanges with US 40 (Pulaski Highway) northwest of Essex near The Centre at Golden Ring. After US 40, I-695 crosses over CSX’s Philadelphia Subdivision and comes to a partial directional interchange with Maryland Route 702 (Southeast Boulevard). At this interchange, I-695 turns south onto the Windlass Freeway, crossing over the Northeast Corridor again within the interchange.

Running south along the Windlass Freeway, parallel to the Northeast Corridor, I-695, now narrowed to four lanes, turns west before making a sharp turn to the south, crossing over the railroad line twice. The road becomes the Patapsco Freeway and continues south to an interchange with Maryland Route 150 (Eastern Avenue) and Maryland Route 157 (Merritt Boulevard) near the Eastpoint Mall. A short distance later, I-695 comes to an interchange with Maryland Route 151 (North Point Boulevard). From here, the route continues southeast along the Back River into residential and industrial Dundalk, interchanging with Cove Road. The route turns south, with the median briefly widening to include trees, before coming to another interchange with MD 151. Past MD 151, the Baltimore Beltway continues southwest through industrial areas, with maintenance switching to the Maryland Transportation Authority at the crossing of a CSX rail line. It comes to an interchange with MD 157 (Peninsula Expressway) and Maryland Route 158 (Bethlehem Boulevard) before heading west. The route runs past the Sparrows Point Industrial Complex before crossing over Bear Creek and interchanging with unsigned Maryland Route 695A (Broening Highway) south of the Dundalk Marine Terminal.

Beyond this interchange, the route comes to two-way toll plaza and ascends onto the Francis Scott Key Bridge, which carries I-695 over the lower Baltimore Harbor and Patapsco River. Unlike the Fort McHenry or Harbor Tunnels, HAZMAT trucks are allowed to cross the Key Bridge. After crossing the Patapsco River over the bridge the route touches down within the Baltimore city limits and continues west through industrial areas. It comes to an interchange with Quarantine Road, which provides access to Maryland Route 173, south of Curtis Bay. By this point, the route’s signage changes from north–south to east–west. Past this interchange, the Baltimore Beltway continues west and returns to the Curtis Creek drawbridges.

Along this portion of I-695, the daily traffic counts range from a high of 99,210 vehicles at the interchange with MD 7 in Rosedale to a low of 21,970 vehicles at exit 42 (MD 151) in Dundalk in 2007.

Exit numbering

As opposed to Interstate 495 (Capital Beltway) around Washington, D.C., on which exit numbers are generally arranged by mileposts counterclockwise starting at the southern crossing of the Potomac River, the exit numbers for the Baltimore Beltway are arranged consecutively clockwise starting at Interchange #1 at Quarantine Rd, west of the Francis Scott Key Bridge crossing of the Patapsco River.


The Baltimore County Planning Commission first conceived the Baltimore Beltway as a county-level roadway project in 1949; by 1953 the project was taken over by the state due to slow progress at the county level. The project was included as part of the Interstate Highway System by 1956, increasing the speed of construction due to federal funds available.

The first part of the Baltimore Beltway to be completed was in December 1955 between MD 25 (Falls Road) and the Harrisburg Expressway (present-day I-83). In 1956, the next portion of the road between the Harrisburg Expressway and MD 45 (York Road) opened. Several more segments of the Baltimore Beltway would be built in the following years, with the section from MD 168 (Nursery Road) to the Glen Burnie Bypass (present-day I-97) opening in 1957; the portions from MD 45 to MD 542 (Loch Raven Boulevard), MD 7 (Old Philadelphia Road) to US 40 (Pulaski Highway), and from MD 168 to US 40 (Baltimore National Pike) opening in 1958; the segment from MD 2 (Ritchie Highway) to the Glen Burnie Bypass completed in 1960; the portion from US 1 (Belair Road) to MD 7 finished in 1961; and the portions from MD 542 to US 1 and from US 40 to MD 25 finished in 1962. At this time, the original length of the Baltimore Beltway, from MD 2 in the south clockwise to US 40 in the northeast, was fully completed and opened to traffic, providing the first Interstate-grade bypass of Baltimore and the first beltway in the United States built under the Interstate Highway System. A segment of the road completed in 1973 ran from MD 10 to MD 2, heading toward the Outer Harbor Crossing.

Windlass and Patapsco freeways

At the northeastern terminus, the Baltimore Beltway was planned to extend southeast along the Back River Neck peninsula and turn south to cross the river near the Essex Skypark Airport, heading towards an outer crossing of the Patapsco River. Part of this alignment was completed south of US 40 in 1972 with a further extension to MD 150 opening as the Southeast Freeway (designated MD 702) by 1975. However, the Baltimore Beltway was diverted to two freeways not planned to be part of it. The first was the Windlass Freeway (Maryland Route 149), a route planned to run from I-95 at Moravia Road northeast to Chase, paralleling US 40 to the south. The other freeway that was incorporated into the Baltimore Beltway was the Patapsco Freeway, a short connector from the Windlass Freeway southeast to the originally-planned Baltimore Beltway. Only the segment of the Windlass Freeway between MD 702 the planned intersection with the Patapsco Freeway south to MD 151 (North Point Boulevard) were constructed, opening to traffic in 1973.

Ramp stubs for the planned Windlass Freeway are present at the proposed west end at I-95 and Moravia Road, and at the present east end at the Southeast Freeway. The junction of the Windlass and Patapsco Freeways was originally built with provisions for extensions of each, but this has since been reconstructed.

Outer Harbor Crossing

The Outer Harbor Crossing is the name given to the segment of the Baltimore Beltway that is maintained by the Maryland Transportation Authority. It consists of the segment of I-695 between Exit 40 (MD 151) and Exit 2 (MD 10), which includes the Francis Scott Key Bridge. The route was originally planned as a two-lane freeway on a four-lane right-of-way, with a two-lane outer harbor tunnel across the Patapsco River. When the tunnel was advertised for construction in 1970, the bids were so high that the decision was made to construct a four-lane bridge instead. The bridge was to feature two-lane approach roads on both sides.

Construction on the Outer Harbor Crossing, including the bridge, started in 1972 and was completed on March 23, 1977, completing the full Baltimore Beltway. The bridge was named the Francis Scott Key Bridge in honor of Francis Scott Key, who wrote "The Star-Spangled Banner," the national anthem of the United States. By the early 1980s, the southern approach to the Key Bridge was dualized, with a second roadway constructed along with a second drawbridge over Curtis Creek. The northern approach was left as a two-lane viaduct in the Sparrows Point area until a four-lane surface freeway was constructed along this portion, with interchanges reconfigured, following an $89.5 million project completed in January 2000. The Outer Harbor Crossing, as well as the entire Baltimore Beltway east of I-95, was first signposted as MD 695 because portions of it were a two-lane expressway not up to Interstate Highway standards. Improvements to the road have allowed the entire Baltimore Beltway to be signed as I-695, even though all of I-695 between the junction of I-95 northeast of Baltimore and I-97 is officially considered MD 695 by the MDSHA.

1999 footbridge collapse

On June 8, 1999, a tractor-trailer carrying a backhoe that exceeded the maximum height requirement struck a pedestrian footbridge over the Baltimore Beltway just northwest of the Interstate 95 junction near Arbutus. The footbridge collapsed onto the inner loop of the Beltway. One driver was killed when his SUV struck the collapsed bridge; six others were injured, three critically. The incident occurred during the afternoon rush hour. The footbridge had been closed to pedestrians since November 1996 due to complaints about vandalism and crime.

McKeldin Beltway

The Beltway was dedicated in honor of former Governor Theodore R. McKeldin in May 2005. McKeldin was responsible for the construction of the Beltway and other state highways during his term. Most Marylanders still refer to the highway as the "Baltimore Beltway," "695," or (mostly among Baltimore metro area residents) simply "The Beltway," like its Washington counterpart.


In March 2009, construction began on the reconstruction of the bridge that carries MD 139 (Charles Street) over I-695. The bridge will be decorative, featuring ornamental street lights. As part of the MD 139 project, the interchange will be reconstructed and the traffic circle at the MD 139/I-695 ramps will be removed and replaced with a traffic signal. This project is expected to cost $50 million and be completed in 2012.

At Exit 33 (I-95/John F. Kennedy Memorial Highway), both highways cross over themselves so that all through traffic is on the left side of the road with left-hand entrance/exit ramps connecting the crossover sections. This interchange is currently being replaced by a more conventional flyover ramp interchange, as part of the I-95 expansion project under construction since 2007, eliminating the left-turn ramps and double crossovers. So far, several ramps have been completed, with the ramp from northbound I-95 to eastbound I-695 completed in September 2008, the ramp from westbound I-695 to northbound I-95 completed in October 2008, the ramp from northbound I-95 to westbound I-695 completed in November 2008 (eliminating the left-hand exit), and the ramp from eastbound I-695 to southbound I-95 was completed in May 2009. The ramps from southbound I-95 to both westbound and eastbound I-695 were completed in June 2009 and the ramp from westbound I-695 to southbound I-695 was completed in July 2009 and the ramp from eastbound I-695 to northbound I-95 opened in August 2009. In addition to rebuilding these ramps, the project will also add four ramps to service the express toll lanes being added to I-95.

There are long-term plans to add express toll lanes to I-695 to ease traffic congestion along the route. In addition, there are also plans to widen the portion of I-695 between I-83 and I-95 to the north of Baltimore. This road, which is to be widened to eight lanes, is currently in the design phase.


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