Variable speed limits in northern Virginia aim to ease congestion, help reduce risk of crashes

New variable speed limits in parts of northern Virginia will try to reduce stop-and-go backups and help reduce the risk of crashes, officials say.

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The new LED signs displaying the variable speed limits have been placed along a 15-mile section of northbound Interstate 95 between exit 110 (Ladysmith) and exit 130 (Route 3/Fredericksburg).

A total of 48 speed limit signs have been placed every half-mile to one mile along that corridor, Virginia Department of Transportation officials say, and have been installed in pairs.


The signs will adjust to between 35 mph and 70 mph based on information about real-time traffic conditions and delays on the road ahead. Flashing beacons attached to the signs will be turned on when speed limits are reduced below the maximum limit.

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Officials say the speed limits will be reduced by only 10 mph at a time. They will then hold at that speed for at least a minute so drivers can reduce speeds gradually.

VDOT says vehicle detectors installed along the stretch of highway use radar to collect traffic speed and volume data. A software program sets the speed limits according to traffic volume. Officials say the vehicle detectors do not identify vehicles or gather license plate information. They say the equipment has been in use along northbound I-95 since the fall of 2021.

Elsewhere in the D.C. region, an environmental impact statement was released Tuesday regarding several major construction projects in the D.C. region including widening portions of Interstate 495, replacing the American Legion Bridge, and adding HOV lanes and express lanes to Interstate 270.