The capital beltway, a road that encircles Washington, D.C. passing through the suburbs of Maryland and Virginia. It features four of the top 18 most congested interchanges in the US. Not a fun place to drive. (Unfortunately I have to on a semi-regular basis) At least two parts of this loop are under construction at all times, and they've just started a project to "fix" the interchange of I-95 at I-495 and I-395 known as the "Mixing Bowl". This construction will take approximately 12 years to complete, and when finished there will be one stretch of road that's 21 lanes wide. Is this progress?

Also the region of the worst drivers I have ever seen. I have been all over the country and driven in Asia (mindfuck), and I-495 is the most godawful place to put a car that I can imagine.

It rained today. Not hard, not a lot, just a short thunderstorm passing through. People pulled over for it. Not always all the way off the road, and not always where they was an actual shoulder.
On the highway I actually followed a minivan for five miles at 40 mph after it had stopped raining! The sun was shining. I was wearing my sunglasses. We were in the left most lane!

Slower traffic keep right!

I can't wait to move from here.

Forget the signs on the route markers which read "Inner Loop" and "Outer Loop", just in case you don't understand the concept.

Forget the fact that the traffic reporters never seem to report on the backup that you're in until you're a mile past the spot where it cleared out. (And forget the fact that half of the backups have no clear reason for existing.)

No, the real woes of the Capital Beltway can be summed up by something that a Washington Post columnist, Bob Levey, wrote about it a couple of years ago: he rated driving the Beltway a worse experience than Highway One in Vietnam while under mortar attack and dodging land mines. Of course, these days, you have a small but measurable chance of having to dodge small-arms fire...

I-495 is also the name of a highway in the NYC area. Known to locals as the Long Island Expressway or LIE, it can have some of the worst rush hour traffic in the area as all the Yuppies drive their SUVs out of Manhattan because they're just too good for the subway and/or the more comfortable Long Island Railroad. Expressway is really a misnomer here.

The Eisenhower Interstate System permits bypass and spur highway numbers to be recycled from state to state, so the most you can say about Interstate 495 without a further referrent is that it is supposedly a beltway forming a loop with Interstate 95 and allowing you to bypass a city or something else worth bypassing. By its very nature, 495 is going to be one of the more significant roads to people trying to go any distance in the vicinity of one, so each has its own distinct character that locals will merrily natter on about. There are five instances of the class Interstate 495 in six states at present, at least according to the inimitable Federal Highway System Route Log at and the AARoads guide at

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