Part 1; the history of Interstate 495
During 1948 the Wilmington Transportation Study proposed two limited access corridors to connect from Wilmington to the Pennsylvania State Line. The first corridor would have followed what is now Interstate 95 (Plan A) whereas the second followed what is now modern Interstate 495 (Plan B) as a bypass of Wilmington. By 1950 Plan A was selected as a limited access corridor from downtown Wilmington to the Pennsylvania State Line.
On June 29th, 1956, the Federal Highway Aid Act of 1956 was signed into law on the Federal Level. The Federal Highway Aid Act of 1956 was the genesis point of the Interstate Highway System and established the corridor of Federal Aid-Interstate #3. Federal Aid-Interstate #3 would go through the process of design during 1960 and be assigned the designation of Interstate 495 during 1962.
Construction of Interstate 495 would commence during 1968. The Christina River Bridge would be completed by 1975 and first completed segment of Interstate 495 between US Route 13 to Interstate 95 in Claymont would open during 1976. During June 1977 the remainder of Interstate 495 would open to traffic.
On June 28, 1978, the AASHTO approved realigning Interstate 95 onto Interstate 495. Existing Interstate 95 through Wilmington was requested to be designated as Interstate 595. The justification for moving Interstate 95 to Interstate 495 was the higher capacity of the then new freeway bypass which had been completed during 1977. A secondary justification is noted to be the reconstruction of Interstate 95 through Wilmington. The designation of existing Interstate 95 through Wilmington as Interstate 595 was deferred by the AASHTO in favor of designating a suggested even numbered three-digit Interstate.
What had been Interstate 95 through Wilmington was approved to be signed as Interstate 195 and Interstate 395 by the AASHTO on October 27, 1978. Interstate 395 was to be designated from US Route 202 in Wilmington to what had been the Interstate 495 interchange near the Pennsylvania State Line. Interstate 195 was to be designated from what was the southern Interstate 495 interchange to Delaware Route 141 in Wilmington.
Interstate 195 and Interstate 395 through Wilmington were approved by the AASHTO to be renumbered to Interstate 895 on June 26, 1979.
Interstate 95 was redesignated along the corridor of Interstate 895 by the AASHTO on November 15, 1980. Likewise, the corridor Interstate 495 was restored to what had been briefly designated as Interstate 95. The justification for restoring the corridor of Interstate 95 was that the project through Wilmington had been completed.
During June 2014 the Christina River Bridge on Interstate 495 was closed for emergency repairs after tilting support columns were discovered. The southbound lanes of Interstate 495 would reopen on July 31st whereas the northbound lanes would reopen on August 23th.
Part 2; a drive on Interstate 495
South of Wilmington, Interstate 495 splits from northbound Interstate 95 via a right-hand transition. Traffic headed to Philadelphia and the Port of Wilmington are directed onto Interstate 495.