Exit 20, Pikesville, Interstate 695 Near Baltimore, Maryland
Interstate 695 (abbreviated I-695) is a 51.46-mile (82.82 km)-long full beltway Interstate Highway extending around Baltimore, Maryland, USA. I-695 is officially designated the McKeldin Beltway, but is colloquially referred to as either the Baltimore Beltway or 695. The route is an auxiliary route of Interstate 95, intersecting that route southwest of Baltimore near Arbutus and northeast of the city near White Marsh. It also intersects other major roads radiating from the Baltimore area, including Interstate 97 near Glen Burnie, the Baltimore–Washington Parkway (Maryland Route 295) near Linthicum, Interstate 70 near Woodlawn, Interstate 795 near Pikesville, and Interstate 83 in the Timonium area. The 19.37-mile (31.17 km) portion of the Baltimore Beltway between I-95 northeast of Baltimore and I-97 south of Baltimore is officially Maryland Route 695, and is not part of the Interstate Highway System, but is signed as I-695. This section of the route includes the Francis Scott Key Bridge that crosses over the Patapsco River. The bridge and its approaches are maintained by the Maryland Transportation Authority while the remainder of the Baltimore Beltway is maintained by the Maryland State Highway Administration.
It was the first beltway in the United States to be built as part of the Interstate Highway System. Plans were made to finish the remainder of the route, with a diversion to the Windlass Freeway and the Patapsco Freeway, opened in 1973, following the cancellation of a more outer route that was to partly follow what is today Maryland Route 702 (Southeast Boulevard). The Outer Harbor Crossing over the Patapsco River, which was dedicated to Francis Scott Key, who wrote The Star-Spangled Banner, and its approaches were finished in 1977, completing the route around Baltimore. The approaches to the bridge were originally two lanes to accommodate a tunnel that was originally proposed to run under the river; in subsequent years, they were upgraded to a four-lane configuration compliant with Interstate Highway standards, allowing for this portion of route to be signed as I-695 rather than MD 695. There are future plans for I-695 that include express toll lanes to ease traffic. In addition, the northeastern interchange with I-95 is currently being reconstructed to accommodate express toll lanes that are to be added to I-95.