US 301:


Segment Type of Highway Designated Arterial System?
North Carolina state line to Petersburg 2-lane road with brief segments of 4-lane arterial NO
Petersburg to Richmond Boulevard NO
I-295 to 2 miles north of I-295 4-lane Arterial NO
2 miles north of I-295 north of Richmond to three miles south of the Bowling Green Bypass 2-lane road NO
3 miles south of the Bowling Green Bypass to the Bypass 4-lane Arterial NO
Bowling Green Bypass 4-lane Expressway YES
Bowling Green Bypass to 1.1 miles north of the Bypass 4-lane Arterial YES
Through Fort A. P. Hill to 1 mile south of US 17 at Port Royal 4-lane Expressway YES
Through Port Royal 4-lane Boulevard YES
Port Royal to the Maryland state line 4-lane Arterial YES

Detailed Description:
Superceded by its counterpart I-95 through the southern part of Virginia, US 301 was one of the two main roads to Florida from the Northeast (along with US 1) before I-95 was constructed. US 301 has some interesting stretches between the NC/VA line and Petersburg where most of the route is closely parallel to I-95. Much of US 301 between Emporia to I-295 junction had been constructed as a 4 lane highway before I-95 came into play. The construction of I-95 forced US 301 onto a parallel 2 lane frontage road, stealing most of its 4 lane segments through southern Virginia. Further north, US 301 cosigns with US 1 as a crowded 4-6 lane boulevard for nearly 40 miles from Petersburg to Richmond.

North of Richmond, US 301 gradually edges away from I-95 as a desolate 2-lane highway. Despite being only two lanes, this stretch is a great alternate route to avoid the aggravating I-95 stretch between Richmond and Baltimore. After meeting the VA 207 expressway / arterial that connects Bowling Green to I-95, US 301 turns to a more northeasterly path as a 4 lane expressway / arterial past Bowling Green towards the Potomac River into Maryland.

On the way, it passes through Caroline County, famous for being the birthplace of explorer William Clark. US 301 serves the towns of Bowling Green and Port Royal and the military installation of Fort A. P. Hill. The National Register of Historic Places recognized the town of Bowling Green in 2003 for its Colonial and Greek Revival buildings dating back as far as the late 1700s. Today, the town serves as the county seat for Caroline County and has 766 residents. The Port Royal Historic District has federal-style residences dating back as far as the early 1700s and was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1970. Today, the town has 204 residents. Fort A. P. Hill, a training and maneuver center focused on providing realistic joint and combined arms training. The installation has also hosted the Boy Scouts of America National Jamboree in 1981, 1985, 1989, 1993, 1997 and 2001, with the next Jamboree taking place in 2005. The number of participants each time included approximately 35,000 Boy Scouts and some 250,000 visitors. The military base is named after a distinguished Confederate soldier.

US 301 is four lanes or more from Bowling Green to the Delaware / Maryland state line, with the exception of the 2-lane bridge over the Potomac River.


History: (courtesy of Mike Roberson - click here for more detail)

  • Richmond to Bowling Green - In March 1955, this segment was officially proposed to be upgraded to a freeway / expressway. After I-95 was proposed along the US 1 corridor only a few miles to the west, this proposal was cancelled in March 1958. Plans were then proposed to widen existing US 301 to four lanes from Richmond to Bowling Greens. This proposal was included in the 10-year plan published in 1972, but is not currently an active proposal. Virginia highway expert Scott Kozel describes why the 4-lane highway was never built: I don't have the official reason for why the rest of that segment of US-301 was not 4-laned, but I would surmise the modest traffic volumes on that segment of US-301 was the reason, and that the 6-lane widening projects on 58 miles of I-95 between VA-54 at Ashland and VA-619 at Triangle (the only original 4-lane section of I-95 between Richmond and Washington), built between 1980 and 1987, helped keep north-south traffic in that area focused on I-95. Despite the fact that the 4-lane highway was not built in its entirety, two short segments were constructed. The contract was let for that 4-lane Arterial segment from the Bowling Green Bypass to three miles south of the Bowling Green Bypass in July 1969. The segment just north of I-295 was 4-laned at the same time that I-295 was built, in the time period of the late 1970s or early 1980s.

  • Bowling Green Bypass - A public meeting was held on August 3, 1964. VDOT officially adopted the bypass routing in January 1965. Construction began in 1966.

  • Bowling Green to Rappahannock River Bridge - Construction began on this highway, which includes expressway, arterial, and boulevard segments, began in 1966.

  • Rappahannock River Bridge - The 4-lane bridge opened in 1978. The original 2-lane bridge had an overhead truss design and a swingspan with about 15 feet of clearance over the river channel.

  • Rappahannock River to VA 3 - Construction began on the 4-lane Arterial in 1964.

  • VA 3 to the Potomac River - Construction began on the 4-lane Arterial in 1962.

Junction Log (I-295 to Maryland State Line):

Junction Type of Access Highway Type at Junction Location
I-295 Cloverleaf Interchange Boulevard to 4-lane Arterial Yellow Tavern

US 301 becomes a desolate 2-lane road north to Bowling Green.

VA 54 At-grade 2-lane Road Hanover County

Enter Caroline County, Leave Hanover County

VA 30 Signal 2-lane Road Dawn
US 301 Business / VA 2 / VA 207 Intersection with ramps (US 301 makes a right turn onto the expressway, which continues west as VA 207) Arterial to Expressway Bowling Green
Chase St At-grade Expressway Bowling Green
Courthouse Ln / Clark St At-grade Expressway Bowling Green
US 301 Business At-grade Expressway to 4-lane Arterial Bowling Green
A. P. Hill Drive At-grade 4-lane Arterial to Expressway Fort AP Hill
Lewis Memorial Rd At-grade Expressway Fort AP Hil

US 301 transitions from an expressway to a boulevard about 1 mile south of US 17.

US 17 Signal  Boulevard Port Royal

Enter King George County, Leave Caroline County

VA 3 Signal 4-lane Arterial Jersey
VA 205 Signal 4-lane Arterial Edgehill
VA 218 Signal 4-lane Arterial Owens
VA 206 Signal 4-lane Arterial Dahlgren
SR 614 Signal 4-lane Arterial Dahlgren

Enter Charles County, MD - Leave King George County, VA


Lou Corsaro is the primary author for the page, with help from Eric Smith. The following additional sources were used: Scott Kozel, Mike Roberson, Adam Froehlig, Fort A. P. Hill, National Register of Historic Places, Caroline County.


Last Updated: 11/1/04

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