Jeffrey Caldwell 804-786-2715
Nov. 19, 2010
VDOT MAKES THANKSGIVING HOLIDAY TRAVEL EASIER
Holiday Traffic Data Available to Plan Your Trip
RICHMOND — The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) is working to make your Thanksgiving travel easier by removing all temporary lane closures and providing round-the-clock traffic information to help you plan your holiday travels. VDOT has also launched an interactive Web map that uses historical traffic data for the Thanksgiving holiday to give you tools to plan your travels around holiday congestion.
LIFTING LANE CLOSURES
Beginning at noon Wednesday, Nov. 24 until noon Monday, Nov. 29, VDOT will remove all temporary lane closures in place for construction or maintenance activities. Any permanent construction barriers will remain in place.
HISTORICAL TRAFFIC DATA SHOWS PEAK HOLIDAY CONGESTION TIMES
If you are traveling this Thanksgiving holiday, you’ll want to hit the road before noon on Wednesday, Nov. 24, to beat most of the traffic. VDOT has collected speed and traffic volume data for major interstates using pavement sensors at 24-hour count sites since April 2003.
Citizens can view this information online to help plan their holiday travel schedule around expected peak congestion times by clicking here.
Data gathered from the last few years shows the heaviest traffic volume on the interstate system will likely occur from noon and 8 p.m. on the day before Thanksgiving. Congestion on the return trip is harder to predict as motorists tend to head home from Friday through Sunday. However, the heaviest traffic volumes are anticipated for Sunday afternoon.
Congestion is measured using pavement sensors by analyzing the average speed and traffic volume for each hour over the course of the day. A drop in speed and corresponding rise in volume indicates a period of congestion due to a traffic incident or heavy traffic volume.
Motorists can expect heavy congestion in the following locations:
- Interstate 95 between Richmond and Interstates 495/395 Springfield Interchange
- Interstate 66 eastbound and westbound in Northern Virginia
- Interstates 81/77 interchange near Wytheville
- I-81 near Lexington to south of Roanoke
- Interstates 64/95 in the Richmond area
This information indicates trends for delays during previous holiday weekends. It is not a prediction of future congestion levels.
Before leaving home, visit www.511Virginia.org to plan your trip. This traveler’s assistance website provides real-time travel information, including delays due to accidents or congestion. You can plan the route for your trip, view real-time traffic cameras, and get information about planned construction that could delay your travels. If you are already on the road, call 511 for the latest travel information.
To report a road hazard or to get answers to your transportation question, you may also now call VDOT’s Customer Service Center at 1-800-FOR-ROAD (1-800-367-7623) around the clock.
SAFE DRIVING TIPS
Finally, VDOT wants everyone to enjoy the holiday season. Motorists can reduce the risk of a crash or serious injury by taking the five-step Highway Safety Challenge and arrive alive:
- Buckle up
- Obey speed limits
- Avoid distractions
- Share the road
- Drive drug- and alcohol-free
ADDITIONAL TRAVEL RESOURCES AND USEFUL INFORMATION:
NORTHERN VIRGINIA HIGH OCCUPANCY VEHICLE (HOV) SCHEDULE
- HOV restrictions on I-66, I-95 and I-395 will be lifted on Thanksgiving Day, Thursday, Nov. 25.
- Normal HOV restrictions remain in effect on Wednesday, Nov. 24 and Friday, Nov. 25:
I-95/395: From 6 a.m. to 9 a.m., three or more in a vehicle can use the lanes northbound. From 3:30 p.m. to 6 p.m., three or more in a vehicle can use the lanes southbound.
I-66: Inside the Beltway, both lanes: 6:30 a.m. to 9 a.m. eastbound; 4 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. westbound. Outside the Beltway, left lane: 5:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. eastbound; 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. westbound.
- Weekend schedule for the I-95/395 reversible lanes: The lanes will be southbound from 1 p.m., Friday Nov. 26 until 2 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 27 and northbound from 4 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 27 through the rest of the weekend.
HAMPTON ROADS HOV SCHEDULE AND TUNNEL INFORMATION
- Interstate 64/ Interstate 264/ Interstate 564 HOV lanes: On Thursday, Nov. 25, and Friday, Nov. 26, HOV restrictions will be lifted on all HOV Diamond lanes. The HOV lanes are restricted 6 a.m.-8 a.m. and 4 p.m.-6 p.m., Monday through Friday, except on federal holidays.
- I-64 reversible lanes will operate regularly and will be open to westbound traffic at 11:30 a.m. and to eastbound traffic from 11:30 p.m. HOV reversible roadway lane directions may shift throughout the holiday weekend, depending on traffic conditions.
HOV lanes will resume a restricted schedule at 6 a.m. Monday, Nov. 29.
- I-564 West Runway Tunnel – Motorists should expect a single lane closure through the I-564 Runway Tunnel for generator refueling operations throughout the holiday weekend, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.
E-Z PASS INFORMATION
E-ZPass customers can use their transponders at toll facilities in 13 states including Virginia. Click here for more information on E-ZPass Virginia,
MOVE OVER LAW
Virginia’s Move Over law requires motorists move to the next lane, when possible, when approaching vehicles with flashing blue, red or amber lights stopped on the side of the road.
Click here for more information about the Move Over law and other rules of the road.
WORK ZONES AND TRAFFIC ALERTS:
Route 29 over Tye River: Route 29 southbound over Tye River closed to traffic. Northbound lanes are open to both northbound and southbound traffic. Be alert to new traffic pattern and 45 mph speed limit.
Interstate 64: Median barrier construction will close one lane in each direction between mile markers 18.5 and 22.5.
Route 616 (Rich Patch Road): One lane closed at Karnes Creek. Traffic controlled by stop sign. A 10-foot width restriction is in place.
Happy Creek Road: Road closed from Polk Avenue to Sixth Street until Nov. 30 to reconstruct Sixth Street intersection. Follow detour signs for alternate route. Work zone speed limit reduced to 25 mph. A section of Happy Creek Road reduced to single lane controlled by signal.
Route 820 (Bergton Road): Work zone located from 1.1 miles to .3 mile west of Route 259 (Brocks Gap Road). Traffic controlled with temporary traffic signals at both ends of construction area.
Interstate 77/Interstate 81 overlap: High traffic volumes could slow or stop vehicles through this eight-mile section in southwest Virginia. Also be alert to delays on northbound I-77 where it merges with I-81.
Information in VDOT news releases was accurate at the time the release was published. For the most current information about projects or programs, please visit the project or program Web pages. You may find those by searching by keyword in the search Virginia DOT box above.