Tamara Rollison 804-786-2715
Shannon N. Marshall 804-371-6844
Nov. 16, 2012
VDOT LIFTS LANE CLOSURES FOR THANKSGIVING TRAVEL
Online holiday traffic-congestion map will help in trip planning
RICHMOND – The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) has suspended lane closures for most maintenance and construction work on interstates and other major highways during the extended Thanksgiving travel period.
VDOT will lift most lane closures beginning at noon Wednesday, Nov. 21, until noon Monday, Nov. 26. Long-term construction zones will remain in place.
This year, motorists traveling on Interstate 495 (Capital Beltway) in Northern Virginia will have two new high occupancy toll (HOT) lanes in each direction from the Springfield Interchange at Interstate 95 to just north of the Dulles Toll Road. The 495 Express Lanes will open to traffic on Saturday, Nov. 17. Drivers must have an E-ZPass electronic toll-collection device in their cars to use the 495 Express Lanes.
Past Traffic Patterns Predict Peak Holiday Congestion
So motorists can better time their trips to avoid heavy congestion during the peak Thanksgiving travel period (Wednesday, Nov. 21-Sunday, Nov. 25), VDOT has posted detailed maps online showing expected periods of heavy traffic on Virginia’s interstates. VDOT created these maps using traffic information based on vehicle-probe data from the past three years.
The travel-trend maps are at http://people.virginia.edu/~seb4v/TG/Thanksgiving.html. They indicate the varying amounts of interstate traffic by time of day, using red for heavy congestion, yellow for moderate and green for little or no congestion.
To use the map, slide the button along the date bar at the top of the map to update predicted traffic information at half-hour intervals between 7 a.m. and 10 p.m. for each day. You can also zoom and pan to specific areas of the state.
Based on the historic traffic data, the least amount of interstate congestion during the five-day Thanksgiving travel period is likely to occur before noon Wednesday, Nov. 21. The heaviest congestion is likely to occur Sunday, Nov. 25, in the afternoon and evening, with some congestion on Saturday, Nov. 24, evening as well.
While this information indicates trends for delays during the most recent Thanksgiving holiday weekends, it cannot precisely predict congestion levels for this year’s five-day travel period.
Though not indicated on the map, drivers can also expect congestion on Saturday, Nov. 24, on Interstate 81 between Roanoke and Christiansburg because of traffic heading to and from the Virginia-Virginia Tech football game in Blacksburg (game time yet to be determined).
Additional Travel Resources and Information
Before leaving home, call 511 for the latest traffic conditions in Virginia or visit www.511virginia.org to access real-time traffic cameras along major roads. For traffic and road conditions while en route, pull over and call 511. Do not drive distracted! VDOT also has a free 511 mobile app for Android and iPhone platforms, which work on both phones and tablets.
VDOT’s Customer Service Center
Call 800-FOR-ROAD (800-367-7623), VDOT’s Customer Service Center, to report road hazards or ask other road-related questions around the clock.
E-ZPass customers can use their transponders at toll facilities in 13 states, including Virginia. Visit www.ezpassva.com for more information on E-ZPass Virginia.
Move Over Law
Virginia’s Move Over law requires motorists to move to the next lane when approaching vehicles with flashing blue, red or amber lights stopped on the side of the road. If you cannot switch lanes, you must slow down. Click here for more information about the Move Over law and other rules of the road.
HOV Information and Schedules
Northern Virginia High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) Schedule
HOV restrictions on interstates 66, 95 and 395 will be lifted on Thanksgiving, Thursday, Nov. 22.
- Normal HOV restrictions will be in place in the following locations Wednesday, Nov. 21, and Friday, Nov. 23:
Interstate 95/Interstate 395 – From 6 a.m. to 9 a.m., vehicles with three or more people can use the HOV lanes northbound. From 3:30 p.m. to 6 p.m., three or more in a vehicle can use the HOV lanes southbound.
I-66 – East of Interstate 495 (inside Capital Beltway, both lanes): 6:30-9 a.m. eastbound; 4-6:30 p.m. westbound. West of I-495 (outside Beltway, left lane only): 5:30-9:30 a.m. eastbound; 3-7 p.m. westbound.
- Weekend schedule for I-95/I-395 reversible lanes: These lanes will be southbound from 1 p.m. Friday, Nov. 23, until 2 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 24, and northbound from 4 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 24, through the rest of the weekend.
Hampton Roads HOV Schedule and Tunnel Information
- Interstate 64/Interstate 264/Interstate 564 HOV lanes: On Thursday, Nov. 22, and Friday, Nov. 23, HOV restrictions will be lifted on all HOV diamond lanes. HOV lanes are restricted 6 -8 a.m. and 4-6 p.m., Monday through Friday, except on federal highways.
- I-64 reversible lanes will operate on the regular schedule with no HOV restrictions.
- HOV lanes will resume a restricted schedule at 6 a.m. Monday, Nov. 26
Permanent Work Zones and Other Traffic Alerts
Interstate 81: Exit 168 (Arcadia Road) bridge over I-81 closed for replacement; follow detours.
Route 207 westbound bridge over railroad: Closed to traffic. Traffic both directions shifted to eastbound bridge. Motorists restricted to one lane each direction.
Route 47 over Roanoke Creek: Reduced to one lane for bridge repairs; temporary signal in place.
Gilmerton Bridge (U.S. 13/Military Highway): Gilmerton Bridge replacement project will lift overnight closures Wednesday, Nov. 21, and Thursday, Nov. 22. Overnight lane closures (Sunday-Thursday, 8 p.m.-5 a.m.) will resume Sunday, Nov. 25.
Route 7 Business/West Main Street: Constructing Route 636/Mosby Boulevard extension and roundabout. Flagger traffic control.
King George County
U.S. 301 bridge over Rappahannock River: Permanent barrier restricts traffic to one lane each direction on bridge between Caroline and King George counties at Port Royal.
Route 128 West/Candler’s Mountain Road: Both lanes open through Jan. 15, 2013. Barrier in place; detour and left-turn available for mall traffic.
U.S. 29 southbound over Rucker Run: Traffic barrier with 14-foot travel lane and 50 mph speed limit for superstructure replacement.
U.S. 340: Constructing bridge over Compton Creek plus railroad and approaches, 1.4 miles south of Page/Warren county line to 3.5 miles south of Page/Warren county line. Daily lane closures. Speed limit 45 mph.
U.S. 11/U.S. 460: Road widening west of Salem will reduce speed limit to 35 mph in most of work zone.
Interstate 81: Constructing northbound truck-climbing lane, mile marker 195.6 to 202.5.
Route 609/Naked Creek Road: Replacing bridge at intersection of Route 603/Fleeburg Road, Page County. Traffic shifted from existing Route 603 bridge to temporary bridge.
Route 205 (Ridge Road): Road closed to traffic at Tides Mill Creek; traffic detoured onto Longfield Road.
Interstate 77/Interstate 81 overlap: High traffic volumes could slow or stop vehicles through this eight-mile stretch of interstate. Be alert to delays on northbound I-77 at I-81 merge.
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.