Tamara Rollison 804-786-2715
Nov. 22, 2013
VDOT TO LIFT LANE CLOSURES FOR THANKSGIVING TRAVEL
Use 511Virginia, travel-trend maps to plan your trip and avoid congestion
RICHMOND – The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) is lifting lane closures during the five-day Thanksgiving travel period to keep interstates and highways clear for motorists as they travel to their holiday destinations.
VDOT will lift lane closures on most interstates and other major roads in Virginia from noon Wednesday, Nov. 27, until noon Monday, Dec. 2.
More than 43 million Americans were expected to travel at least 50 miles from home for Thanksgiving last year, and approximately 90 percent of those travelers went by road. The same or greater numbers are likely again this year.
“Thanksgiving is a time many of us travel to spend time with family and friends, and in so doing share the road with millions of fellow motorists along the way,” said VDOT Commissioner Greg Whirley. “Please be courteous to one another as you drive, and do your part to keep our highways safe. Plan ahead, start your trip well rested and take breaks when you need them.”
Motorists needing a safe place to rest, make a call, text or use their mobile device to update family and friends on their arrival status should look for the “GEICO Safe Phone Zone” signs on Virginia’s interstates. Stop at one of Virginia’s 43 safety rest areas and welcome centers, where GEICO sponsors safe phone zones.
Travel-Trend Map Shows When, Where to Avoid Peak Congestion
Want to avoid peak congestion times this Thanksgiving holiday? Motorists can plan their arrival and departure times over the five-day travel period by using VDOT’s past traffic-trends map for Virginia interstates.
VDOT has posted maps online that show peak congestion periods on Virginia interstates over the three previous Thanksgiving holidays (2010-2012). Mobile devices can also view a specially-designed version of the maps, so motorists can consult the trends on the go.
The travel-trend maps are at http://people.virginia.edu/~seb4v/Thanksgiving2013/
The maps indicate varying amounts of interstate traffic by time of day, using red for heavy congestion, yellow for moderate congestion 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 also can zoom and pan to specific areas of the state.
Based on the traffic data, periods of heavy congestion on the most recent Thanksgiving weeks were most likely to occur:
- After noon on Wednesday
- After noon on Saturday and Sunday
While the maps show trends for delays during the most recent Thanksgivings, it cannot precisely predict congestion levels for this year’s travel period.
Driver Safety Tips
VDOT encourages all motorists to prevent highway crashes by following these five safety tips while driving:
- Buckle up
- Avoid distractions
- Share the road
- Drive drug- and alcohol-free
- Obey speed limits
Know before you go by getting real-time information on traffic incidents and congestion on Virginia roads by using VDOT’s 511 free mobile app or the 511Virginia website and phone system.
511Virginia allows users to view real-time traffic cameras and see estimated travel times, electronic message signs and traffic maps, which can help travelers plan their routes accordingly.
Additional Travel Resources and Information:
511Virginia – Get real-time information on traffic incidents and congestion on Virginia roads by using VDOT’s 511 free mobile app or the 511 Virginia website and phone system. 511 allows you to view real-time traffic cameras and see estimated travel times, electronic message signs and traffic maps.
Customer Service Center – To report a road hazard or to get answers to your transportation question, call VDOT’s Customer Service Center at 800-FOR-ROAD (800-367-7623) around the clock.
Social Media – Lane closures and incident reports available on 511 also are communicated through VDOT’s 511 Twitter feeds, targeted for different regions and specific interstate corridors. Visit www.virginiadot.org/newsroom/vdot_twitter_feeds.asp for a list of VDOT’s regional and 511 Twitter feeds. VDOT’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/VirginiaDOT is also updated with statewide travel and transportation news.
Move Over Law – Virginia’s “Move Over” law requires motorists to move to the next lane, if possible, when approaching vehicles with flashing blue, red or amber lights stopped on the side of the road. More information about the Move Over law and other rules of the road is available at http://www.virginiadot.org/travel/move_it_move_over.asp.
E-ZPass – Virginia belongs to the E-ZPass electronic toll-collection network. E-ZPass customers can use their transponders at toll facilities in Virginia and 14 other states. For more information on E-ZPass, visit www.ezpassva.com.
NORTHERN VIRGINIA HIGH OCCUPANCY VEHICLE SCHEDULE:
- High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) restrictions on interstates 66, 95 and 395 will be lifted on Thanksgiving, Thursday, Nov. 28. Normal HOV restrictions will be in place on Wednesday, Nov. 27, and Friday, Nov. 29.
- Direction schedule for I-95/I-395 reversible lanes: Lanes will be southbound from 1 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 27, until midnight Thursday, Nov. 28. Lanes reopen northbound by 2 a.m. Thursday, Nov. 28, and will remain northbound through 11 a.m. Friday, Nov. 29. Lanes will reopen southbound by 1 p.m. Friday, Nov. 29, and remain southbound through 2 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 30. Lanes will reopen northbound by 4 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 30, and continue northbound for the remainder of the weekend.
I-95 Express Lanes construction: VDOT will restrict lane closures on I-95 in the Express Lanes work zone from 3:30 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 26, to Monday, Dec. 2, at noon.
HAMPTON ROADS HOV SCHEDULE, TUNNELS AND OTHER INFORMATION:
- Interstate 64/Interstate 264/Interstate 564 HOV diamond lanes: On Thanksgiving, Thursday, Nov. 28, HOV restrictions will be lifted on all HOV diamond lanes. Normal HOV restrictions will be in place on Wednesday, Nov. 27, and Friday, Nov. 29.
- I-64 reversible lanes: Lanes will operate on the regular schedule with no HOV restrictions.
Interstate 64 Hampton Roads Bridge-Tunnel (HRBT): Motorists traveling to Virginia Beach are encouraged to use the Interstate 664 Monitor-Merrimac Memorial Bridge-Tunnel (MMMBT) as an alternative to the HRBT. To Virginia Beach, take I-664 south to the MMMBT. Then take the Portsmouth/Norfolk exit (exit 15A) to Interstate 264 east to Virginia Beach.
Highway Advisory Radio (HAR): Tune to 1680 AM to stay informed on Hampton Roads traffic and travel conditions and construction information.
WORK ZONES AND OTHER TRAFFIC ALERTS
While VDOT will lift most lane closures during the five-day Thanksgiving holiday period, motorists may encounter permanent work zones or travel delays in the following locations:
Route 29: Reconstructing bridge over Buffalo River. Traffic both directions using southbound lanes. Speed limit reduced to 50 mph. Detour has a 12-foot lane width, with 16 feet between median curb and bridge parapet northbound, and 19 feet between median curb and bridge parapet southbound.
Route 60: Reconstructing bridge over Buffalo River. Detour (22 feet wide) with temporary signal and 25 mph speed limit.
Charles City/New Kent county line
Route 618 (Adkins Road): Bridge closed at Charles City-New Kent county line to replace bridge deck.
Route 47: Repairing deck on bridge over Roanoke River. Alternating lane closures.
Gilmerton Bridge (Route 13/Military Highway): Overnight closures lifted, Wednesday, Nov. 27, and Thursday, Nov. 28. Overnight lane closures (Sunday-Thursday, 8 p.m.-5 a.m.) will resume Sunday, Dec. 1.
Route 605 (River Road): Road closed at Route 604 (Hanover Town Road) to replace pipe. Detour in place.
Hanover/Henrico county line
Route 360 – Hanover, Henrico counties: Replacing four bridges over Chickahominy River on Mechanicsville Turnpike between Elm Drive and Springdale Road. Left lanes closed each direction. Expect additional periodic lane closures.
Mathews/Middlesex county line
Route 3 –: Rehabilitating John Andrew Twigg Bridge over Piankatank River. One lane closed on structure. Vehicles will use other single lane, with temporary signal controlling traffic, both directions. Route 3, John Andrew Twigg Bridge: Single lane closure on Twigg Bridge over Piankatank River for maintenance. Vehicles will use single lane both directions with temporary signal controlling traffic.
Route 29 – Nelson County: Reconstructing southbound bridge over Rockfish River. Twelve-foot-wide detour via routes 6 and 6Y, with temporary signal.
Route 29 Bypass: Northbound passing lane over railroad and Dan River (quarter mile south of Goodyear Boulevard) closed for construction.
Interstate 264, Downtown Tunnel: Overnight tunnel closures lifted Wednesday, Nov. 27, through Sunday, Dec. 1. Overnight closures resume Monday, Dec. 2, starting at 8 p.m.
Prince Edward County
Route 15: (Route 778 to Route 628): Road construction between routes 628 and 778. Expect delays, changes in traffic pattern.
Interstate 581: Improving Elm Avenue interchange. Barriers are in place on north and southbound I-581/Route 220 to reduce traffic under Elm Avenue bridge to two lanes. Changing traffic patterns. Traffic on Elm Avenue is shifted to south side of bridge with through lanes restricted to 11 feet.
Route 11/Route 460: Widening West Main Street to four lanes from Salem city limits to Route 830 (Technology Drive). Expect changing traffic patterns. Speed limit reduced to 35 mph.
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.