On to Richmond for holidays
Dear Dr. Gridlock:
Thank you for the very helpful article (Holiday road warriors, take note) in the Sunday Washington Post. I would appreciate your providing similar information for those of us who travel to Richmond, and return; as well as Norfolk, and return.
The worst part of these trips is around Fredericksburg -- and I-64 from I-295 to Norfolk and back (depending on the season and day of week).
John Meier, Vienna
Interstate 95 between D.C. and Richmond draws many complaints from southbound holiday travelers. Look at the list of Virginia areas likely to experience heavy congestion on Wednesday and Sunday of Thanksgiving week. You'll see that Richmond routes play a prominent role among them:
-- Interstate 95 between Richmond and the Springfield Interchange
-- I-66 eastbound and westbound in Northern Virginia
-- I-81/I-77 interchange near Wytheville
-- I-81 near Lexington to south of Roanoke
-- I-64/I-95 in the Richmond area
Alternatives to I-95 south
We've discussed several I-95 alternatives, but they don't bring much joy, because holiday drivers still run into congestion, they may find the alternatives complicated and they add miles to many trips.
Leaving the D.C. area and heading south, drivers to the east may prefer Route 301. If they're heading for Norfolk, they can pick up Route 17 in the Port Royal area. (See more below about Route 17.) Or they could stick with 301 all the way down to its junction with I-295 north of Richmond. I-295 will lead them either to I-95 and Richmond or to I-64, the route to Norfolk and the Tidewater area.
Some travelers who live on the western side of the D.C. area take Route 28 from Manassas out to Route 17, but this is a very wide swing west around Quantico. Route 17 takes them back toward Fredericksburg. For a short stretch around Fredericksburg, Route 17 joins with I-95, then it splits again to join Route 1, then heads off east, passing to the north of Fort A.P. Hill, crossing Route 301, passing through Yorktown and crossing I-64 in the Newport News area and on to Norfolk.
Some driving tips
The Virginia Department of Transportation lifts the HOV restrictions on Thanksgiving Day. The department also pulls up the orange cones and stops construction around the holidays, but that doesn't affect long-term features such as concrete barriers and lane shifts, such as those you see around the Capital Beltway's Telegraph Road interchange, the HOT lanes construction zone on the western side of the Beltway and the Fairfax County Parkway work zone in Newington.
On I-95, a fourth lane has been added in each direction between Route 1 and the Fairfax County Parkway.
By calling 511 in Virginia or visiting 511virginia.org, people can get directions and information about traffic incidents, bridges and tunnels and road construction.
What would you add?
It seems to me there aren't too many options on the coastal routes south. It's a narrow corridor, compared to the Northeast corridor that so many other travelers ask about. Am I missing some worthwhile advice for trips south?
| November 16, 2010; 9:45 AM ET
Categories: Driving, Events, Getaways | Tags: Dr. Gridlock, travel tips
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