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Posted at 9:00 AM ET, 11/24/2010

Travelers and commuters hit the road

By Mark Berman
Mark Berman

9:05 A.M. UPDATE:

The Outer Loop lanes remain blocked at the Georgetown Pike, so there is still bad congestion at the American Legion Bridge and back beyond River Road. Expect big, big delays in that area. Things are still very clear once you pass the Georgetown Pike.

Meanwhile, travelers continue to stream out of town for the holiday. We have a big roundup of information at our Transportation page, so you should check that out before heading out. Check back here throughout the day for more information and updates.

Here's some other things you might need to know before heading out:

Weather
Chilly, breezy and sunny.

Taking Metro to the Airport
Take the Yellow and Blue lines to reach Reagan National Airport. If your destination is BWI Marshall Airport, take the Green Line to Greenbelt Station and board the B30 bus. The one-way fare is now $6. (Note that MARC and Amtrak trains from Union Station stop at the BWI Airport Station, where you can board a free shuttle to the airport terminal.)

Those heading for Dulles International Airport can take an Orange Line train to the West Falls Church Station and board a Washington Flyer bus to the airport terminal. Or they can take the 5A Metrobus from L'Enfant Plaza or Rosslyn stations. The bus fare is $6.

Dealing with Thanksgiving Airport Security
Check out Derek Kravitz's tips for approaching the airports. Short version: Peak travel times are expected to be 5:30 to 8 a.m., 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. and again from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. Arrive at least two hours before a domestic flight and three hours before an international one.

About Those New Scanners/Security Measures
Here's what to expect from those.

Bottlenecks
Yeah, I-95 is going to be a grim nightmare in Delaware. There are some ways to avoid that area, but they might not necessarily be congestion-free; you'll just avoid the frustration of spending hours waiting for one toll plaza. Your call.

Updates will be available through the agency's Twitter account, @DelwareDOT, and on WTMC 1380 AM radio. The agency also has an interactive traffic map that you can check before leaving home.

Meanwhile, here are some spots where you might find congestion in Virginia (not a comprehensive list, but places to look out for):

-- 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

Virginia Lane Closures Lifted
The Virginia Department of Transportation plans to lift all temporary lane closures beginning at noon today through noon Monday, Nov 29. Officials say drivers should plan to begin their travels before noon today to avoid most traffic. The agency has collected data going back seven years that shows when the busiest travel times are. The busiest time is expected to be noon to 8 p.m. today.

VDOT plans to lift HOV restrictions on I-66, I-95 and I-395 on Thanksgiving Day, but the limits will be in effect today and on Friday.

8:35 A.M. UPDATE:

The two Outer Loop lanes remain closed. This is utterly snarling things for traffic moving from Maryland into Virginia via the American Legion Bridge, and traffic cameras show delays back beyond River Road. The good news is that things clear up once you pass Georgetown Pike, but expect big delays due to this.

8:15 A.M. UPDATE:

An accident on the Outer Loop near the Georgetown Pike in Virginia is blocking the left two lanes, so expect big delays if you're near that area.

7:50 A.M. UPDATE:

-- There are some delays on the Outer Loop near S. Van Dorn Street after an earlier accident, which is blocking the right shoulder.

-- And there are backups in the same area on the Inner Loop for traffic near S. Van Dorn Street.

-- The Inner Loop is also a bit backed up near I-66.

7:25 A.M. UPDATE:

-- The I-95 South lanes have reopened near Sandy Spring Road.

-- I-395 North is still pretty jammed up at Glebe Road and near Duke Street.

-- We've gotten some pretty positive traffic reports so far. One report said traffic on the Beltway was noticeably lighter than usual in the morning. So unless I have just jinxed you and caused big delays, that's worth noting.

7 A.M. UPDATE:

-- An accident on I-95 South before Sandy Spring Road is blocking two southbound lanes.

-- Heading north on I-95? Now would be a good time, because traffic is light in Delaware.

-- I-395 North is pretty jammed up at Glebe Road.

6:35 A.M. UPDATE:

The unit block of Delaware Avenue SW remains blocked, but closures have reopened at South Capitol and D streets, South Capitol and C streets and Washington and Independence avenues.

6:20 A.M. UPDATE:

Some road closures at intersections just south of the Capitol: South Capitol and D streets, South Capitol and C streets, Washington and Independence avenues and the unit block of Delaware Avenue all in Southwest.

ORIGINAL POST:

Today's a big, big commute for a lot of you out there. Plenty of people are heading out of town for the holiday, meaning big crowds at the airports and lots of folks on the road. And there are also plenty of working stiffs still heading to the office, which means we'll have a lot of folks traveling today.

We'll be posting updates throughout the morning, so check back here before you head out to see what's going on. And make sure to let us know if you see or hear of anything your fellow travelers should know about -- leave a comment below, Tweet us @drgridlock or e-mail us at Transportation [at] washpost [dot] com.

We have a big roundup of information at our Transportation page, so you should check that out before heading out.

Weather
Chilly, breezy and sunny.

Taking Metro to the Airport
Take the Yellow and Blue lines to reach Reagan National Airport. If your destination is BWI Marshall Airport, take the Green Line to Greenbelt Station and board the B30 bus. The one-way fare is now $6. (Note that MARC and Amtrak trains from Union Station stop at the BWI Airport Station, where you can board a free shuttle to the airport terminal.)

Those heading for Dulles International Airport can take an Orange Line train to the West Falls Church Station and board a Washington Flyer bus to the airport terminal. Or they can take the 5A Metrobus from L'Enfant Plaza or Rosslyn stations. The bus fare is $6.

Dealing with Thanksgiving Airport Security
Check out Derek Kravitz's tips for approaching the airports. Short version: Peak travel times are expected to be 5:30 to 8 a.m., 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. and again from 3:30 to 5:30 p.m. Arrive at least two hours before a domestic flight and three hours before an international one.

About Those New Scanners/Security Measures
Here's what to expect from those.

Bottlenecks
Yeah, I-95 is going to be a grim nightmare in Delaware. There are some ways to avoid that area, but they might not necessarily be congestion-free; you'll just avoid the frustration of spending hours waiting for one toll plaza. Your call.

Updates will be available through the agency's Twitter account, @DelwareDOT, and on WTMC 1380 AM radio. The agency also has an interactive traffic map that you can check before leaving home.

Meanwhile, here are some spots where you might find congestion in Virginia (not a comprehensive list, but places to look out for):

-- 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

Virginia Lane Closures Lifted
The Virginia Department of Transportation plans to lift all temporary lane closures beginning at noon today through noon Monday, Nov 29. Officials say drivers should plan to begin their travels before noon today to avoid most traffic. The agency has collected data going back seven years that shows when the busiest travel times are. The busiest time is expected to be noon to 8 p.m. today.

VDOT plans to lift HOV restrictions on I-66, I-95 and I-395 on Thanksgiving Day, but the limits will be in effect today and on Friday.

By Mark Berman  | November 24, 2010; 9:00 AM ET
Categories:  Advisories, Airports, Getaways  
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Next: Thanksgiving travel 2010

Comments

Something I just thought of for Dr. Gridlock or anyone else on the blog staff:

Everyone's been focused on today and the traffic mess. Something that I think has been widely overlooked is that the Redskins play a home game this Sunday at 1:00 PM. The Sunday after Thanksgiving is bad enough on its own, and lots of out-of-area drivers don't know that they can take the western side of the Beltway and will thus wind up mixing with the football traffic.

Posted by: 1995hoo | November 24, 2010 9:34 AM | Report abuse

From Dr. Gridlock: Excellent point about game at FedEx, 1995hoo. I'll enter that as an addition to one of the postings we're highlighting today and then remind everybody when I do "The week ahead" posting.

Posted by: Dr_Gridlock | November 24, 2010 10:13 AM | Report abuse

In Massachusetts one of the big back ups is the toll leaving the pike to get onto I84. When the lines get too long the toll booths quit collecting and just let traffic through. Why can't Delaware do the same thing to ease the travel time of so many?

Posted by: mmad2 | November 24, 2010 11:50 AM | Report abuse

"In Massachusetts one of the big back ups is the toll leaving the pike to get onto I84. When the lines get too long the toll booths quit collecting and just let traffic through. Why can't Delaware do the same thing to ease the travel time of so many?"

They can do it, but they choose not to because it's too big of a cash cow for the state. Highway tolls are a big part of the reason why Delaware manages not to have a sales tax.

Posted by: 1995hoo | November 24, 2010 11:55 AM | Report abuse

I'm listening to WTOP while I work and they just had a story about the Delaware toll plaza. It seems AAA asked Delaware to consider lifting the toll today, but the DOT responded that state law allows lifting the tolls only when there is an "emergency." Traffic isn't considered an emergency. They interviewed some guy from the Delaware DOT who said that expectations of a 15-mile backup are overly optimistic and that he expects backups of more than 20 miles.

Posted by: 1995hoo | November 24, 2010 1:12 PM | Report abuse

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