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Posted at 8:05 AM ET, 12/23/2010

Current road conditions for getaways

By Mark Berman
Mark Berman

If you're hitting the road to get out of town, we'll be checking in on the major roadways throughout the day with updates. So make sure to check back before you head out for the latest traffic information.

5:10 P.M. UPDATE:

Well, I-395 South is slow from the District for much of the stretch to the Springfield Interchange. This is largely traffic heading out (either heading home or going to I-95), but it's still a slog. Southbound I-395 is particularly jammed up near Glebe Road because of an accident, so avoid the left and center lanes.

I-95 South remains a crawl until after Triangle.

I-66 West is still slow departing the Beltway and on and off through Centreville.

I-95 North is also crawling approaching Baltimore, and once you pass the city it's still pretty slow. Traffic is barely moving over the Maryland-Delaware border and again approaching Wilmington, with delays at the toll for good measure.

4:30 P.M. UPDATE:

There's debris in the road on the inner loop at Cabin John Parkway, as well as an accident blocking the shoulder of the outer loop at Seminary Road. Both of these could cause commuting problems.

Both directions of the Beltway are jam-packed near the American Legion Bridge, but conditions are pretty light in Alexandria east of the Springfield Interchange. That's more than you can say than I-95 South, which is now a mess almost all the way to Stafford.

Meanwhile, there are now delays on I-95 North at Wilmington, for a nice change of pace. There are issues on I-95 North at the toll plaza and for much of the stretch running through Delaware, so expect a lot of congestion as you approach.

3:30 P.M. UPDATE:

The inner loop of the Beltway is jammed up approaching the American Legion Bridge.

I-66 West is pretty slow from the Beltway on to the Fairfax County Parkway.

I-395 North is snarled heading towards the Springfield Interchange.

I-95 South is also snarled from the Beltway on through to Triangle, with traffic barely moving at multiple spots.

I-95 North is very slow approaching Baltimore and heavy after Charm City as well. Once you approach the Maryland-Delaware border, expect very significant delays.

1:45 P.M. UPDATE: The delays in both directions on Interstate 95 -- whether you're headed north through Delaware or South in Virginia -- continue to be heavy with backups of 10 miles or more.

1:15 P.M. UPDATE: The Delaware Department of Transportation warns of major delays at the Newark Toll Plaza. Delays currently extend west into Maryland beyond Route 545.

1 P.M. UPDATE:

The delays on I-95 North in Delaware are very strong once you cross over the Maryland-Delaware border, but they do appear to ease up the farther north you get.

The I-95 South backups in Virginia are still considerable, so if you are heading south expect big, big delays. Things don't look clear on the cameras until you get near Stafford.

12:10 P.M. UPDATE:

If you're heading north on I-95, be warned: As soon as you cross over from Maryland to Delaware, traffic slows right down. Big, big delays just across the border, and there are also delays near Wilmington.

12:05 P.M. UPDATE:

I-95 South remains very backed up, with traffic slow (still moving, but slow) from the Springfield Interchange and all the way down to Triangle. Likely due to this slow-moving slog, I-395 South is also jammed up from Seminary Road on south to the Springfield Interchange.

I-95 North continues to look a little more crowded near Baltimore, slowly adding traffic it'll continue to have all day.

11:30 A.M. UPDATE:

I-95 North is getting more crowded approaching Baltimore, something that's not likely to let up for the rest of the day as more and more people head out. Things aren't heavy, but they aren't as emptier as earlier this morning.

Meanwhile, the delays on I-95 South now start at Montclair.

11:05 A.M. UPDATE:

I-95 South remains really jammed up from the Beltway on south to Woodbridge. Once you pass the Prince William Parkway, it eases up a bit, but there are still big crowds.

I-395 South is also modestly crowded heading towards the Springfield Interchange.

10:35 A.M. UPDATE:

I-95 South remains packed as you head south from the Beltway, with traffic easing a bit after Woodbridge. While there's a bit more traffic on I-95 North to the north of the Beltway en route to Baltimore, it's still very light compared to southbound traffic.

Traffic looks like it's moving smoothly on the Dulles Toll Road.

10 A.M. UPDATE:

I-95 South is now very, very crowded south of the Beltway, so if you are heading out right now, remember that it will take a while.

Traffic becomes pretty heavy shortly after the Beltway, and it seems to slow to a crawl near Lorton. Things move much more smoothly again after Woodbridge, with a decent amount of cars moving right along without any problems.

On I-95 North en route to Baltimore, things look clear right now. And the Beltway also looks pretty clear, albeit slightly more crowded than an hour ago.

9:30 A.M. UPDATE:

The accident has been cleared on I-95 South in Woodbridge, with all lanes reopened at exit 161. Traffic is now moving smoothly at that exit, but backups extend at least to the Fairfax County Parkway.

I-95 North looks fine on both sides of Baltimore, while the roadway's traffic also looks fine right now in Delaware.

9:10 A.M. UPDATE:

The accident on the inner loop at Leesburg Pike/Route 7 has been cleared, so the left lane and northbound entrance ramp have reopened.

8:50 A.M. UPDATE:

With the accident still blocking the right three lanes of I-95 South near exit 161, backups now stretch back nearly to Newington.

8:35 A.M. UPDATE:

The accident on I-95 South near Woodbridge is still blocking the left center lane, right center lane and right lane. Only one lane is getting by, and backups begin as you approach Pohick Road. Head to the left lane as soon as you can, because it's the only one moving as you approach the accident near exit 161. Traffic does smooth out once you pass the accident, however.

Meanwhile, the accident on the inner loop at Leesburg Pike/Route 7 is blocking the left lane and northbound entrance ramp.

8:20 A.M. UPDATE:

Well, I spoke just moments too soon. An accident on I-95 South near Woodbridge is blocking the left center lane, right center lane and right lane. With only one lane getting by, you can expect backups to be significant.

Backups begin in Lorton and clear up right after Woodbridge, as far as we can see on the traffic cameras.

Meanwhile, an accident on the inner loop at Leesburg PikeRoute 7 is blocking the northbound entrance ramp.

ORIGINAL POST:

Today's going to be the biggest getaway day of the week, because a lot of folks have tomorrow off (federal workers and many other employees have off for Christmas Eve). So you're going to see a lot of people looking to start their three-day weekend as early as possible, either by taking off today so they can maximize the weekend or leaving work early to get out of town.

Either way -- we're going to see some big, big crowds heading away from the region in the near future. AAA Mid-Atlantic estimates that 2.2 million people will travel more than 50 miles over the Christmas and New Year's holidays, more people than made such treks last year.

Right now, people hitting the road for their morning commute are sharing space with holiday travelers. (This will happen again later today, between 4 and 7 p.m.) Looking over the area roads right now, the Beltway appears to be very clear in most places, with a decent amount of traffic near Seven Locks Road in Maryland and near Arlington Boulevard in Virginia.

I-95 South appears to be clear from here down to Fredericksburg, so if you are about to head that way you are seeing good conditions. I-66 West is also very clear and open, for you westbound travelers. If you're taking I-95 North towards Baltimore, things look clear from the District through Charm City and beyond.

If you're heading north, don't forget, that bottleneck on I-95 North at the Newark toll plaza in Delaware is still going to be a headache. (That's the same one we warned you about over Thanksgiving.)

If you're heading south, make sure you check out Dr. Gridlock's tips for a southbound trip. And review Dr. Gridlock's discussion with travelers from earlier this week, because he might have touched on a topic that could help you.

By Mark Berman  | December 23, 2010; 8:05 AM ET
Categories:  Driving, Getaways  
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Comments

Thanks for keeping us up to date. I'll be heading north to Long Island on I-95 at around 4:00 p.m., and I'm hoping that everyone else is getting at least a half day off today so that they'll already be at their destinations before I hit the road. And really, that's all I want for Christmas (besides world peace, an end to hunger and illness and poverty, and a winning lottery ticket.)

Posted by: kbockl | December 23, 2010 10:39 AM | Report abuse

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