RICHMOND, Va. (WTVR) – As we prepare for Thanksgiving the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) is helping commuters out by suspending lane closures for most maintenance and construction work on interstates and other major highways.
These lane closures begin noon Wednesday, Nov. 21, and continue until noon Monday, Nov. 26. Long-term construction zones will remain in place.
If you’re traveling North towards DC 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 open to traffic on Saturday, Nov. 17. Drivers must have an E-ZPass electronic toll-collection device to use the 495 Express Lanes.
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.
You can access these maps by clicking here: http://people.virginia.edu/~seb4v/TG/Thanksgiving.html.
The heaviest congestion is expected 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).
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