Kelly Hannon 540-374-3344


Nov. 20, 2009

Six-year study shows highest congestion times on interstates

RICHMOND — To ease travel during the Thanksgiving holiday, the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) will suspend lane closures for construction and maintenance work on interstate, primary and major secondary routes around the state.

Beginning at noon Wednesday, Nov. 25, until noon Monday, Nov. 30, all travel lanes will be open to traffic. Long-term construction zones with concrete barriers or orange barrels will remain in place. 

To help to take the guesswork out of your holiday travel plans, VDOT always encourages motorists to call 511 or visit for real-time traffic information. 

Since 2003, VDOT has tracked traffic volumes and speeds on Virginia’s interstates during the extended Thanksgiving travel period. It found sharp decreases in average travel speeds consistently occur on Wednesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday afternoons along some of these corridors. Several factors cause travel speed to drop, including incidents, lane closures, weather and, of course, heavy traffic, the focus of this study. 

VDOT’s data targeted longer-distance travel between cities without singling out localized congestion in Hampton Roads, Northern Virginia and Richmond. Drivers wishing to avoid historically congested areas can make subtle changes in their travel times and/or routes based on this information. Here are the links for VDOT’s full holiday travel analysis and expected interstate congestion times and corresponding maps:



Motorists can also use an E-ZPass transponder to drive through toll facilities in the 12 states, including Virginia, that are part of this national toll-collection system. For more information about E-ZPass, visit

Most importantly, VDOT reminds all motorists to follow these simple safety rules:

  • Buckle up        
  • Share the road
  • Drive alcohol and drug free
  • Pay attention in work zones
  • Obey the speed limit
  • Avoid distractions

Work zones that may affect your travel throughout Virginia include:

Bristol District

Interstate 77 and Interstate 81 overlap (Wythe County): High traffic volumes could slow or stop vehicles through this eight-mile section.

Route 23 crossover project (Wise County):  North- and southbound traffic on Route 23 at J.W. Adams Combined School in Wise County has been shifted to the northbound lanes because of construction of a crossover at the school.  Concrete barriers separate single-lane traffic, with a 14-foot width restriction.  Speed limit is 45 mph.

Hampton Roads District

Interstate 64 Hampton Roads Bridge-Tunnel (HRBT): Work on the two-year project to upgrade the lighting in the eastbound tube of the HRBT will not affect holiday travel. Click here for more information on the project.

Interstate 64/Interstate 264 High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) Lanes:

  • Restrictions on HOV-2 diamond lanes are lifted on Thanksgiving Day, Thursday, Nov. 26, and on Friday, Nov. 27.
  • The HOV Reversible Roadway will maintain a regular schedule: eastbound, 1 a.m. to 11 a.m.; westbound 1 p.m. to 11 p.m.

Travel to the Outer Banks: Motorists going to the Outer Banks should use Interstate 664 and the Monitor-Merrimac Memorial Bridge-Tunnel to save time. From I-664 south, take I-64 west

to exit 292, Chesapeake Expressway/I-464/Route 17. Keep left to continue to the Chesapeake Expressway (Route 168), and take exit 291B, Nags Head/Great Bridge, to the Outer Banks.

Lynchburg District

Route 15 over Route15/360 Bypass (Charlotte County): One lane controlled by signal for bridge rehabilitation.

Route 45 between routes 611 and 614 (Cumberland County): Work zone has 35 mph speed limit. Only one lane open 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday with flaggers and pilot vehicles assisting during construction.

Route 92 over Staunton River (Charlotte County): Bridge closed indefinitely at Charlotte/Halifax county line.

Route 460 East (mile marker 262.58 to Nottoway line): 45 mph speed limit in work zone.  Only one lane open from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. during pavement rehabilitation.

Route 602 between routes 889 and 737 (Halifax County): Road closed for bridge replacement.  Detour in place.

Route 707 (Charlotte County): Road closed because of fire that destroyed bridge.

Northern Virginia District

Interstate 66 and Interstate 95/ Interstate 395 high occupancy vehicle (HOV) lanes:  The I-66 and I-95/I-395 lanes will be open to all traffic on Thursday, Nov. 26.

Interstate 95/ Interstate 395 HOV: Lanes will run southbound from noon until 11 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 25. The lanes will run northbound from 1 a.m. Thursday, Nov. 26, until 11 a.m. Friday, Nov. 27. They will run southbound from 1 p.m. Friday, Nov. 27, until Saturday, Nov. 28, at 2 p.m. and will re-open to northbound traffic at 4 p.m. Nov. 28.

Richmond District

Route 360 (Nottoway): Bridge repairs have reduced Route 360 east- and westbound at the Route 460 interchange in Burkeville to one lane in each direction.

Route 60 (Chesterfield/Powhatan): Expect periodic lane closures on Route 60 westbound (Midlothian Turnpike) as crews complete pavement markings, guardrail improvements and signal work as part of the Watkins Center development.

Salem District

Route 58 (Carroll County): Bypass construction has reduced Route 58 to one lane in each direction just west of Hillsville. Speed limit reduced to 35 mph.

Route 220 Business (Henry County): Bridge replacement has closed Route 220 Business between Route 639 and Mica Road. The bridge is located near the Route 87 intersection in Ridgeway. Motorists should seek alternate routes around the closure.

Staunton District

Churchville Avenue (Route 250, Staunton):  The eastbound lane of Church Avenue is closed from North Augusta Street (Route 11) to Albemarle Avenue because of road reconstruction. The eastbound lane will be closed round the clock, but the westbound lane will be open to traffic during construction.  Motorists should follow the posted detour.

Delphine Avenue (Route 340, Waynesboro): Railroad bridge replacement and roadway widening will occur from Route 250 to Delphine Avenue. Delphine Avenue is closed to through traffic between Main Street (Route 250) and Hopeman Parkway. Delphine Avenue is open to local traffic only between Main Street (Route 250) and Seventh Street, and between Hopeman Parkway and Sixth Street. Detours are posted. 

Route 774, Cline River Road, northbound and southbound (New Hope, Augusta County): Work to replace a bridge over Middle River has closed Route 774 between Route 608 (Battlefield Road) and Route 775 (Craig Shop Road). Northbound motorists should take Route 608 to Route 778 (Knightly Mill Road) to Route 775 to Route 774. Southbound traffic can reverse the northbound detour.

Route 794, Sangers Lane, eastbound and westbound (Augusta County): Work to replace a bridge over Christians Creek has closed Route 794 between Route 792 (Basley Road) and Route 642 (Barren Ridge Road). Westbound motorists should take Route 792 south to Route 250 east (Jefferson Highway) to Route 642 north to Route 794. Eastbound traffic can reverse the westbound detour.

Route 623, Coal Mine Road (Shenandoah County): Road closed .04 mile north of Route 55, Wheatfield area, because of work to replace a bridge deck. Detour posted.

Route T1003 (Cadet Road, New Market): Water and sewer line work occurring from Route 211 westbound to Route 1009 (Stuart Street) will close portions of the road to through traffic. 

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.

Page last modified: Oct. 17, 2012