Shannon N. Marshall 804-371-6844

Nov. 17, 2011

Travelers can use historic holiday traffic data to plan trips, avoid peak congestion times

RICHMOND — To maximize all available travel lanes over the Thanksgiving travel period, the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) will suspend lane closures statewide from noon Wednesday, Nov. 23, until noon Monday, Nov. 28.

The days before and after Thanksgiving traditionally have the highest concentration of vehicle traffic of any holiday period nationwide. Reports this year indicate more travelers are expected to drive during the six-day holiday travel period between Nov. 23 and Nov. 28.

Historic Traffic Data Shows Peak Congestion Times

This year, to help motorists plan the timing of their trips during the Thanksgiving holiday, VDOT has created detailed online maps showing peak travel times from previous years.

Travelers are encouraged to view this information online to plan their holiday travel schedule around expected peak congestion times.

Browse to to view the traffic data maps on VDOT’s website.

VDOT created the maps using speed data provided both by the agency collected from interstate pavement sensors and by INRIX collected from vehicle probe data.

Based on traffic data from previous years, the least amount of interstate congestion during the week of Thanksgiving is likely to exist before noon Wednesday, Nov. 23. The heaviest congestion is likely to occur the afternoon and evening of Sunday, Nov. 27.

Browse to to view a video demonstrating how to use VDOT’s Thanksgiving holiday travel congestion maps.

Historically, these locations are among those that featured the heaviest congestion on Wednesday and Sunday:


  • Interstate 95 north and south between Occoquan and Springfield during the afternoon and evening hours, and south from Dumfries to Fredericksburg in the mid-morning through evening; In the Richmond area, south from just north of the Interstate 295 junction in the morning, afternoon and evening hours; north from just north of I-295 to Doswell in the late morning to afternoon hours. Scattered heavy congestion north and south through the downtown area in the morning, afternoon and evening hours

  • Interstate 95/495 Outer and Inner Loop north and south from Van Dorn Street to Telegraph Road in the afternoon hours

  • I-495 Outer Loop south from the Maryland state line to Tysons Corner from mid-morning through the evening; Inner Loop north near Interstate 66 during the morning, and from Springfield to the American Legion Bridge in the afternoon through evening

  • I-66 east from Nutley Street to just beyond I-495, and from Route 29 to George Mason Drive during the morning; west from Washington, D.C., to Route 123 during the late morning to early evening

  • Interstate 77 north from Castleton Road to I-81 from mid-morning to late evening

  • Interstate 64 east just prior to Interstate 81 in the morning through midday; east in downtown Richmond just prior to the I-95 north interchange; west in downtown Richmond from Route 360 to the I-95 north interchange; east just prior to the Hampton Roads Bridge-Tunnel in the morning and again in the afternoon through evening; east near the Interstate 464 interchange from midday through evening

  • Interstate 64 west, scattered heavy congestion from Indian River Road to the Hampton Roads Bridge-Tunnel in the morning through early evening

  • Interstate 264 east and westscattered heavy congestion through downtown Norfolk and Portsmouth all day

Although not based on historic data, congestion is anticipated Wednesday on Interstate 81 north and southin the vicinity of a lane closure and work zone at Scratch Gravel Road in Marion. 

Traffic engineering reports estimate that congestion could begin six miles before the work zone for southbtraffic, and 3.5 miles before the work zone for north traffic.


  • I-95 north from Parham Road to Ashcake Road in the late morning hours, and scattered heavy congestion north and south from Parham Road to Route 207 in the afternoon and evening; scattered heavy congestion north and south from Spotsylvania County to Springfield from late morning and growing heavier in the afternoon and evening

  • I-95/495 Outer Loop from Telegraph Road to the Maryland state line in the late afternoon and early evening

  • I-495 Outer Loop south from the Maryland state line to Tysons Corner from mid- morning through the afternoon

  • I-66 east scattered heavy congestion from Route 50 to Arlington during the late afternoon and evening

  • I-81 north from Salem to Roanoke in the late morning through the afternoon, with north and south congestion extending in the afternoon through evening from Christiansburg to Danville; north and south along the I-77 overlap between Wytheville and Fort Chiswell during the afternoon to late evening; south from Stuarts Draft to Buena Vista in the late morning, extending as far north as Staunton during the evening; northbound from Buena Vista to Fairfield in the late morning, and extending further south to Glasgow through the afternoon; north and south through the downtown Harrisonburg area during the evening

  • I-77 north and south from Coulson Church Road to I-81 during the late morning hours; scattered heavy congestion north and south from the North Carolina state line to I-81 near Fort Chiswell from early afternoon to evening; south from the Route 52 interchange to the I-81 interchange

While this information indicates trends for delays during previous Thanksgiving holiday weekends, it is not a prediction of future congestion levels.

Congestion is also anticipated Sunday on I-81 north and south in the vicinity of a lane closure and work zone at Scratch Gravel Road in Marion. 

Traffic engineering reports estimate that congestion could begin 11 miles before the work zone for north traffic, and two miles before the work zone for south traffic.

Additional Travel Tools

VDOT has several resources available for travelers to monitor road conditions and traffic incidents in real time as they travel and plan their journey.

For real-time traffic conditions or to view traffic cameras, visit VDOT’s 24-hour travel information website,

511Virginia also is available by calling 511 from any phone in Virginia.

A mobile version of the 511Virginia website, designed for handheld devices, is available at

Remember to pull over when using your mobile phone or have another passenger in your vehicle use the device. Don’t drive distracted.

Lane closures and crash reports available on 511Virginia are also communicated through VDOT’s Twitter accounts, targeted for different parts of Virginia and specific interstate corridors, such as I-95 or I-81. 

Visit for a list of VDOT’s Twitter accounts and how to subscribe.

VDOT’s Facebook page at is updated with statewide travel and transportation news.

To report a road hazard or to get answers to your transportation question, you can call VDOT’s Customer Service Center at 1-800-FOR-ROAD (1-800-367-7623) around the clock.

For information about major long-term construction projects on Virginia’s interstates and primary roads, visit for VDOT’s “Road Construction Ahead” map.


Virginia belongs to the E-ZPass electronic toll-collection network. E-ZPass customers can use their transponders at toll facilities in Virginia and 13 other states. For more information on E-ZPass, visit

Move Over Law

Virginia’s Move Over Law requires motorists to move to the next lane, when possible, when approaching vehicles with flashing blue, red or amber lights stopped on the side of the road.

More information about the Move Over law and other rules of the road is available at


  • HOV restrictions on I-66, I-95 and I-395 will be lifted on Thanksgiving, Thursday, Nov. 24.

  • Normal HOV restrictions will be in place on Wednesday, Nov. 23, and Friday, Nov. 25:

I-95/I-395 – From 6 - 9 a.m., three occupants or more in a vehicle can use the HOV lanes heading north. From 3:30-6 p.m., three occupants or more in a vehicle can use the HOV lanes heading south.

I-66 – Inside the Capital Beltway, both HOV lanes: 6:3 0- 9 a.m. east 4 - 6:30 p.m. west. Outside the Beltway, left HOV lane: 5:30 - 9:30 a.m. east; 3-7 p.m. west.

  • Weekend schedule for the I-95/I-395 reversible lanes: The lanes will be heading south from 1 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 25, until 2 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 26, and heading north from 4 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 26, through the rest of the weekend.


  • Interstate 64/ Interstate 264/Interstate 564 HOV lanes: On Thursday, Nov. 24, and Friday, Nov. 25, HOV restrictions will be lifted on all HOV diamond lanes. The HOV lanes are restricted 6 - 8 a.m. and 4 - 6 p.m., Monday through Friday, except on federal holidays.

  • I-64 reversible lanes will operate regularly and will be open to  traffic headed west at 11:30 a.m. and to traffic headed east from 11:30 p.m. HOV reversible roadway lane directions may shift throughout the holiday weekend, depending on traffic conditions.
  • HOV lanes will resume a restricted schedule at 6 a.m. Monday, Nov. 28.


While most lane closures will be lifted during the Thanksgiving holiday, motorists may encounter permanent work zones or travel delays in the following locations:

Alleghany County

Main Street (Route 60) Smith Creek Bridge Replacement Project: Main Street, westfrom the Ridgeway Street-Commercial Avenue intersection in Clifton Forge, will be closed for bridge construction. West traffic will detour onto Ridgeway Street, which will have two-way traffic both directions. Detour signs are in place through the area using Business Route 60 and West Ridgeway Street.,_clifton_forge_8211_bridge_over_smith_creek.asp

Amherst/Nelson county line

Route 29 at Tye River: Replacing northbound Tye River bridge. South lanes are carrying one lane of traffic each direction.

Campbell County

Route 460, both directions over northbound Route 29 bridges and southbound interchange: Bridge rehabilitation will affect motorists on routes 460 and 29 during overnight hours. Alternating lane closures will occur.

Town of Halifax

Route 360 over Banister River: Bridge and road construction will result in alternating lane closures.

Highland County

Route 250: Replacing Crab Run bridge in McDowell, from east of Route 645 to west of Route 654 (Doe Hill Road). Single-lane traffic with 14-foot width restriction and three-way traffic signal at Route 654 intersection.

Montgomery County

Interstate 81 truck-climbing lanes: The regular weekday blasting schedule on southbound truck-climbing lane project between mile markers 120 and 125 will be altered for holiday travel.  

  • Monday, Nov. 21-Tuesday, Nov. 22: Regular blasting schedule with I-81 south detour onto Route 11/460 at 10:30 a.m.

  • Wednesday, Nov. 23-Friday, Nov. 25: No blasting scheduled.

  • Saturday, Nov. 26-Sunday, Nov. 27: No blasting scheduled on weekends

  • Monday, Nov. 28-Friday, Dec. 2: Regular weekday blasting continues with I-81 south detour onto Route 11/460 at 10:30 a.m.

Nelson County

Route 6/Route 29 intersection bridges over Rockfish River: Bridge rehabilitation projects will result in alternating lane closures.

Richmond City

Midlothian Turnpike (Route 60): One lane each direction will be closed between Chippenham Parkway and Covington Street for drainage and road work.

Roanoke County

Route 11/460: Road widening west of Salem will reduce the speed limit to 35 mph in most of the work zone. Speed limit 25 mph near entrance to Richfield Retirement Community where travel lanes are narrowed for bridge work.

Smyth County

Interstate 81 bridges at Exit 45 over Scratch Gravel Road: Anticipate delays while work is under way to replace portions of bridges over Scratch Gravel Road in Marion. Traffic restricted to one 14-foot travel lane both directions.

Wythe County

Interstate 77/Interstate 81 overlap: High traffic volumes could slow or stop vehicles through this eight-mile section. Be alert to delays on northbound I-77 where it merges with I-81.





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