Tamara Rollison 804-786-2715
June 26, 2012
VDOT PREPARED FOR FOURTH OF JULY HOLIDAY TRAVEL
New travel tools can help motorists declare independence from heavy traffic
RICHMOND — The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) will make room for the higher traffic volumes expected over the Fourth of July holiday by lifting lane closures on Virginia’s interstates and other major roads.
VDOT will lift lane closures from noon Tuesday, July 3, to noon Thursday, July 5.
During a week likely to be among the year’s busiest travel periods, motorists should share the road, obey speed limits, limit distractions and remain alert whenever they are behind the wheel for everyone’s safety.
New VDOT travel tools will make holiday travel in Virginia more predictable this summer. Motorists can use 511Virginia and the new “Reach the Beach” interstate signs in the Hampton Roads region to plan a route that avoids the most congestion.
Once a trip is under way, 511Virginia and the “Reach the Beach” signs can help travelers respond to changing traffic conditions in real time by keeping them updated as they drive.
“We want the public to have access to the same information VDOT has about travel times, traffic congestion, incidents and work zones,” said VDOT Commissioner Greg Whirley. “VDOT has invested in new technology for 511Virginia and ‘Reach the Beach’ to share all we know about what is happening on our roads in a fast, reliable and mobile format.”
VDOT’s free traffic information system is updated regularly 24 hours a day. Motorists can find information three ways:
- Free mobile apps for Android and iPhone platforms, which work on both phones and tablets
- Real-time travel times on interstates and selected primary roads
- Traffic cameras streaming video at 15 frames per second
- Dynamic message signs
- 511Virginia.org now has a Google-based map showing incidents and other traffic information on the main website
- Traffic speeds are displayed for interstate and select primary routes
- Information on dynamic message signs is available
- Motorists can call 511 free from any phone in Virginia to access 511Virginia traffic information
- Improved voice-recognition interface
- Travel times are available.
“Reach the Beach” Signs to the Oceanfront
Headed to the beach? VDOT wants travelers to have current travel times along the interstates leading to Virginia’s beaches before they reach a decision point at an exit ramp.
Look for six new “Reach the Beach” signs and travel times posted at key locations around Hampton Roads, with suggestions for alternate routes.
Motorists are encouraged to use the “Reach the Beach” feature on the 511Virginia website and the VDOT 511 mobile app to get travel times to the Virginia Beach oceanfront and the Chesapeake Expressway (Route 168) to the Outer Banks.
More information on VDOT’s “Reach the Beach” initiative is at http://www.governor.virginia.gov/news/viewRelease.cfm?id=1264.
Additional Travel Resources
Lane closures and crash reports available on 511Virginia also are communicated through VDOT’s Twitter accounts, targeted for different regions of Virginia and specific interstate corridors, such as Interstate 95 or Interstate 81.
Visit www.VirginiaDOT.org for a list of VDOT’s Twitter accounts and how to subscribe.
VDOT’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/VirginiaDOT is updated with statewide travel and transportation news.
To report a road hazard or to get answers to your transportation question, call VDOT’s Customer Service Center at 1-800-FOR-ROAD (1-800-367-7623) any time.
For information about major long-term construction projects on Virginia’s interstates and primary roads, visit http://www.virginiadot.org/travel/major_road_construction_projects.asp for VDOT’s interactive “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 www.ezpassva.com.
Move Over Law
Virginia’s Move Over Law requires motorists to slow down and 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 http://www.virginiadot.org/travel/move_it_move_over.asp.
Northern Virginia High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) Schedule
- HOV restrictions on Interstate 66, Interstate 95 and Interstate 395 will be lifted on Wednesday, July 4. Normal HOV restrictions will be in place on Tuesday, July 3, and Thursday, July 5.
- Northbound/southbound schedule for the I-95/395 reversible lanes: Lanes will be southbound from 1 p.m., Tuesday, July 3, until midnight. On Wednesday, July 4, the lanes will be northbound from 2 a.m. until 7:30 p.m., and southbound from 9 p.m. until 1 a.m. Thursday, July 5. The lanes will reopen northbound by 3 a.m. July 5.
- July 4 event traffic: To accommodate travelers attending Fourth of July events in Washington, D.C., VDOT will coordinate and adjust signal timings at approximately 116 signalized intersections along major arterial roads, including U.S. 1, U.S. 29, U.S. 50 and routes 7, 123, 236 and 244 in Virginia. Signals will be timed to help move traffic into the District of Columbia during the day and then south and west from the city between 9:30 p.m. and midnight.
More information on Northern Virginia HOV schedules can be found here: http://www.virginiadot.org/travel/hov-novasched.asp.
Hampton Roads HOV Schedule, Tunnels and Other Information
- Interstate 64 HOV lanes: On Wednesday, July 4, HOV restrictions will be lifted on I-64. The reversible roadway will operate as normally scheduled and will be open to all westbound traffic from 1 a.m. until 11 a.m. and then to all eastbound traffic from 1 p.m. until 11 p.m.
- I-64 Hampton Roads Bridge-Tunnel (HRBT): Motorists traveling to Virginia Beach are encouraged to use the I-664 Monitor-Merrimac Memorial Bridge-Tunnel (MMMBT) as an alternative to the HRBT. To Virginia Beach, take Interstate 664 south to the MMMBT. Then take the Portsmouth/Norfolk exit (exit 15A) to Interstate 264 east to Virginia Beach. For an alternate route map, visit http://www.virginiadot.org/travel/mmmbt_promotion.asp
- Travel to the North Carolina Outer Banks: Motorists going to the Outer Banks should use I-664 and the Monitor-Merrimac Memorial Bridge-Tunnel to save time. From I-664 south, take I-64 west to exit 292, Chesapeake Expressway/Interstate 464/U.S. 17. Keep left to continue to the Chesapeake Expressway (Route 168), and take Nags Head/Great Bridge exit 291B to the Outer Banks. For more information about using I-664 and the MMMBT, visit http://www.virginiadot.org/travel/mmmbt_promotion.asp
- Jamestown-Scotland Ferry: The summer ferry schedule is in effect through Labor Day weekend. The ferry runs 24 hours a day. There is no cost to ride the ferry. Vehicles, including motor homes, are allowed on the ferry. For additional information, call 800-VA-FERRY (800-823-3779). For a complete ferry schedule, visit http://www.virginiadot.org/travel/ferry-jamestown.asp
Work Zones and Other Traffic Alerts
While VDOT will lift most lane closures during the Fourth of July holiday, motorists may encounter permanent work zones or travel delays in the following locations:
Main Street (U.S. 60, Clifton Forge) Smith Creek Bridge replacement project: Main Street westbound from intersection of Ridgeway Street to Commercial Avenue closed until Oct. 12 for bridge construction. Westbound traffic will detour onto Ridgeway Street, which will have two-way traffic both directions. Main Street closed between U.S. 60/220 and Commercial Avenue. Detour signs through the area using U.S. 60 Business and West Ridgeway Street.
U.S. 460: Both eastbound lanes of U.S. 460 are closed near Montvale for cleanup from a gasoline spill. Two-way traffic on U.S. 460 is diverted into the westbound lanes for approximately 0.7 mile.
Interstate 81: Both southbound lanes are narrowed to 10.5 feet and shifted onto the right shoulder at mile marker 168 for work on bridge over Purgatory Creek. Speed limit reduced to 55 mph.
Caroline/King George county line
U.S. 301, James Madison Memorial Bridge: Lane closures at bridge over Rappahannock River for bridge rehabilitation. Traffic reduced to one lane each direction.
Route 47 over Roanoke Creek: Reduced to one lane for bridge repairs. Temporary signal in place.
Route 7 Business (West Main Street): Mosby Boulevard project. Construction of Route 636/Mosby Boulevard extension and roundabout. Flagger traffic control. Estimated completion May 2013.
Interstate 81, mile marker 313 to 315, both directions: In conjunction with the Route 657/Senseny Road bridge deck replacement. Shoulder closures and intermittent nighttime lane closures to install barrier for shoulder closures. Estimated completion mid-August.
U.S. 250: Replacing bridge over Crab Run in McDowell, just east of Route 645 to just west of Route 654 (Doe Hill Road). Single-lane traffic with 14-foot width restriction and three-way traffic signal at U.S. 250 and intersection of Route 654. Flagger traffic control at various locations when needed. Work may take place 24 hours a day. Speed limit reduced to 25 mph. Estimated completion in October.
Louisa/Spotsylvania county line
Route 208 over Lake Anna: Reduced to one lane for bridge rehabilitation. Temporary signal in place.
Route 128 West (Candler’s Mountain Road): Reduced to one lane to rehabilitate bridge; left turn to mall closed. Detour in place.
Mathews/Middlesex county line
Route 3, John Andrew Twigg Bridge: Single lane closure on Twigg Bridge over Piankatank River for bridge rehabilitation. Vehicles will use single lane both directions with temporary signal controlling traffic.
Interstate 81: Both northbound lanes are shifted onto the shoulder at mile marker 121 for work on the bridge over Route 641 (Den Hill Road). Speed limit reduced to 55 mph.
U.S. 29 southbound bridge over Rucker Run: Replacing bridge superstructure with travel lane of 17 feet, 9 inches. Speed limit reduced to 50 mph.
U.S. 340: Bridge construction over Compton Creek plus railroad and approaches, 1.4 miles south of the Page/Warren county line to 3.5 miles south of the Page/Warren county line. Daily lane closures with flagger. Shoulder closures 24 hours a day. Speed limit reduced to 45 mph. Estimated completion fall 2013.
Prince George County
U.S. 460: Traffic will merge to one lane each direction between Alden Road (Route 624) and the Sussex County line so crews can mill and pave the mile-long section of road. This will be a continuous traffic shift until the project is completed in July. Expect delays.
Route 522: Rehabilitation of bridge over Thornton River in Sperryville. Road closed through September 2012. Detour in place.
Interstate 81: Southbound lanes are split by a barricade wall at mile marker 135.5 for work on the bridge over Route 642 (Alleghany Drive). Right lane is restricted to 15.6 feet and the left lane is restricted to 11 feet. Speed limit is reduced to 55 mph.
U.S. 11/460: Road widening west of Salem. Speed limit reduced to 35 mph in most of work zone, but drops to 25 mph near entrance to Richfield Retirement Community where travel lanes are narrowed for bridge work.
Interstate 81 northbound, mile marker 195.6 to 202.5: Constructing truck-climbing lane.
Interstate 81 bridges at exit 45 over Scratch Gravel Road: Delays likely during work to replace portions of bridges over Scratch Gravel Road in Marion. Traffic restricted to one 14-foot travel lane both directions.
Interstate 77/Interstate 81 overlap: High traffic volumes could slow or stop vehicles through this eight-mile stretch of interstate. Be alert to delays on northbound I-77 at the I-81 merge.
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.