Hours changing on I-95/395 HOV lanes to ease congestion

I-395 traffic
The Virginia Department of Transportation hopes the change will ease southbound congestion on I-95/395 (Alex Brandon/AP)

Starting Monday, the HOV lanes on northbound I-395/95 in Virginia will close at 10 a.m. rather than 11 a.m. weekdays, and the southbound HOV lanes will open at noon rather than 1 p.m.

The change will remain in effect until mid-October, the Virginia Department of Transportation announced. VDOT officials hope this will ease southbound congestion during construction of the 95 Express Lanes, the I-95 shoulder lane project in Prince William County and traffic-easing work in the I-395/Seminary Road area by the Mark Center.

The 95 Express Lanes construction is the main event of the summer road work season in the D.C. region. While the lanes aren’t scheduled to open until 2015, this summer and fall are the periods of maximum impact on travelers.

The express lane project affects traffic along 29 miles of I-95/395 between Edsall Road, just north of the Beltway, and Garrisonville Road to the south.

Throughout the summer, watch for: extensive lane closings and delays at off-peak hours day and night, occasional full closings of I-95 and overnight detours, slow-moving trucks entering and leaving the work zone in the median, reduced access to shoulders.

Travel tips

  • If you live in Prince William County and commute to Tysons, consider taking the PRTC’s Tysons Express bus. Virginia Railway Express is an option for other commuters.
  • Read those electronic message boards along I-95 that warn about upcoming work.
  • Check out www.getaroundva.com, where you can sign up to receive electronic alerts. This will be especially helpful if you make only occasional trips on I-95 for summer getaways.
  • Consider I-95 alternatives such as Routes 17 and 301, where there are no major projects this summer.
Robert Thomson is The Washington Post’s “Dr. Gridlock.” He answers travelers’ questions, listens to their complaints and shares their pain on the roads, trains and buses in the Washington region.
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Robert Thomson · August 2, 2013

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