Early getaway traffic may encounter I-395 detour

November 20, 2013

[Friday update: The Virginia Department of Transportation has postponed the steel lift scheduled for Friday night that would have closed the northbound lanes of Interstate 395 and shifted traffic into the HOV lanes. VDOT said the weather forecast was unfavorable for this type of project. The work has been rescheduled for Friday night, Dec. 6.]

While many of us debate whether to stage our Thanksgiving getaways on Tuesday or Wednesday nights, or perhaps on Thursday morning, some lucky stiffs will take the whole week off. While that’s going to avoid a lot of the holiday traffic, it could put some drivers in the midst of regularly scheduled road work.

95 Express Lanes closing map
VDOT map shows section of I-395 affected by detour.

On Friday night, the Virginia Department of Transportation plans to close all lanes of I-395 North near Edsall Road. The closing, the latest in a string of weekend closures along I-395 and I-95 for construction of the 95 Express Lanes, will allow workers to place steel beams over I-395 for a flyover bridge. The span eventually will carry traffic from the north end of the express lanes to the regular lanes on I-395 North. It’s the last of four new flyovers to be built for the project.

Lane closings are scheduled to start at 9:30 p.m. Friday. By midnight, all lanes should be shut, and they will remain so till 5 a.m. Saturday. The backup date, if needed, will be Saturday night.

During the closing, all northbound traffic approaching the Capital Beltway will be directed to keep right. After passing the Beltway, drivers will be diverted across I-395 North into the High Occupancy Vehicle lanes using a temporary ramp. Once through the work zone, drivers can exit the HOV lanes just before Duke Street along a temporary ramp.

VDOT plans to continue nighttime lane closings and detours related to the bridge work until late December, but lane closings will be suspended for the Thanksgiving holiday getaway from 3:30 p.m. Tuesday to noon Monday, Dec. 2, throughout the 29-mile long work zone on I-395/95.

Getaway questions
I’ve been getting a lot of them in the past few days and hope to answer some in a blog posting Thursday.

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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