Hours changed on Virginia’s reversible lanes

I-395 traffic
The reversible HOV lanes are in the middle of I-395 in this view north of the Beltway. (Alex Brandon/AP)

The reversible HOV lanes on Interstate 95/395 will close to northbound traffic by 10 a.m. each weekday and reopen for southbound traffic by noon. The Virginia Department of Transportation has moved up the times by one hour till the end of summer to ease traffic congestion on southbound I-95.

95 Express Lanes map
VDOT map shows route of 95 Express Lanes in red.

VDOT said in a statement that it doesn’t anticipate that the earlier closing will create any significant delays for northbound drivers, but that it will monitor the traffic and will be prepared to make adjustments.

Traffic patterns change with the seasons along the East Coast’s Main Street, where local commuters share lanes with long-distance travelers. During the summer, some I-95 commuters adjust their schedules, and many join that long-distance traffic heading south for vacations.

I-95 in Northern Virginia rarely has pleasant traffic, but this summer, the trip is especially difficult because of the 95 Express Lanes construction between Garrisonville Road in Stafford and just north of the Capital Beltway, where I-395 starts. That 29-mile project, scheduled to be done at the end of the year, is the main event. But VDOT also is engaged in what’s called the I-95 Shoulder Improvement project in Prince William County.

The shoulder work along seven miles of the interstate includes work on the guardrails and lighting while widening the shoulder pavement to 12 feet. That will mean the shoulders can be used for traffic during emergencies.

North of the Beltway on northbound I-395, drivers also encounter road work creating an auxiliary lane to ease highway traffic between Duke Street and Seminary Road.

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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