Dr. Gridlock's Thanksgiving travel tips

By Robert Thomson
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, November 22, 2010; 7:22 PM

Travelers departing for their Thanksgiving holidays at midweek are likely to encounter some bad weather, the Capital Weather Gang says. The highway departments should have pulled up their orange barrels by Wednesday afternoon, but that still leaves the concrete barriers and the lane shifts.

Thanksgiving travel

Here are some updates on key bottlenecks to the northeast.

For the Interstate 95 corridor, the Maryland Transportation Authority recommends these times for the getaway:

-- Tuesday and Wednesday, before 6 a.m. and after 11 p.m.

-- Thursday through Sunday, before 9 a.m. and after 9 p.m.

Bob Marbourg of WTOP radio, who has studied traffic patterns in the Washington area for three decades, gave me some good advice about the getaway:

"It's not just Wednesday anymore! . . . Although Wednesday, the day before Thanksgiving, has been one of the heaviest travel days of the year, people go to great lengths to avoid being part of it."

"People will leave as early as the family can be assembled, or when college dorms close, or when schools close or when the work day ends."

The Delaware Department of Transportation warns that lengthy delays are likely at the Newark Toll Plaza on Interstate 95, especially on Tuesday and Wednesday when you head north and on Sunday and Monday heading south.

The toll plaza is being rebuilt to accommodate highway-speed E-ZPass lanes in the middle. Like other states, Delaware pulls up the orange cones and opens all available lanes during the holidays, but the construction has reduced the number of lanes at the toll plaza. Also, the three open northbound E-ZPass lanes on the left side of the toll plaza merge into a single lane just beyond the plaza.

Travelers can get traffic updates and camera views on the Delaware Department of Transportation Web site at Deldot.gov by following @DelawareDOT on Twitter or by tuning to radio station WTMC (1380 AM).

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