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Old 05-10-2010, 01:17 PM
 
Location: DC
3,286 posts, read 10,567,747 times
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My cousin is having her daughter christened on May 29, so it looks like I'll be driving out that weekend. How bad will the traffic be on I-95 that Friday? Right now my plan is to take a 1/2 day at work and try to leave the city by 1pm. Unfortunately the ceremony is Saturday morning, so I have to leave on Friday.

I typically take I-95 south to I-85 near Richmond, and then I-85 until I get to Durham (where I'm staying). If there's a better way to go, I'd be open to it.
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Old 05-10-2010, 02:09 PM
 
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The traffic will be brutal, to put it mildly, leaving on a Friday afternoon of a holiday weekend. I've done it before and it took me 3+ hours to get to Fredericksburg from Tysons.

It's only 4 hours to Raleigh/Durham. I'd save the aggravation and hit the road super-early (say 4:30 a.m.) on Saturday, or leave after 10pm on Friday. Or, take all of Friday off and leave by 10:00 a.m. on Friday.

Yes, they're all painful choices. I am considering that drive myself that weekend, but I don't have to be to my destination by a time certain, so I'll probably leave about 7 a.m. on Saturday.
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Old 05-10-2010, 02:21 PM
 
Location: Dudes in brown flip-flops
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An alternative route to consider (although not an ideal one coming from SW DC) is 66W to Hwy 29S (exit in Gainesville) to Hwy 15S (in Culpeper). 15 never has any traffic, and although this route will add miles and slow down your driving speed, it will be decidedly less stressful, at least once you get off 66. It's also marginally more scenic.
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Old 05-10-2010, 05:33 PM
 
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last year on that friday it took me 1 1/2 hrs (at least) to go from woodbridge to stafford.
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Old 05-11-2010, 07:07 AM
 
Location: DC
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Well, crap......I don't understand the point of making a christening on a holiday weekend when 1) everyone has to travel, and 2) you make it Saturday morning, so everyone travelling HAS to take time off from work. Sorry, unrelated venting, but sometimes I swear my cousin is clueless that a world exists outside of hers.

Anyway, looks like maybe I should plan to take the whole day off (I don't trust myself to get up and drive at 3-4am) and then check traffic when I want to leave to see I-95 v. alternate route options. Friday AM. Would the morning really be any better than early afternoon in terms of a departure time? I figured the whole day would be bad, so it really didn't matter if I made a 6-7 hour drive (I'm being pessimistic) at 9am or at 1pm.

Speaking of alternate routes, I know I-66 is HOV-only at certain points of the day, does that include westbound in the morning? Also, for I-95, did you find that the traffic was mostly until you got to Fredericksburg/Richmond? Or did it keep going all the way down?
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Old 05-11-2010, 07:49 AM
 
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Traffic lets up quite a bit at the I-64 East exits, and then gets busy (but not horrid) in the Richmond City to Petersburg area.

I've found that leaving before 11:00 a.m. on a Friday, even a holiday weekend, heading southbound on 95 has some slowdowns but not crawling or at a standstill. Earlier is better, but it doesn't have to be buttcrack of dawn early.
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Old 05-11-2010, 08:09 AM
 
Location: Dudes in brown flip-flops
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Quote:
Originally Posted by juniperbleu View Post
Speaking of alternate routes, I know I-66 is HOV-only at certain points of the day, does that include westbound in the morning?
66W is open to everyone in the mornings. Most days of the week you'll hit traffic in Arlington and Falls Church, but traffic is very light on Friday mornings.

If you do the alternate route I suggested, I would definitely recommend leaving at 9 or 10. By early afternoon, 66 will be clogged with people leaving work early.

Oh, and regardless of how you drive down to Durham, make sure to go to Locopops. Hand-crafted, locally-made gourmet frozen pops in a world of flavors. once you get there. The pops are delicious and come in great flavors like mango chile, tamarind, and chocolate fig.
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Old 05-11-2010, 08:50 AM
 
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If you leave Friday morning you should be fine. One issue is that you *can* get backups early because the HOVs on I95 will still be pointing Northbound until 10:00 AM. They won't flow south until noon. Right around 10-12 noon, parts of 95 through Newington to Lorton can get very heavy. I've been burned by leaving work very early prior to a holiday and not getting the HOVs because they hadn't opened. I've been better off by staying in the office until noon. So keep that in mind. Even if it is heavy through there, it will be bearable (unlike Friday afternoon/evening).
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Old 05-11-2010, 09:15 AM
 
Location: DC
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Quote:
Originally Posted by weezycom View Post
Traffic lets up quite a bit at the I-64 East exits, and then gets busy (but not horrid) in the Richmond City to Petersburg area.

I've found that leaving before 11:00 a.m. on a Friday, even a holiday weekend, heading southbound on 95 has some slowdowns but not crawling or at a standstill. Earlier is better, but it doesn't have to be buttcrack of dawn early.
Quote:
Originally Posted by ChristineVA View Post
If you leave Friday morning you should be fine. One issue is that you *can* get backups early because the HOVs on I95 will still be pointing Northbound until 10:00 AM. They won't flow south until noon. Right around 10-12 noon, parts of 95 through Newington to Lorton can get very heavy. I've been burned by leaving work very early prior to a holiday and not getting the HOVs because they hadn't opened. I've been better off by staying in the office until noon. So keep that in mind. Even if it is heavy through there, it will be bearable (unlike Friday afternoon/evening).
Quote:
Originally Posted by Stephen 81 View Post
66W is open to everyone in the mornings. Most days of the week you'll hit traffic in Arlington and Falls Church, but traffic is very light on Friday mornings.

If you do the alternate route I suggested, I would definitely recommend leaving at 9 or 10. By early afternoon, 66 will be clogged with people leaving work early.

Oh, and regardless of how you drive down to Durham, make sure to go to Locopops. Hand-crafted, locally-made gourmet frozen pops in a world of flavors. once you get there. The pops are delicious and come in great flavors like mango chile, tamarind, and chocolate fig.
Thanks, that was one thing I was wondering about. Typically when I drive down there I leave around 8:30-9am, which gets me to my friend's house for lunch. If it's going to make a big difference whether I leave at 9am or noon-ish, then I'll just take the full day and avoid the hassle. However, since I'm leaving there on Monday I may try the alternate route since last time I took I-95 it took 5 hours to get back anyway.

And thanks for the recommendation on Locopops, I'll have to ask about it. I've mostly just gone to Foster's, Toast, and A Southern Season
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Old 05-11-2010, 10:21 AM
 
Location: Loudoun Cty, Virginia
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If you're up for a snazzy dinner, one of my favorite steakhouses ever is in the Raliegh-Durham triangle area:
The Angus Barn: Fine Dining at Raleigh NC's Premier Steakhouse - Wine Cellar - Wedding Venue

Angus Barn has some of the best steak and ribs I've ever had, and their chocolate chest pie is out of this world. It's a little pricey, but we used to eat in the bar/lounge and split a meal nearly every week when we lived there.
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