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Best route south through DC/northern VA?

seiclanseiclan Registered User Posts: 4,182 Senior Member
edited August 2012 in Parent Cafe
We are driving south on 95 next weekend, from NJ to FL, and would like to avoid as much of the DC/N. Virginia traffic as possible. We got stuck in bumper to bumper traffic for two hours on our way north and would like to know the best route around the DC mess. Suggestions?
Post edited by seiclan on

Replies to: Best route south through DC/northern VA?

  • KatMTKatMT College Rep Posts: 4,009 Senior Member
    I live in VA, but go back and forth to NY and NJ often. I avoid DC by taking I-78 to I-81... avoiding I-95. Not sure if this works from the area of NJ from which you are traveling, though.

    Sent from my DROID RAZR using CC
  • eastcoascrazyeastcoascrazy Registered User Posts: 2,366 Senior Member
    Depends on how far out of the way you want to go.

    On the baltimore beltway, take I-97 south to highway 301 south. 301 is a divided highway with some lights, but can be a much quicker route if weekend summer or holiday traffic is snarled. You can take it all the way to just north of Richmond, Virginia. It parallels I-95, so you can jump back to the interstate at many places along the way.

    KatMT's suggestion of I-81 is also good. You can take I-77 to connect from i-95 In South Carolina to I -81 in Virginia. I-81 has a LOT of semi truck traffic, but is much less conjested than I-95.
  • emilybeeemilybee Registered User Posts: 11,983 Senior Member
    We try to do 81 also. I think there is also a way to connect to 95 from 81 in Virgina. Don;t remember the route # but it went through horse country.
  • frazzled1frazzled1 Registered User Posts: 5,566 Senior Member
    ^ That route takes you from 81 South to 66 East, then 17 South, 15/29/17 through Warrenton (there's a city bypass) to Fredericksburg, and then 95 South.
  • eyemamomeyemamom Registered User Posts: 4,611 Senior Member
    I agree with 301, you can catch it at many locations, but in Maryland take 895S to 97S to exit 7 I believe to take 3 to 301 and take it all the way through MD and most of Virginia and go past Fort AP Hill before getting back on 95 south of Fredericksburg, just north of Richmond. I believe exit 112 or so on 95.

    It's no joke 95 at the wrong time can be a parking lot.
  • turbo93turbo93 Registered User Posts: 2,815 Senior Member
    It's non deterministic. If you have a smartphone download the INRIX application or some other real time traffic app and use that. I spent a few days in DC last week and it is not far fetched to say that we never went the same route twice due to (a) road construction and (b) constant traffic alerts and rerouting from our trusty TomTom navigation device.

    If you're willing to go way west things get easier, but in any case know what the traffic is like. I did not find suburban VA traffic to be bad at all in August (everyone's gone I guess) and even driving in DC was not bad at all (high 90's help :)) but do your homework.
  • cartera45cartera45 Registered User Posts: 12,440 Senior Member
    I drive between Baltimore and Richmond often and have been stuck in traffic on every route mentioned. If there is a bad accident on 301 or backup at the bridge, you'll wish you were on I95. It is best to keep an eye on traffic alerts and adjust accordingly. I can't justify driving 100 miles out of the way in order to avoid traffic, particularly if I81 is in the picture. I81 is a lot more dangerous road than I95 and when there's an accident, it often shuts down completely because it's basically a 1960's era 4 lane highway - not much room for error.
  • lookingforwardlookingforward Registered User Posts: 24,599 Senior Member
    Wow, 301 used to be one of those roads where you got stopped by a light every few miles- so much improved, we pretty much glide through. Seems I recall Delaware nearly always has some road work that delays things, though.

    The main thing about DC is to avoid rush hour, which is long. (They've had some staggered work hours for decades.) The slowdown can run 40 miles. We always plan to get through Balto and DC after 9am and before 3pm.

    You have to make your best choice and stick to it. At most points, it's not easy to jump from one route to another.
  • seiclanseiclan Registered User Posts: 4,182 Senior Member
    DH thinks the best route may be to take 495 around the east side of DC. Any thoughts?

    We should hit the DC area between 11am and 12pm.

    Also, I should add that we are doing the NJ to FL drive over a two day period and driving with 3 dogs. We will stop at a motel for the night halfway (near Florence SC).
  • capcap Registered User Posts: 881 Member
    Take 295 south from Baltimore; it turns into DC 295, then hits 95/495 a bit east of the Woodrow Wilson bridge. If you hit it around noon, you should be ok. Unless it is Sat, then you will hit beach traffic on 95S all the way to Richmond.
  • blueiguanablueiguana Registered User Posts: 7,496 Senior Member
    It all depends on what time you're going to be hitting 495. If you can clear Woodbridge by 4pm at the latest, you're probably okay.

    edit: the OP added the timeframe 11-12 while I was writing this & I crossed posts with above. Given the time. The above posters route should work well.
  • seiclanseiclan Registered User Posts: 4,182 Senior Member
    cap: It is a Saturday :( will we be stuck in beach traffic at about 11 am? For how long?
  • interesteddadinteresteddad Registered User Posts: 24,177 Senior Member
    Take 295 south from Baltimore; it turns into DC 295, then hits 95/495 a bit east of the Woodrow Wilson bridge. If you hit it around noon, you should be ok. Unless it is Sat, then you will hit beach traffic on 95S all the way to Richmond.

    As a general rule, that's the route I take as well. 295 is the old Baltimore-Washington Parkway that runs parallel to I95 between Baltimore/Washington, it feed directly into 295 through Washington.
  • Singersmom07Singersmom07 Registered User Posts: 3,868 Senior Member
    Absolutely positively do NOT take I95 S of DC on a Saturday if you aren't going to be past DC by 8 AM. DD left at 9:30 and it took her until 12:30 to get to Richmond (a less than 2 hr trip normally). Almost the entire backup is between DC and Fredericksburg. Backups are long in that stretch and any accident makes it impossible. Today is Sat and it is 2 PM so I looked on the map and it is still red for long stretches between DC and Fredericksburg. I would take 81, which BTW is all green right now.
  • cartera45cartera45 Registered User Posts: 12,440 Senior Member
    Isn't taking 81 at least 100 miles out of the way? How is that justified by an hour extra between DC and Richmond?
This discussion has been closed.