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Old 01-27-2005, 09:14 AM   #1
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Typical rush hour times in DC

When would the traffic generaly become heaviest in the DC area on I-95,
I-495 in the morning.

maybe better to ask the locals what times they would avoid like the plague??

Thanks for all the info.
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Old 01-27-2005, 10:06 AM   #2
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I live in the suburbs right outside of DC and traffic is pretty bad all of the time around here but for the best time to drive through, I would say after 9 am and before 4pm is usually the slowest.

Hope that helps



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Old 01-27-2005, 10:16 AM   #3
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Wow, thank you for your quick reply.

If I may ask, what time in the early morning does the traffic become bad.

We are thinking on setting out from Harrisburg, PA at 3:00am, so in DC area about 5:30 ish.

Any congestion concerns that early??
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Old 01-27-2005, 10:29 AM   #4
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I live in the DC area there too. You can pretty much be on traffic all day. It will be worse in the am. From my area it's bad from 5:30am-10:am and from 2:30pm-7:00pm. You can never avoid traffic in DC but the times I listed are when it's basically at a crawl.

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Old 01-27-2005, 10:40 AM   #5
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I live in the suburbs of D.C. also and travel on 495 every morning to work. I live about 17 miles from my job and it takes a little over an hour every morning to get to work... most of the time spent sitting on 495 to go three exits. I leave the house at 6:45 and it is already pretty much all morning don't expect to move very fast!
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Old 01-27-2005, 10:56 AM   #6
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You should be fine

If you're coming through the DC area around 5:30am, it shouldn't be too bad.
Here's a couple of tips:
* Tune your car radio to one of these AM stations - 1500AM or 630AM. They both have frequent traffic reports in the morning.
* Maybe try this website, before you leave...
(I know that there are other websites, but can't seem to find them - sorry.)

If you can figure out if there's been a traffic incident *before* you get in the middle of it, you might be able to avoid sitting in traffic. And, yes, there can be a horrific traffic jam at that early hour, if there's a wreck on the Beltway or somewhere on I-95.
Also, remember, you don't *have* to come around the eastern half of the Beltway (I-95/I-495, marked as "Richmond", I think... the part that goes over the Woodrow Wilson Bridge). If you hear on the radio that traffic is bad that way, you *can* choose to take the western route
(I-495/marked as "Rockville" or "Silver Spring"[?]).
Both parts of the Capital Beltway will end up in exactly the same place - the Springfield I-95/I-495 Interchange. Once you get south of DC, the traffic shouldn't be bad at all.

Some folks swear by taking Route 301, which goes east of the DC area through Prince George's County. You can then connect back up with I-95 or even with the Richmond ByPass, I-695[?] south of DC.

Good luck - and how bad could it be?
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Old 01-27-2005, 11:08 AM   #7
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From Baltimore, take 295 (The Baltimore-Washinton Pike) instead of I-95 and do not get onto the Beltway. At US 50, New York Avenue, get off and head toward downtown. Just before NW 4th Street is the entrance, on the left, to I-395, which tunnels under the Mall and leads directly to I-95. The express lanes on 95 (south of DC) will be inbound at that hour, so that won't help much, but at the hour you are travelling it should otherwise work. Two hours later, though, all bets are off.
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Old 01-27-2005, 11:34 PM   #8

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I would also consider take US15 South to the Dulles Greenway (toll road).
Exit at 28 south. You can take 28 south to 234 (east or soutrh). This hits 95
south of Dale City/Potomac Mills.

We live off of 28 and we use the Greenway/15 route to go to/pass through Harrisburg 2 or 3 times a year. The 234 part of the trip I have done once or twice when going south during peak rush hour. In the am the rush hour will be mainly North and into the beltway areas (Includes Tysons, Rockville, Alexandria, DC, Crystal City, etc)

The problems can be: 15 is a 2 lane road in stretches
you are with rush hour on the Greenway but it usually does not back up.
For the most part you are against traffic on 28 and 234.
These are surface road not highways.

The 301 route may also work.

I would try to come through before 5 am or after 10 am (but before 3pm).

I have lived in Norther VA all my life. I commute less than 20 miles avg am trip is 60 minutes at 7:45 am.
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Old 01-28-2005, 12:31 AM   #9
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I realized that in a second post you said that you are coming from Harrisburg...
You don't really even have to get on the Capital Beltway at all (I-495). Couldn't you take a western & then southern route around the DC metro area? Maybe take US15 south, get on US-7, hook up with part of I-81, go down US29 towards Charlottesville... there's a *lot* af variations.
Another poster ("Vavasmom") has some good ideas on ways to get around the DC traffic by taking a more western route.

Good luck ,
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Old 01-28-2005, 08:12 PM   #10
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My wife & I drove to Orlando 2 yrs. ago, and "AAA" gave me directions for another way. Also, A few truck drivers told me that is the Faster way to go. The directions sent us down I-81 into Virginia, and as soon as you get into Va., you get on I-50/17. That takes you over to I-95 by Fredricksburg. It doesn't give much of a chance for delays. I can copy & e-mail you the maps if you'd like. We're goin back in March (6-13), and we're takin the same route. Its a long drive to begin with, yet to have delays on top of it all is something I don't want. When are ya goin? Enjoy!!!
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Old 01-29-2005, 08:10 AM   #11

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Jamsbyr's route would be great--if you were in an Armored Car!!

Living in Harrisburg, you could do that I-81 route w/o too much trouble. I live in Glen Rock, and for me it's too far out of the way to be a viable alternate.
Rgf207 has the rush "hours" about right. We've had good success leaving Glen Rock around 3:30 AM, and getting completely around DC NLT than 6:00--5:30 AM would be even better. Should add that the new I-95 "flyover" has done a great deal to help with the "I-95 only" traffic and avoiding the mixing bowl. But you do have to take the Wilson Bridge I-95 route to access it--
So in essence--if you leave Harrisburg at 3:00 AM you should be OK. Any later, then you'll likely hit traffic.
And all of the above assumes excellent weather and no accidents. Add rain or an accident and all bets are off.
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Old 01-29-2005, 08:44 AM   #12
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I have one BIL near Allentown, PA, and another BIL in Charlottesville, VA. The first BIL has taken the I-81/I-64 route when he's come to visit.

Your best route is probably I-81 south to I-64 east to Route 288 around Richmond to get to I-95 south. All interstate/limited-access highway with very little big city traffic to deal with.
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