D.C. area drivers should expect heavy traffic on the 95 Express Lanes later this week, according to Transurban, operator of the 495 and 95 Express Lanes, as travelers take to the road for the Memorial Day holiday. The start of the summer travel season will also bring a new change to the I-95 corridor: Beginning Thursday, May 24, the 95 Express Lanes and I-395 HOV lanes will start the weekday reversal at 10 a.m. instead of 11 a.m.
The early reversal will allow southbound drivers to enter the 95 Express Lanes around noon, relieving congestion on the regular lanes which starts to build earlier in the day during the summer months. Overnight weekday reversals will continue to take place from about midnight to 2 a.m. The schedule will be in place throughout the summer.
What to expect on the Lanes and when to travel
To avoid crowded Express Lanes, and the resulting higher tolls, drivers should avoid travel on Thursday or Friday afternoon and evening.
Beginning the early afternoon of Thursday, May 24, through the evening of Friday, May 25, drivers traveling along the 95 Express Lanes corridor should expect heavy traffic and increased demand requiring higher toll prices to best manage the traffic on the Lanes.
The busiest travel times on the regular I-95 lanes and the 95 Express Lanes before Memorial Day weekend in 2017 were Thursday and Friday between noon and 6 p.m. Delays were worse on Friday. Those periods are expected to again face the heaviest travel this year.
95 Express Lanes Memorial Day weekend reversal schedule:
Thursday, May 24: Southbound reversal begins one hour earlier at 10 a.m. due to anticipated traffic
Friday, May 25: Southbound reversal begins one hour earlier at 10 a.m. as summer reversal schedule goes into effect
Saturday, May 26: Normal weekend reversal – Lanes reverse to northbound at 2 p.m.
Sunday, May 27: Northbound Lanes will close around 5 a.m. to support Rolling Thunder. The Lanes will re-open around 9 a.m.
Monday, May 28: Express Lanes northbound all day
Tuesday, May 29: Southbound reversal begins around 10 a.m. with Lanes opening by about noon