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Looking for Latest Tips for Alexandria to Ocracoke

Looking for Latest Tips for Alexandria to Ocracoke




Hi all,

Doing my due diligence; I've gone over posts from the past ten years, but I was wondering if there is any new advice.

Coming from CT, we have found a great (non-95) route for us to get down to Ocracoke, stopping overnight in the Norfolk area. This year's issue is that my god-daughter is getting married in July on a Friday evening in Alexandria. But this means the dreaded 95, which we always assiduously avoid.

So here's my question: what's the best route from Alexandria down to 12 South on a Saturday in July; do we *have* to go 95 South? What about going 301 to 64? Or Rte 1? And how long will the drive take?




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RE: Looking for Latest Tips for Alexandria to Ocracoke




You could download Waze app to your phone and check congestion along the route when you leave Alexandria. Head south on 95, if there is a big backup or too much congestion, then exit to 301 or route 1. Either are good alternate north-south routes, you can take either to I-295 around Richmond, take 295 toward Williamsburg/ Virginia Beach. If the exit from 295 getting onto I64 east is too congested, you can take route 60 east, or continue on 295 to route 460 to bypass the Williamsburg/ Hampton Roads congestion. Be aware, 460 goes thru small towns with lower speed limits, but Waze can help alert you about this.


RE: Looking for Latest Tips for Alexandria to Ocracoke




Hmm. 301 and 1 can be frustrating with stop lights and small towns along the way between Alexandria and Richmond. Not to mention all of the people who get off of 95 when there is a wreck. You could hop on to 495 in Alexandria and go to 301 in MD, then take 17 down to Newport News, where you can take your pick of tunnels to go the rest of the way. We did this one day, when we had to help our son move into an apt. in Arlington and then had to go to the beach from there. It took us 3 hours to get from RVA to Arlington that day, so we were in no mood for 95S. We really enjoyed the trip through VA's Coastal Plain. It's beautiful. I hadn't ever been on that road before in that part of the state. It was super relaxing and pretty, too. And no longer in the long run either. It took us 5 hrs. to get from Arlington to KDH that day. Disclaimer: It was not in the summer. But in terms of distance, it's what you would expect for timing.


RE: Looking for Latest Tips for Alexandria to Ocracoke




95 to 64 is still the best route. The alternate routes have gotten slower with development, traffic lights, etc. The best way to escape NoVA is to leave early. WAZE helps in dealing with accidents and construction, but an early departure works best for me. I like to get past Williamsburg before making any stops.


RE: Looking for Latest Tips for Alexandria to Ocracoke




The 3 or 4 times we've used 460 coming and going from OBX, we've liked it. But, I don't mind adding 10 or 15 minutes to my drive to avoid the stress of heavy traffic. But how you're going to get from Alexandria to Richmond without 95, i don't know. That looks like a tough one. 301 looks like the only real choice, but I'm not familiar with that area. 64, though, going through Hampton Roads/Norfolk will be busy.


RE: Looking for Latest Tips for Alexandria to Ocracoke




There is just no way to avoid I-95 from Alexandria to Fredericksburg. Any other route will take you at least as long as a backed up I-95. If you have an E-ZPass, you can use the HOT lanes south, but if 95 is backed up the HOT lanes will be expensive (although with 3 people in the car you can use the HOV feature of your E-ZPass and ride for free if you have it). Once you're at Fredericksburg, you can get off onto Route 1 and can make 55mph easily all the way down to Ashland.

The best thing to do is use the Virginia 511 web site and WTOP radio (103.5) and leave when traffic is comparatively light. Leaving Alexandria, early mornings usually work, and evenings after 8:00-8:30 PM are usually free running.

I've written about 460 in another thread. It's slower by about 15-20 minutes, but it's never backed up (once in 12 years I hit a slowdown of about 5 minutes for construction). If you take I-64 instead, listen to your maps app and take whichever bridge tunnel it suggests. There's at least one message board that gives you the time alternatives.

Sadly, AM 1680 seems to have gone off the air. That was the best information. and they would tell you when to use an "alternate trout" to the great amusement of all.

Coming down 168/158, be sure to follow the "no more than 5 mph over" rule.

Again, you'll do best leaving Alexandria before 6:00AM or after 8:00 PM.


RE: Looking for Latest Tips for Alexandria to Ocracoke




There is a way. Let me think, I may not know the exact roads. You'd have to go west. You'd have to take 495 back west to 66 (not TOO far on there). 66 to 29. Then you'd take route 33. It is about an hour or so of one lade curvy back roads. THEN you'd get on 295 to 460 and follow the other directions. There may be some little backroad I am missing but it's basically 66, 29, 33, then 295. It would add time for sure but with 95 maybe not!! It's a pretty drive you go around lake Anna.


RE: Looking for Latest Tips for Alexandria to Ocracoke




There is just no way to avoid I-95 from Alexandria to Fredericksburg. Any other route will take you at least as long as a backed up I-95. If you have an E-ZPass, you can use the HOT lanes south, but if 95 is backed up the HOT lanes will be expensive (although with 3 people in the car you can use the HOV feature of your E-ZPass and ride for free if you have it). Once you're at Fredericksburg, you can get off onto Route 1 and can make 55mph easily all the way down to Ashland.

The best thing to do is use the Virginia 511 web site and WTOP radio (103.5) and leave when traffic is comparatively light. Leaving Alexandria, early mornings usually work, and evenings after 8:00-8:30 PM are usually free running.

I've written about 460 in another thread. It's slower by about 15-20 minutes, but it's never backed up (once in 12 years I hit a slowdown of about 5 minutes for construction). If you take I-64 instead, listen to your maps app and take whichever bridge tunnel it suggests. There's at least one message board that gives you the time alternatives.

Sadly, AM 1680 seems to have gone off the air. That was the best information. and they would tell you when to use an "alternate trout" to the great amusement of all.

Coming down 168/158, be sure to follow the "no more than 5 mph over" rule.

Again, you'll do best leaving Alexandria before 6:00AM or after 8:00 PM.

NightOwl


Agree with above, but will offer a alternative> Leave Alexandria early, early or late evening and take I-95 south to Fredicksburg and then take Rt 17 south/east ( by-pass Richmond area) which is rural scenic. This route will bring you back into I-64 in Hampton Roads and then follow advice above........Be Safe!


RE: Looking for Latest Tips for Alexandria to Ocracoke




I used to make triptiks for AAA, and I live in the richmond area and go to hatteras often,so here's what I recommend:
If you leave early enough, just take 95 down to Richmond, then use 460 and not 64. I avoid 64 east like the plague in summer months. Do not go over 5 mph over the speed limit on 460 because there are speed traps everywhere, but you'll find hardly any traffic.
If you cannot leave early enough from alexandria, take 301 down to bowling green, then 207 to get back on 95. This will route around the major nova traffic areas and is only about 30 minutes longer. Google maps is good about routing you around traffic in real time, and the richmond 95 traffic is not so bad.


RE: Looking for Latest Tips for Alexandria to Ocracoke




Leave Alexandria early. Get on 95 and step on it till 295, keep it hammered till 64 or 460, your choice.


RE: Looking for Latest Tips for Alexandria to Ocracoke




Problem with 95 between 495 and Fredericksburg is, there's always construction, usually around Quantico. Last time we drove down to OBX was from Annapolis, leaving around 10:30 PM. We got as far as Quantico, where we sat for an hour, while three lanes of traffic merged into one, all due to construction. From home in Frederick, we usually take 15 to 17, then east to 95 outside Fredericksburg. Much easier on the nerves.


RE: Looking for Latest Tips for Alexandria to Ocracoke




Leave early is the best advice. The early the better when we do our week on the outer banks in the summer we leave so that we over the bridge by 9:30am. Spend the day on the beach or just walking the shops and grabbing some good.



RE: Looking for Latest Tips for Alexandria to Ocracoke




Get on 95 and step on it till 295, keep it hammered till 64 or 460

MikeW


LOL I'm sure you mean "keep it hammered under 80mph."

Over 80 is reckless in Virginia, no matter what the speed limit is. So 81 in a 70 zone is reckless.

Besides the big fine, if you've really annoyed the state trooper, he/she can take you to a local magistrate and tie you up in court for hours. That doesn't happen as much as it used to, but still . . .

I-95 can be heavily speed trapped. 295 not so much. But as you're coming on to 295 from 95, a trap is usually behind a small hill on the left. Meanwhile, the limit has become 65 from the 70 on I-95, so be careful there. 70mph starts again about midway to the I-64 exit and continues down 295 to Exit 2 for Rt. 460.

From 2012 until 2019, I did this drive about 8-12 times a year.






RE: Looking for Latest Tips for Alexandria to Ocracoke




Get on 95 and step on it till 295, keep it hammered till 64 or 460

MikeW


LOL I'm sure you mean "keep it hammered under 80mph."

Over 80 is reckless in Virginia, no matter what the speed limit is. So 81 in a 70 zone is reckless.

Besides the big fine, if you've really annoyed the state trooper, he/she can take you to a local magistrate and tie you up in court for hours. That doesn't happen as much as it used to, but still . . .

I-95 can be heavily speed trapped. 295 not so much. But as you're coming on to 295 from 95, a trap is usually behind a small hill on the left. Meanwhile, the limit has become 65 from the 70 on I-95, so be careful there. 70mph starts again about midway to the I-64 exit and continues down 295 to Exit 2 for Rt. 460.

From 2012 until 2019, I did this drive about 8-12 times a year.



NightOwl


Reckless was upped to exceeding 85 at some point. Not sure when as I’m from VA and it was always 20 over or greater than 80 and I have a few under my belt from my younger years. I haven’t lived there in 19 years and my last reckless was around 2004.

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RE: Looking for Latest Tips for Alexandria to Ocracoke




I live in Alexandria, have a place in Frisco.

My first choice is to fly our Cessna down; no traffic, three times faster, and a lot more scenic.

When we drive, our strategy is to leave early (before 8:00am) or late (after 8:00pm). The worst traffic is between Occoquan and Route 1 Fredericksburg. South of Fredericksburg is usually smooth going unless there is an accident somewhere. Richmond, around 295 is never particularly slow.

Traffic doesn't pick back up on 64 until you hit Williamsburg. Avoid Hampton Roads around rush hour(s), which starts pretty early, around 2 or so.


RE: Looking for Latest Tips for Alexandria to Ocracoke




I will add my voice to those urging you to leave early if traveling on 95. We went down three weeks ago and hit the inevitable ambush around Fredericksburg. Normally, I insist that we leave at the crack of dawn to avoid this. However, this year our rental did not feature an early check in option. And with COVID, we did not want to spend time in lots of commercial establishments to kill time. And finally- I am not making this up- we brought my son's pet snake with us and could not leave it in the car for fear of frying him. So we rolled the dice with a 10:00 am departure.

Never again. Can someone tell me what it is about Fredericksburg, VA that brings 95 to a virtual standstill? Nice town and I understand it has grown. But come on.

Anyway, if you cannot depart before sunrise, then I would counsel taking 301. Driving slower on a semi-scenic road beats crawling at a snail's pace.


RE: Looking for Latest Tips for Alexandria to Ocracoke




Gotta agree with Stagerlee! Here is the plan. Leave Alexandria by 6 am. Painful I know, but worth it. Suffer the 95/64 route....because it is fastest. Have an EZPASS to take the Express Lane in and around Accoquan as this area through Fredericksburg is rife with traffic ANYTIME. $3 to pass the hassle is well worth it. Rest stop on 64 is clean and easy. This puts you in good shape to cross onto the Outer banks before 11 AM. Stop for a coffee or hit Kitty Hawk kites if you need a break and want to start getting into the vibe. Continue South getting to Avon at Noon. This is your last chance at a full grocery store (Food Lion), so stop for any items that you might want (small cooler recommended). Right next to Food Lion is Bro's Sandwich Shack. Epic. So good. Grab lunch to go and then 2 options.....continue South and eat in Buxton at the lighthouse beach....or eat in you car and deadhead to Hatteras Village. Get in line for the ferry roughly 1-2 pm....Saturdays are light on the ferry, but you may have to wait 30 min...likely no more than 60 min. 1 hour ferry ride plus 15 min drive to the Village = 2:30-4:00 arrival. Perfect for check in. If you are early, lots to poke around and see. Hope this helps.



RE: Looking for Latest Tips for Alexandria to Ocracoke




Have an EZPASS to take the Express Lane in and around Accoquan as this area through Fredericksburg is rife with traffic ANYTIME. $3 to pass the hassle is well worth it.

Tortuga John


While you might get a $3 toll between Occoquan and the current end of the Express lanes just beyond Garrisonville, remember that pricing is "dynamic." The more traffic there is, the higher the price. Theoretically, the price is intended to be high enough to keep the average speed at 55mph. So if I-95 is a disaster, you could easily see tolls in the $10 range or more.

Also, the Express lanes (also called HOT lanes by locals) are reversible. Half the time they go north and half south. So when you are driving the route they may be closed in the direction you want to go. Or, at the time of direction reverses, they are closed both directions for about 2+ hours for the state police to sweep them to make sure they're clear.

Here's the approximate schedule for reversing:

Friday, 1:00 PM to Saturday 2:00 PM = Southbound
Saturday 4:00 PM to Sunday at midnight = Northbound


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