Viv and Michael Diokno
Avoid Virginia I-95 Pitfalls and Arrive Happy!
A miserable drive can ruin the first day of your long-awaited vacation. Virginia traffic on I-95 can suck all the joy out of your day. Hopefully, this small blog post can help Outer Banks vacationers arrive with a smile on their face.
I am convinced that the transportation gods drank whisky the entire time they designed I-95 in Virginia. Those engineers wanted drivers to experience a small taste of hell. What makes it worse are the demon-underlings who manage I-95 to frustrate and demoralize anyone who naively thinks they will arrive happily in the Outer Banks without a care in the world.
That said the Express Lanes on I-95 offer a glimmer of hope from the Springfield Interchange--also known as the Mixing Bowl--all the way to Fredericksburg. Yes, the Express Lanes require you to pay a toll, which is not inexpensive. But it is well worth the sanity it buys. Not many drivers use the Express Lanes, which makes for a smooth drive for a good hour. Plus, I admittedly smile and giggle when I see all the other cars stuck in gridlock in the regular lanes. Yes, money sometimes can buy a bit of happiness.
Drivers and travelers beware though. The Express Lanes are not always open in the direction you want to travel. And if you decide to go to the Outer Banks without checking, well you may be in for a nightmare drive. I know--from many many many miserable experiences.
Before you start driving through Virginia, check www.expresslanes.com to see if the lanes are open in your direction (southbound or northbound). Their twitter feed @vaexpresslanes also has their most up-to-date schedule. There is an app you can download, but personally, I hate downloading an app that I rarely use. And I recommend purchasing the EZPass toll transponder. I think most people on the East Coast have an EZPass transponder, but there are a few (like my parents) who refuse and would rather receive a bill in the mail. No, thank you.
There is nothing worse than starting off your vacation in a grumpy and tired mood because Virginia traffic sucked all the joy out of your day. So do yourself a big favor and use the Express Lanes in Virginia. In my humble opinion it makes the trip enjoyable and less stressful. I hope this helps all vacationers arrive in OBX energized and ready to soak in the chill vibe!