DC region traffic backs up as Labor Day weekend begins

As the people of D.C. begin to headed out for a final blast of summer, the region’s roads did not quite handle the excess volume with that laid-back summer attitude travelers were probably hoping for.

Southbound Interstate 95, the Beltway — especially near Tysons — and the Baltimore-Washington Parkway were particularly bad for drivers leaving the area throughout the day.

Early in the day, I-95 became jammed up up after Virginia Rt. 234 near Dumfries due to a crash that blocked the right shoulder. Around 4:30 p.m., the delay extended from Newington to just beyond Fredericksburg, Virginia. Residual delays took several hours to work themselves out and the additional holiday traffic didn’t help.

Making matters worse, an RV was engulfed in flames on southbound I-95, putting out a lot of smoke and further blocking the shoulder, snarling southbound traffic near exit 150.

WTOP Traffic Reporter Reada Kessler warned that while Route 1 may seem like a viable alternative in situations where I-95 is blocked, drivers would probably want to avoid it. The route tends to back up quickly as more and more people try to bail out of the mess on I-95.

The Virginia Department of Transportation offered a helpful visualization of the traffic on Twitter:

The Capital Beltway also suffered from excess traffic — a crash on the Inner Loop after the Dulles Toll Road made matters worse.

Surprisingly, while Route 50 out to the Bay Bridge has experienced some delays, the bridge itself was still moving smoothly as of 4:30 p.m., even as just about every other major road in the region struggled with the excess volume.

That didn’t hold true into the evening commute unfortunately, as the bridge did eventually begin experiencing relatively minor delays as the day went on.

While the area roadways were packed, Reagan National Airport was actually clearer than expected, according to WTOP’s Mike Murillo, who reported that crowds there were lighter than what could be expected on an average weekday.

WTOP’s Mike Murillo contributed to this report. 

Zeke Hartner

Zeke Hartner is a digital writer/editor who has been with WTOP since 2017. He is a graduate of North Carolina State University’s Political Science program and an avid news junkie.

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