What? Easter is here already? Yes, it’s this Sunday, so we will see an early start to the Spring Break travel season.

While we can expect many people to exit the city and take pressure off our daily commutes over the next couple weeks, be prepared for heavy traffic up and down the I-95 corridor beginning Friday.

The Virginia Department of Transportation said it would stop most construction work and suspend lane closures throughout the state to ease Easter travel. Also, the southbound reversal of I-95 Express lanes will start at 10 a.m. Friday, one hour earlier than normal.

Some tips:

  • Use E-ZPass. You’ll find travel to be much smoother up and down the I-95 corridor if you don’t have to wait in toll lanes. This is especially true as you head south through Virginia and north through Baltimore and Delaware.
  • Pay attention to the weather. It’s still very early in the spring, so nasty wintry stuff is not out of the question. Current forecasts are calling for rain early next week with overnight temperatures near the freezing mark.
  • Prepare for higher gas prices. The switch to the spring and summer travel season means higher demand for gas, and thus higher prices. The average price of a gallon of gasoline in the District is $2.78 and it’s risen about 6 cents in the last week. The average price is $2.67 in Maryland and $2.47 in Virginia.

If You Fly

If you are departing from one of the region’s airports, be sure to plan ahead to account for traffic and security lines. More than 2.65 million passengers are expected to pass through Reagan National or Dulles Airports over the next week. And consider securing parking in advance, as many airport lots are already full or getting there. (BWI reported all of its own lots as “mostly full” as of Thursday morning.)

Cherry Blossoms Near Peak

Washington’s famed cherry blossom trees are near peak bloom. Florets are more than halfway out and are expected to be fully in bloom between April 8 and 12. This means the next two weeks will attract heavy crowds into the District, especially in the area of the Tidal Basin. Look for pedestrians around Independence Avenue and near the Smithsonian.

If you do go to check out the blossoms, consider taking Metro rather than driving, or check out the DC Circulator bus. You can hop on at Union Station and it drops you off right at the cherry blossoms for just $1.

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