Traffic Comparison in Hampton Roads
Updated: Apr 4
Most images including above courtesy Google Maps
Traffic is a very important consideration in Hampton Roads. In this guide, I primarily wanted to provide some typical traffic times which can help inform buyers about where they want to consider purchasing. I thought it best to add some helpful additional information as well, especially for those unfamiliar with Hampton Roads.
Planned Road Expansion to Alleviate Traffic (i.e. HRBT)
The Hampton Roads Bridge-Tunnel (from Hampton to Norfolk) is being expanded with a scheduled completion date of November 2025 (check for updates here). Once expanded, that should alleviate traffic across it substantially and should alleviate to a lesser degree the traffic on the Monitor Merrimack Bridge Tunnel (from Newport News to Suffolk). Reduced traffic on the Monitor Merrimack should reduce traffic on the James River Bridge (from Newport News to Carrollton).
The HRBT expansion is by far the biggest undertaking that Hampton Roads is currently undergoing that will dramatically improve traffic conditions. For additional Hampton Roads projects that will alleviate traffic once completed in many cases, go here.
Best Practices for Navigation in SE VA
The longer the distance traveled, the more reason you have to use Google Maps, Waze, or similar daily, especially if crossing a large bridge in Hampton Roads. The James River Bridge is a drawbridge & there are other drawbridges in places in SE VA. You'll find scheduled openings for the JRB here & if planning on using it regularly it's best to check for scheduled openings before departing instead of relying exclusively on Google Maps or Waze, with at least enough time in between when you check and when you leave so that if there is an opening and another route would be superior, you're able to re-route in time to get to your destination.
You can get a ticket in VA for holding your phone while driving, even if you are looking at Google Maps, so it's best to have an integrated or add-on display available whether from an attachment to place your phone, a built-in display, or otherwise.
If you have the flexibility to do so, it can also be helpful to plan travel (including your commute) in such a way that traffic is avoided if you're on a route that regularly experiences heavy traffic during whatever time frame your typical commute would be. For instance, if leaving work at 4:30 PM would mean an extra 30 minutes of traffic typically, are you able to stay behind at work, spend time at a gym nearby, or move to another location like a library or coffee shop (i.e. examples on this map) to complete education or other computer-based tasks effectively so that you spend less time on the road by departing closer to 5:30 or 6 PM?
Toll Roads in SE VA
While those that live and work on the Virginia Peninsula (i.e. Hampton, Newport News, Williamsburg, etc.) don't typically need to worry about tolls if they never plan to go into Norfolk or Gloucester, it's not a bad idea to get an E-Z Pass if you know you'll frequent it at least once a year so that when you do cross the Coleman Bridge into Gloucester or pass through one of the tolls on the Eastern Southside, you are able to not worry about paying a higher cost toll that can take more time. Here is a map of thhe toll roads in SE VA:
Image courtesy https://www.tollroadsinvirginia.com/Home/MapOverview
Best & Worst Traffic Times
Generally speaking, peak morning rush hours won't be as bad as they can be in peak afternoon/early evening, with some exceptions. Peak traffic on a Friday afternoon immediately before a holiday tends to be the worst. Saturdays & Sundays, followed by Mondays tend to have the least traffic. Keep in mind that typical times are included below and that in some cases there will be greater times than typical, such as immediately following a serious accident on a 2 lane bridge that blocks both lines of traffic.
Best Practices for Home Search Creation
It's a good idea when creating a search to look at the projected typical travel times you'll be facing based on your work unique work schedule & location and to adapt your search criteria accordingly. For instance, those at Langley could have a 5 or 10-minute difference in timeframe depending on where on base they work.
How that looks on Google Maps at various times I checked (though dates/times can vary and change over time):
Hampton to/from the Southside:
Langley AFB to/from Carrsville in Isle of Wight County: 1 hour + 40 Minutes in Peak Afternoon Traffic from Langley to Carrsville
Peak morning traffic from Carrsville to Langley typically won't add more than 20 minutes:
The reverse route in the morning typically won't add more than 15 minutes: