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Drivers brace for ‘Terrible Tuesday’

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Labor Day historically has been the quiet before the traffic storm.

This year should be no different as drivers prepare for “Terrible Traffic Tuesday,” according to AAA Mid-Atlantic.

“That’s the dreaded day after Labor Day when local roadways, highways and byways become severely congested again after a three-month-long summer respite,” said AAA Mid-Atlantic in a release on the unofficial end of summer.

Around these parts, congestion never seems to take a break. Even during the summer, Interstate 95 is consistently jammed during rush hours and often on weekends with vacation travelers passing through the Fredericksburg area.

Traffic woes have been further aggravated by work on the I–95 express lanes from Garrisonville to Washington.

Even so, Fredericksburg-area drivers might want to heed AAA’s warning.

With public schools back in session today, buses are bound to clog the roadways.

AAA reports that starting today, there will be thousands of school buses on area roads. And, on top of that, the pre-9 a.m. traffic nearly doubles in September when compared with August.

And the commuter pool should be back in full swing—with fewer regular vacationers to thin the herd.

Add to the mix that some 341,000 Washington-area residents are expected to be returning from Labor Day trips today and you have a recipe for a frustrating drive.

“On Terrible Traffic Tuesday, we will once again feel every inch of being in the most congested area of the country,” said AAA Mid-Atlantic’s Mahlon G. (Lon) Anderson, who first coined the aforementioned phrase.

According to AAA, “The average 20.4 minute daily delay that drivers experienced around here in July and August will return to an average of 25.8 minutes during September.”

Nicholas Ramfos, Commuter Connections director for AAA, suggested that commuters look for alternative transportation means such as mass transit, carpools and vanpools.

Maybe now is a good time to get a jump on Commuter Connection’s “car-free days,” an annual event promoting modes of travel other than your car. That event is set for Sept. 20–22.

Scott Shenk: 540/374-5436