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Author Topic: Best alt route between Richmond & Norfolk?  (Read 1936 times)

MarylandMichael

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Best alt route between Richmond & Norfolk?
« on: July 21, 2017, 12:11:39 AM »

For anyone who travels to Norfolk I was wondering if there is a good alternate route to I-64 whether it's a VA state route or US highway.  I like scenic routes and get very bored on I-64 and with the construction lately I really don't like it.  Google maps said take US-460 but that seemed really far out of the way.  I see there is US-60 that parallels I-64 for most of the way, is that not a good route to take?  Is there a lot of one lane roads or something?  Also what is US-460 like?

Thanks!
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amroad17

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Re: Best alt route between Richmond & Norfolk?
« Reply #1 on: July 21, 2017, 01:22:42 AM »

There are a few different ones.  It is just your choice of wanting to drive two- or four-lane roads.

Coming from Maryland, and around the Washington area I am presuming, here are some options...

1.  I-95 south to Exit 126 (US 1/US 17).  Follow US 17 south all the way to Newport News and pick up I-64 east there.
    - US 17 is four-lane divided from US 301 all the way to Newport News
    - US 17 bypasses some towns like Saluda and Gloucester, however, south of Yorktown is rather suburban and traffic light congested
2.  I-95 south to Exit 98 (VA 30-Doswell/Kings Dominion exit).  Follow VA 30 east through West Point and pick up I-64 east south of West Point
    - VA 30 is mostly two lanes and may be a slower drive--positive is not as much traffic as you may encounter on I-64
3.  I-95 south, I-295 south to Exit 15A (VA 10).  Follow VA 10 east past Smithfield to US 258 north, then follow US 17 south to I-664 south to I-64 to I-464 north to get to Norfolk
    - VA 10 is mostly two lanes, and like the VA 30 example above, traffic is moderate
    - using this route allows you not to deal with the Hampton Roads Bridge Tunnel (especially on weekends) and you can avoid the toll of the I-264 Downtown Tunnel between Portsmouth and Norfolk
4.  Using #3 except following I-295 to Exit 3A (US 460).  Follow US 460 east to US 58 east just outside of Suffolk.  Follow US 58 (along with US 13 and US 460) to I-64 and then I-464 north to Norfolk.
    - US 460 is mostly four lanes undivided from I-295 to the Suffolk Bypass with the slowdowns in Waverly, Ivor, Wakefield, and Windsor
    - I live in Northern Kentucky and would rather drive this way to Va. Beach than deal with the I-64 traffic between Richmond and Norfolk (my two cents)
5.  Following US 60 from I-295 to VA 30 near Toano (Anderson's Corner), then following VA 30 south to I-64 at Exit 231
    - This would be the somewhat slower way from Richmond to near Williamsburg as US 60 is four lanes divided and does not go through many towns
    - I would not suggest following US 60 all the way to Newport News unless you want to check out Colonial Williamsburg, Busch Gardens, or even Carter's Grove Plantation

Of course, it depends on what part of Norfolk you want to go.  If it is near downtown or along Va. Beach Blvd., options 3 or 4 would be best.  If you are going to be near the Naval Base, Ocean View, or near the airport, then options 1 or 2 would be better.  Or you could just brave I-64 if it was near the middle of the day during the weekday.  On the weekends, it would be better to avoid going over the HRBT and follow I-664 south over the Monitor-Merrimac Memorial Bridge-Tunnel which would run you into option 3 when crossing US 17 in Suffolk.

Hope this helps!
« Last Edit: July 21, 2017, 01:33:09 AM by amroad17 »
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Mapmikey

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Re: Best alt route between Richmond & Norfolk?
« Reply #2 on: July 21, 2017, 06:55:19 AM »

Two more options:

I-295 to VA 5, then VA 5 to VA 199 (right turn) to avoid central Williamsburg.  Essentially all 2 lanes, but pretty scenic.  only 1 settlement between I-295 and Williamsburg (Charles City).

If you just want to avoid the construction part you can try VA 143.  Access at the Camp Peary exit or via the eastern VA 199 interchange.  Follow VA 143 down to VA 105 or to where it crosses I-64 again near the NN Airport.  North of Williamsburg is 2 lane but the rest is 4-lane undivided.
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plain

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Re: Best alt route between Richmond & Norfolk?
« Reply #3 on: July 21, 2017, 12:38:52 PM »

If you can you should try to time it to where you arrive in the area at night after the traffic has died down. But if not.....

Even though it seems out of the way, if your destination is Norfolk then given the I-64 construction US 460 is BY FAR the best alternate.

VA 143 and especially US 60 have been ridiculously congested for months now because of people trying to escape the interstate, especially on Fridays (US 60 gets stacked on its 2 lane portion from Bush Gardens all the way to Fort Eustis). My brother lives on US 60 in the Grove area and I go to his house every weekend or every other so I have no choice but to deal with it...

The VA 5 and VA 30 suggestions normally are great to avoid I-64 west of Williamsburg but will place you into the same situation I described above.

US 17 is pretty good like amroad17 mentioned but you still have to deal with the almost always congested HRBT, or the MMMBT if it happens to be congested as well (usually just AM and PM rush hours both directions weekdays).

VA 10 in this case would be the next best thing to US 460, but you'll have to drive through Hopewell as well as mostly 2 lane road beyond that as mentioned.

The only thing about US 460 is the speed traps, just watch out in the little towns.

Also, unless you do manage to use the HRBT, a decision should be made on whether or not you want to pay a toll to reach Norfolk...
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froggie

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Re: Best alt route between Richmond & Norfolk?
« Reply #4 on: July 21, 2017, 12:50:25 PM »

I have a lot of experience with this, having been stationed twice in Norfolk.

US 460 is indeed a bit out of the way, and also more dangerous than the norm due to its 1930s-era undivided design.  Unless your destination is Suffolk, Portsmouth, or western Chesapeake, I'd generally avoid it (nevermind that, to get to/from 460, the Hopewell cops love to hang out on their tiny corner of I-295).

You won't save any time, but US 60 is a quiet and pleasant alternative to the I-64 rat race between I-295 and the fringes of Williamsburg.  I'd typically connect to it via Exit 205/VA 249 and Exit 231/SR 607 (with a little bit of VA 30's southern end mixed in).


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Thing 342

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Re: Best alt route between Richmond & Norfolk?
« Reply #5 on: July 21, 2017, 03:26:38 PM »

Would definitely recommend VA-143 over US-60 on the Peninsula, as it's almost entirely 4/6-lane and has better stoplight synchronization and a higher speed limit than US-60.

Most of the other good alternatives to the HR area from I-95 have been mentioned already (US-60 / US-460 / US-58), but my preferred one would be to take US-17 SE from Fredericksburg all the way to VA-173 on the other size of the Coleman Bridge, then take VA-173 and VA-143 back to I-64, avoiding the frequently-congested area on 17 from Grafton to I-64.

Would also advise against using VA-5 / VA-10 / VA-30 / etc unless you want a scenic drive, as they're fairly twisty and seem to attract a lot of slow drivers.
« Last Edit: July 22, 2017, 12:59:57 PM by Thing 342 »
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cpzilliacus

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Re: Best alt route between Richmond & Norfolk?
« Reply #6 on: July 21, 2017, 10:13:24 PM »

Unless your destination is Suffolk, Portsmouth, or western Chesapeake, I'd generally avoid it (nevermind that, to get to/from 460, the Hopewell cops love to hang out on their tiny corner of I-295).

The Hopewell municipal police apparently want nothing to do with the I-295 Hopewell speed trap.  The only Hopewell law enforcement agency that runs that speed trap is the Hopewell city sheriff's office.

You won't save any time, but US 60 is a quiet and pleasant alternative to the I-64 rat race between I-295 and the fringes of Williamsburg.  I'd typically connect to it via Exit 205/VA 249 and Exit 231/SR 607 (with a little bit of VA 30's southern end mixed in).

I like VA-5 from I-295 to VA-199.  An easy and quiet (but not especially fast) ride. From there, take VA-199 to U.S. 60 or to I-64.
« Last Edit: July 24, 2017, 10:49:40 AM by cpzilliacus »
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1995hoo

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Re: Best alt route between Richmond & Norfolk?
« Reply #7 on: July 22, 2017, 07:30:41 AM »

As others have noted, if you do use US-460, watch your speed. Easy to get nailed through the towns on that road, not just on I-295.

I like VA-5 for its scenic value.
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LM117

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Re: Best alt route between Richmond & Norfolk?
« Reply #8 on: July 22, 2017, 10:14:35 AM »

As others have noted, if you do use US-460, watch your speed. Easy to get nailed through the towns on that road, not just on I-295.

Especially Waverly. That town had the heaviest enforcement between Petersburg and Suffolk when I last came through there in September 2010 on my way to Norfolk from Farmville. Others were pretty heavy, but not as bad as Waverly.
« Last Edit: July 22, 2017, 10:17:54 AM by LM117 »
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Rothman

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Re: Best alt route between Richmond & Norfolk?
« Reply #9 on: July 22, 2017, 10:17:43 AM »

As others have noted, if you do use US-460, watch your speed. Easy to get nailed through the towns on that road, not just on I-295.

Especially Waverly.
^This.  Got snagged myself.  Do not speed up until strictly after the speed limit signs.  Got nailed accelerating about 150 ft prior.
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WillWeaverRVA

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Re: Best alt route between Richmond & Norfolk?
« Reply #10 on: July 22, 2017, 03:52:38 PM »

I second the VA 5 route. It's a really nice drive and typically doesn't have a great deal of traffic. You do have to be aware of cyclists along the Virginia Capital Trail, but that's not usually a problem since there are very few crossings and the trail has dedicated ROW anyway. You can get to VA 199 and VA 143 in Williamsburg.

US 60 isn't bad either. I don't really care much for US 460 anymore because of the speed traps in the towns along the way.
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Takumi

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Re: Best alt route between Richmond & Norfolk?
« Reply #11 on: July 22, 2017, 05:38:18 PM »

I'll also recommend VA 5. I took it to the outskirts of Williamsburg today and it was a great drive. I hopped onto I-64 between VA 199 and Phoebus, and that was, uh, not so fun. Heavy traffic, ongoing construction, accidents...
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Re: Best alt route between Richmond & Norfolk?
« Reply #12 on: July 23, 2017, 07:08:24 PM »

^ That construction is why I recommended avoiding the Peninsula altogether, it's been congested on all three roads from the Bush Gardens area eastward and doesn't look like it's going to get better until construction wraps up east of Exit 242 (VA 199).

If the OP really wants to go this way then take any route you wish to reach Williamsburg (I generally use US 60 east of I-295 if I-64 is packed). From Williamsburg eastwards is the bottleneck... VA 143 is preferred (though it was backed up itself yesterday from near BG up to VA 238 and again approaching both VA 105 and VA 173, it took me an hour to reach I-64 at Exit 255 from Exit 242 VA 199). If you do want to use VA 143 make sure you reach it by VA 199 (Exit 242A if you do happen to be on the interstate) as it will be too late after that point and you'll be committed to either the construction zone or US 60's 2 lane portion through Grove (via Exit 243), both of which are worse than VA 143 through this area when traffic is bad.

Otherwise I'd stick with night time hours (if possible) or just go south of the James River from the Richmond area to avoid this mess until the construction is done.

Also to the OP, I didn't ask before but what region of Maryland are you coming from?
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Takumi

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Re: Best alt route between Richmond & Norfolk?
« Reply #13 on: July 23, 2017, 10:07:26 PM »

^ That construction is why I recommended avoiding the Peninsula altogether, it's been congested on all three roads from the Bush Gardens area eastward and doesn't look like it's going to get better until construction wraps up east of Exit 242 (VA 199).

If the OP really wants to go this way then take any route you wish to reach Williamsburg (I generally use US 60 east of I-295 if I-64 is packed). From Williamsburg eastwards is the bottleneck... VA 143 is preferred (though it was backed up itself yesterday from near BG up to VA 238 and again approaching both VA 105 and VA 173, it took me an hour to reach I-64 at Exit 255 from Exit 242 VA 199). If you do want to use VA 143 make sure you reach it by VA 199 (Exit 242A if you do happen to be on the interstate) as it will be too late after that point and you'll be committed to either the construction zone or US 60's 2 lane portion through Grove (via Exit 243), both of which are worse than VA 143 through this area when traffic is bad.
Traffic wasn't quite that bad for me. I made the mistake of joining I-64 at VA 199 west because I'd stopped at the Ross on Mooretown Road and it was right there. Traffic was backed up on 64 eastbound most of the way between 199 west and VA 143 at Camp Peary due to a breakdown or something (I say "or something" because it was just a state police cruiser and some people on the side). It would have been faster if I'd jumped onto Rochambeau Drive to Camp Peary and gotten onto 64 there. From the state police car traffic flowed freely for a few minutes, until I reached the construction area. I bailed out at VA 105 and jumped onto 143 for awhile (traffic wasn't too bad at this point, just before noon), got lunch, and rejoined 64 at VA 171 because I was in the wrong lane to get on it directly from Jefferson. By then traffic on 64 was flowing freely again, until past 664 when an accident had shut down the left lane before 60/143 (which just exacerbated traffic woes there since the right lane already ends there). I was heading to Fort Monroe, so I had a few choices as to when to exit 64. Driving through town a bit was quicker than if I'd stayed in the traffic jam all the way to Mallory.

Since I'm on the south side of the river I usually take VA 5 to Williamsburg and VA 10 back. The ferry is much more enjoyable on the way back for some reason.
« Last Edit: July 23, 2017, 10:19:02 PM by Takumi »
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Re: Best alt route between Richmond & Norfolk?
« Reply #14 on: July 25, 2017, 09:24:56 AM »

Never got a speeding ticket on US 460 (or in Emporia either, for that matter), but did get a speeding ticket on VA 5 near Charles City Courthouse.  Turned on from VA 155 and thought the limit was 55.  County cop disabused me of that notion...
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