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Author Topic: US 50 in Virginia -- where does the "mess" begin?  (Read 9327 times)

hbelkins

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US 50 in Virginia -- where does the "mess" begin?
« on: May 03, 2016, 02:42:28 PM »

So I'm looking to attend CPZ's Corridor H meet, which will begin and end in Front Royal. I'd like to try to maximize that trip and one way of possibly doing that is by trying to drive some parts of US 50 that I'm lacking. I don't have anything in Virginia east of VA 37, with the exception of a few bits and pieces here and there.

I don't know how much of the suburban jungle I want to try to tackle, even though I'd be there on Memorial Day when lots of offices would be closed, so I probably won't be trying to get everything from the Fairfax area east through Arlington and crossing the Potomac, because I don't want to waste too much time before I head west toward home.

Where's the best point to start a westward journey? I'm looking at possibly taking I-66 to VA 28 and then hitting US 50 at Chantilly. Another option, if it wouldn't be too messy, is to take I-66 all the way to US 50 west.

Any advice on this? Or would mid-morning on a federal holiday not be too much of a challenge to go all the way into DC and then work back?
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oscar

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Re: US 50 in Virginia -- where does the "mess" begin?
« Reply #1 on: May 03, 2016, 03:05:16 PM »

So I'm looking to attend CPZ's Corridor H meet, which will begin and end in Front Royal. I'd like to try to maximize that trip and one way of possibly doing that is by trying to drive some parts of US 50 that I'm lacking. I don't have anything in Virginia east of VA 37, with the exception of a few bits and pieces here and there.

I don't know how much of the suburban jungle I want to try to tackle, even though I'd be there on Memorial Day when lots of offices would be closed, so I probably won't be trying to get everything from the Fairfax area east through Arlington and crossing the Potomac, because I don't want to waste too much time before I head west toward home.

Where's the best point to start a westward journey? I'm looking at possibly taking I-66 to VA 28 and then hitting US 50 at Chantilly. Another option, if it wouldn't be too messy, is to take I-66 all the way to US 50 west.

Any advice on this? Or would mid-morning on a federal holiday not be too much of a challenge to go all the way into DC and then work back?

On non-workdays, the suburban shopping mess takes over from the commute-to-work mess, especially east of VA 28. Development is just starting to sprout up between US 15 and VA 28, so it should be tolerable east to VA 28.

You could use VA 28 as a starting point to head west, or get on US 50 at the other end and drive east as far as you can before taking a bailout route to I-66.

US 50 in Arlington County is not bad except during the long weekday morning and afternoon rushes. Fairfax County has more messy US 50 stretches, any day of the week, which is a better reason not to venture east of VA 28.

EDITS: Between VA 37 and VA 28, following US 50 through Winchester can be kind of tricky. Also, US 50 through Middleburg will slow you down a little, since rich-bitch NIMBYs there have blocked the bypass US 50 really needs. Feel free to use the extra time productively, by practicing your one-finger salute as you pass through Middleburg.
« Last Edit: May 03, 2016, 03:28:56 PM by oscar »
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Mapmikey

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Re: US 50 in Virginia -- where does the "mess" begin?
« Reply #2 on: May 03, 2016, 04:16:36 PM »

US 50 is better posted through Winchester than it used to be (rerouted a few years ago and now posted in full size signs - you may not see ANY cutouts in Winchester).

Traffic calming is in Aldie, Middleburg, and Upperville...a beautiful ride but not wide open end to end from US 17 to US 15.
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1995hoo

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Re: US 50 in Virginia -- where does the "mess" begin?
« Reply #3 on: May 03, 2016, 07:11:55 PM »

Do not speed through Upperville. Last five times I've gone through there I've seen a cop every time.
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"You know, you never have a guaranteed spot until you have a spot guaranteed."
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"That sounded stupid, didn't it?"—Kolzig, to the same reporter a few seconds later.

froggie

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Re: US 50 in Virginia -- where does the "mess" begin?
« Reply #4 on: May 03, 2016, 08:40:49 PM »

Given the time of day and which day, I wouldn't think the leg between 28 and 66/Fair Oaks would be that bad.
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1995hoo

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Re: US 50 in Virginia -- where does the "mess" begin?
« Reply #5 on: May 03, 2016, 09:25:26 PM »

Its been a few months since I used this segment, but as of last fall there was a fair amount of construction for a few miles west of Route 28 as part of a widening project. I don't know whether it's done. Midday on a non-workday the bulk of the traffic would more likely be headed inbound.

One thing to remember as to the closer-in areas on Memorial Day itself is that there are road closures that morning around the Pentagon and across Memorial Bridge for the annual Rolling Thunder motorcycle rally involving Vietnam veterans. It's generally not a traffic problem elsewhere aside from just being aware there will be a lot more motorcycles on area roads than there are the rest of the year, but it does cause more traffic on the other bridges and may cause mild issues reaching the Roosevelt Bridge from the DC side if you don't plan ahead.
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"You know, you never have a guaranteed spot until you have a spot guaranteed."
—Olaf Kolzig, as quoted in the Washington Times on March 28, 2003,
commenting on the Capitals clinching a playoff spot.

"That sounded stupid, didn't it?"—Kolzig, to the same reporter a few seconds later.

froggie

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Re: US 50 in Virginia -- where does the "mess" begin?
« Reply #6 on: May 03, 2016, 10:04:40 PM »

From the way it sounds, he won't be going any closer to the core than Fair Oaks...
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1995hoo

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Re: US 50 in Virginia -- where does the "mess" begin?
« Reply #7 on: May 04, 2016, 07:28:38 AM »

From the way it sounds, he won't be going any closer to the core than Fair Oaks...

Yeah, but since he hedged it with "probably," I figured it certainly couldn't hurt to mention it.

As Oscar noted, the part inside the Beltway generally isn't all that bad outside rush hours, especially in Arlington. I've usually found it moves OK as far west as, say, Pickett Road, just east of where you start hitting the traffic lights and shopping areas through Fairfax City. One option for that segment would be to take Route 50 from the District west to Nutley Street, turn right, then pick up I-66 at the Vienna Metro.
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"You know, you never have a guaranteed spot until you have a spot guaranteed."
—Olaf Kolzig, as quoted in the Washington Times on March 28, 2003,
commenting on the Capitals clinching a playoff spot.

"That sounded stupid, didn't it?"—Kolzig, to the same reporter a few seconds later.

cpzilliacus

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Re: US 50 in Virginia -- where does the "mess" begin?
« Reply #8 on: May 04, 2016, 01:33:14 PM »

Do not speed through Upperville. Last five times I've gone through there I've seen a cop every time.

Strongly concur with the above.  The Fauquier County Sheriff's Office likes to have a deputy there (it is between Paris (where U.S. 17 peels off and heads south toward I-66 and then Warrenton) and Middleburg). 

Also watch for speed limit enforcement through the City of Fairfax (roughly from I-66 to Fairfax Circle, where U.S. 29 diverges from U.S. 50 just at the eastern corporate limits of the City of Fairfax).
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hbelkins

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Re: US 50 in Virginia -- where does the "mess" begin?
« Reply #9 on: May 23, 2016, 12:48:43 PM »

Slight change of plans. I had anticipated doing something in Staunton on the Sunday night after the Corridor H meet concludes, but that fell through. So now I'm looking at going east after the meet and staying in the Gainesville/Manassas/Centreville area Sunday, and then crossing the Potomac and clinching all of US 50 in Virginia. This will require a U-turn, so I'm curious as to how best accomplish that. My first thought was to exit at US 29 for the Key Bridge, then double back on the Whitehurst/I-66 and exit for US 50 west. Would that be the best way, or would there be any better alternatives?

If we're done early enough Sunday afternoon/evening, I may do this leg of the US 50 clinch then and pick up where I leave off Monday morning heading west.

Thought on the best U-turn route or method? Anything better than what I have in mind?
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froggie

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Re: US 50 in Virginia -- where does the "mess" begin?
« Reply #10 on: May 23, 2016, 01:29:26 PM »

No, that's probably the best way to do it, as it minimizes impacts from Georgetown, the Sunday Rolling Thunder motorcycle ride, and Monday's Memorial Day parade in the DC core.  While these events aren't directly along your path, they're close enough to where you'd have some spillover if you're doing it at the wrong time.  Best bets are later Sunday evening (Rolling Thunder ends 4-5-ish) or first thing Monday morning.
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hbelkins

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Re: US 50 in Virginia -- where does the "mess" begin?
« Reply #11 on: May 23, 2016, 11:17:17 PM »

I did this somewhat in reverse several years ago to get my clinch of I-66. I was going west on Constitution Avenue (US 50) and crossed the river, took the Key Bridge, then the Whitehurst to the beginning of I-66 in the District.
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1995hoo

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Re: US 50 in Virginia -- where does the "mess" begin?
« Reply #12 on: May 24, 2016, 09:42:43 AM »

I think froggie is right in terms of avoiding possible traffic. Another easy option that involves no traffic lights is to go inbound over the Roosevelt Bridge, exit to the left to stay on I-66, then get in the far left lane. I-66 ends at 27 Street and you just stay in the far left lane and go left at the traffic light (stop is not required in that lane) and you're back on I-66 back to the bridge. Easy route, no traffic lights, but subject to traffic delays if anything is going on down Constitution Avenue if the traffic spills back to the bridge.

Plus the Whitehurst has nicer views of the area. I-66 is in that sunken trench.
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"You know, you never have a guaranteed spot until you have a spot guaranteed."
—Olaf Kolzig, as quoted in the Washington Times on March 28, 2003,
commenting on the Capitals clinching a playoff spot.

"That sounded stupid, didn't it?"—Kolzig, to the same reporter a few seconds later.

hbelkins

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Re: US 50 in Virginia -- where does the "mess" begin?
« Reply #13 on: May 24, 2016, 10:04:25 AM »

Sudden thought -- are the HOV restrictions on I-66 inside the Beltway going to bite me on Memorial Day morning?
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1995hoo

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Re: US 50 in Virginia -- where does the "mess" begin?
« Reply #14 on: May 24, 2016, 11:42:59 AM »

Sudden thought -- are the HOV restrictions on I-66 inside the Beltway going to bite me on Memorial Day morning?

No. No HOV in Virginia on federal holidays. HO/T rules are in effect on the Beltway and I-95, but from your comments those shouldn't be an issue for you. The only DC-area non-HO/T highway with HOV in place on holidays is a portion of Route 50 in Maryland.
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"You know, you never have a guaranteed spot until you have a spot guaranteed."
—Olaf Kolzig, as quoted in the Washington Times on March 28, 2003,
commenting on the Capitals clinching a playoff spot.

"That sounded stupid, didn't it?"—Kolzig, to the same reporter a few seconds later.

1995hoo

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Re: US 50 in Virginia -- where does the "mess" begin?
« Reply #15 on: May 24, 2016, 03:45:38 PM »

BTW....just so you know, early forecasts for Monday show a possibility of heavy rain, maybe one to three inches depending on the "model," Monday afternoon into Tuesday. Why should it be an different from the rest of the month (so far it's rained 19 of 24 days in May).
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"You know, you never have a guaranteed spot until you have a spot guaranteed."
—Olaf Kolzig, as quoted in the Washington Times on March 28, 2003,
commenting on the Capitals clinching a playoff spot.

"That sounded stupid, didn't it?"—Kolzig, to the same reporter a few seconds later.

cpzilliacus

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Re: US 50 in Virginia -- where does the "mess" begin?
« Reply #16 on: May 24, 2016, 11:40:23 PM »

Sudden thought -- are the HOV restrictions on I-66 inside the Beltway going to bite me on Memorial Day morning?

Agree with Hoo.

But - if things are quiet - that's one of the rare times that you might encounter VSP speed limit enforcement along I-66 inside the Beltway. Suggest not exceeding the posted limit of 55 by much.

Same on U.S. 50 (Arlington Boulevard) in Arlington and Fairfax Counties and especially the City of Fairfax (local law enforcement along those routes).
« Last Edit: May 24, 2016, 11:48:16 PM by cpzilliacus »
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oscar

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Re: US 50 in Virginia -- where does the "mess" begin?
« Reply #17 on: May 25, 2016, 12:01:36 AM »

Same on U.S. 50 (Arlington Boulevard) in Arlington and Fairfax Counties and especially the City of Fairfax (local law enforcement along those routes).

In Arlington, speed enforcement is toughest on US 50 east of the Carlin Springs Rd. interchange, and also east of the Glebe Rd. (VA 120) interchange. In both places, stay close to the 45mph limit.
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1995hoo

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Re: US 50 in Virginia -- where does the "mess" begin?
« Reply #18 on: May 25, 2016, 07:23:54 AM »

In my observation over the years, the strictest speed limit enforcement on Route 50 in the City of Fairfax tends to be on the section between Draper Drive (where you pass the Harley shop) and Eaton Place (just before you pass Hooters), presumably because (a) the road through there is three lanes per side and straight but carries a low 35-mph speed limit and (b) Fairfax High School is just off that stretch on the street named Rebel Run, although of course the high school kids won't be an issue on Memorial Day.
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"You know, you never have a guaranteed spot until you have a spot guaranteed."
—Olaf Kolzig, as quoted in the Washington Times on March 28, 2003,
commenting on the Capitals clinching a playoff spot.

"That sounded stupid, didn't it?"—Kolzig, to the same reporter a few seconds later.

1995hoo

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Re: US 50 in Virginia -- where does the "mess" begin?
« Reply #19 on: May 25, 2016, 01:27:30 PM »

Rolling Thunder details: It's on Sunday. Riders gather at the Pentagon and the ride begins at noon. Memorial Bridge to a left onto 23 Street NW, north to Constitution Avenue NW, east to Pennsylvania Avenue, then right onto Third Street and west on Independence Avenue to parking fields in West Potomac Park. Ride runs through around 3:30 PM.

The parade is on Monday at 2:00 down the usual parade route on Constitution between Seventh and 17th, but Constitution itself will be closed as far as 19th.
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"You know, you never have a guaranteed spot until you have a spot guaranteed."
—Olaf Kolzig, as quoted in the Washington Times on March 28, 2003,
commenting on the Capitals clinching a playoff spot.

"That sounded stupid, didn't it?"—Kolzig, to the same reporter a few seconds later.

hbelkins

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Re: US 50 in Virginia -- where does the "mess" begin?
« Reply #20 on: May 25, 2016, 03:21:43 PM »

Speeding has never been an issue for me in Virginia. Since I can't use my V-1, I watch my speed like a hawk.

Hearing reports about a possible tropical depression hitting the east coast sometime over the weekend. Oh what fun.

My plans are to leave the meet's conclusion at Oldtown on Sunday and head to Front Royal, which is about a two-hour drive, then east on VA 55 to Gainesville, then depending on time of day, decide whether to go on in and take 50 west to somewhere that would be convenient to pick up the trail on Monday morning, before ducking down to Manassas to my hotel.
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1995hoo

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Re: US 50 in Virginia -- where does the "mess" begin?
« Reply #21 on: May 25, 2016, 03:56:58 PM »

Probably the most convenient way to connect between Route 50 and Manassas is US-15 south from the roundabout at Gilbert's Corner to VA-234, which becomes VA-234 Business south of I-66 and is where most of the hotels, chain restaurants, and gas stations are. Heading west on 50, Route 15 is the third roundabout and you'd take the third exit.

You could go all the way down 15 to I-66 and backtrack, but to me that stretch of 15 feels like a long way even though it isn't, and there's construction at I-66 where they're building a DDI and on I-66 where they're widening the road.
« Last Edit: May 25, 2016, 03:59:39 PM by 1995hoo »
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"You know, you never have a guaranteed spot until you have a spot guaranteed."
—Olaf Kolzig, as quoted in the Washington Times on March 28, 2003,
commenting on the Capitals clinching a playoff spot.

"That sounded stupid, didn't it?"—Kolzig, to the same reporter a few seconds later.

hbelkins

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Re: US 50 in Virginia -- where does the "mess" begin?
« Reply #22 on: May 26, 2016, 01:29:43 PM »

The only time I ever drove that stretch of 15 between 66 and 50, it was nearly dark and I couldn't see very much. They Haymarket Sheetz was my final stop on the way to Annapolis last September.
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1995hoo

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Re: US 50 in Virginia -- where does the "mess" begin?
« Reply #23 on: May 26, 2016, 01:52:13 PM »

It occurs to me today that Gum Spring Road might be more direct. I do not remember whether its intersection with Route 50 is in the middle of the work zone, nor do I know whether the widening of Route 50 that was underway last fall is done. I know I could look it up, I just haven't, and you'd find out for yourself either way!
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"You know, you never have a guaranteed spot until you have a spot guaranteed."
—Olaf Kolzig, as quoted in the Washington Times on March 28, 2003,
commenting on the Capitals clinching a playoff spot.

"That sounded stupid, didn't it?"—Kolzig, to the same reporter a few seconds later.

hbelkins

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Re: US 50 in Virginia -- where does the "mess" begin?
« Reply #24 on: June 03, 2016, 08:05:50 PM »

I was late getting to Manassas Sunday night for my overnight stop, so I did not go any farther east. I got up Monday morning and took I-66 eastbound to US 29 (finding myself amazed at the lack of inbound traffic despite it being early on a federal holiday and at the VSP speed enforcement along the route), crossed the Key Bridge, took the Whitehurst to I-66 and followed US 50 out of the DC metro area without any problems whatsoever under very light traffic. The route's turns in Fairfax were posted with newer signs, but with not as many advance and at-the-intersection assemblies as is typical in Virginia.

Also, DC could do a much better job of signing US 29's turn from the Key Bridge to the Whitehurst, since there is no US 29 signage there at all now, and never has been since I first drove across the Key Bridge in 2004.

I left Manassas around 7 a.m. and was at the US 15 roundabout by 830. I just regret that I didn't go south of I-66 on Business 234 and turn around to get a photo of the wide Texas-style I-66 marker at the ramp from northbound 234 to eastbound 66.

US 50 is better posted through Winchester than it used to be (rerouted a few years ago and now posted in full size signs - you may not see ANY cutouts in Winchester).

Traffic calming is in Aldie, Middleburg, and Upperville...a beautiful ride but not wide open end to end from US 17 to US 15.

One set of cutouts -- eastbound on US 50/17/522 between the Sheetz and I-81.

And how did those decorative medians ever get approved by VDOT? Seems to me they would cause difficulty for trucks or other wide loads.

And why is the truck restriction on US 17? Are their structurally deficient bridges along the route? From what I saw along US 50, I'd think it should be the truck-restricted route.

Also, were those three roundabouts in a row REALLY necessary? I'd only driven through the US 15/US 50 intersection once, northbound on 15, so I don't remember what kind of traffic control was in place there. But I can't imagine all three of those roundabouts were needed.
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