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Posted at 01:55 PM ET, 07/30/2012

11th Street Bridge, Beltway bottlenecks, Metro parking: the week ahead for traffic, transit

[This post has been updated.]

One of the year’s biggest breakthroughs in commuting through the D.C. region is scheduled to occur after the Monday morning rush. The District Department of Transportation plans to open the new ramp from southbound D.C. 295 to the 11th Street Bridge.

The new ramp closes up one of the missing links in the region’s highway system. It will save time for commuters who travel between Maryland and Virginia, and it will remove some of the traffic from Anacostia roads near the bridge.

If all goes well, a similarly impressive breakthrough will occur for commuters who use the Capital Beltway’s outer loop approaching the Woodrow Wilson Bridge. The THRU and LOCAL lanes all will be open in their final configuration by next Monday morning.

That will end the temporary restriction after the lane split during the paving work, and it will end the longtime bottleneck at the Telegraph Road interchange that restricted the flow of outer loop traffic onto the bridge.

Traffic on the major commuter routes should continue to lighten as we enter August, though hot spots remain, including the Beltway near Springfield, the outer loop near Silver Spring, the inner loop north of the American Legion Bridge in the afternoon and the I-66 interchange with the Beltway.

The weather also should be typical for a mid-summer week. High temperatures should range from the mid-80s to low 90s, and there are chances of afternoon storms, especially early in the week, the Capital Weather Gang says.

The Nationals are back in town Tuesday through Sunday for games at Nationals Park, and there’s tennis in the park all week on upper 16th Street NW.

Beltway/Northwest Branch

On the Maryland side of the Beltway, the main trouble spot for drivers is the work zone at the Northwest Branch bridge in Silver Spring, between University Boulevard and New Hampshire Avenue.

The lengthy project is moving into its next phase this week, splitting traffic so that two lanes move by on either side of a barrier. This should be much easier for drivers than the previous phase, which had three lanes of traffic on one side of the barrier and one lane on the other.

The entire bridge rehabilitation is scheduled to be done by the end of the year.

I-66 HOV lanes

Drivers on I-66 near the Beltway have been asking about the new double white lines they see marking the High Occupancy Vehicle lane on the left side. It’s a Virginia Department of Transportation experiment with a goal of getting drivers to stop weaving in and out of those lanes.

Drivers are not supposed to cross the solid lines. There are gaps in the lines where traffic is allowed to move in and out of the lanes. Still to come are the signs that will read, “Do not cross double white lines.”

E-ZPass in 495 Express Lanes

Virginia drivers also have been commenting on the new signs they see in the Beltway corridor that read “E-ZPass Express.” Construction of the 495 Express Lanes is about 95 percent done, and they’re on schedule to open by the end of the year.

All drivers except motorcyclists will need an E-ZPass to use the express lanes. The Virginia Department of Transportation has begun offering the new type of transponder that carpoolers will need to drive in the lanes without paying the toll. It’s called an E-ZPass Flex. See more details on Sunday’s Commuter page.

Tennis on 16th Street NW

The Citi Open tennis tournament, formerly known as the Legg Mason Tennis Classic, started Saturday and will continue for a week at the FitzGerald Tennis Stadium, 16th and Kennedy streets NW. Tournament time always brings increased traffic congestion on upper 16th Street by Rock Creek Park, and parking restrictions are imposed on streets in the neighborhood.

More phone-in parking payments

Starting Monday, drivers can pay for the metered parking at the Rockville and Fort Totten Metro stations using their mobile phones. Metro will offer Park­mobile, the pay-by-phone parking system, as a pilot project to test interest and satisfaction among drivers.

To use the system, drivers must register with Parkmobile at www.us.parkmobile.com. Then they can use a mobile app or call a toll-free phone number to pay for the metered parking. Parkmobile charges a 32-cent fee per transaction. Drivers can still pay cash.

Military Road/Nebraska Avenue

The D.C. Department of Transportation plans to shift the work zone and traffic pattern for the next phase of its Nebraska Avenue reconstruction.

At midweek, watch for the relocation of the Jersey barriers. The work over the next three weeks will focus mainly on the center lane of Military Road, east of Nebraska Avenue.

When that’s done, crews will move to the westbound travel lane of Military Road. That phase probably will begin the week of Aug. 22 and will last about eight weeks.

These roads are heavily traveled, and the reconstruction has been very disruptive for traffic. It will likely take drivers a while to adjust to the latest traffic pattern.

Metro track work

Metro has stopped scheduling routine track maintenance for middays in the crowded core of the train system, but riders still could encounter maintenance delays late on week nights.

This coming weekend, free shuttle buses will replace trains between Vienna and East Falls Church as part of the maintenance program on the Orange Line.

Annapolis Crab Feast on Friday

Watch for extra traffic along Rowe Boulevard in Annapolis on Friday evening, the date of the Rotary Club’s annual Crab Feast. It’s from 5 to 8 p.m. at the Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium. Check for other local events in The Post’s Going Out Guide.

By  |  01:55 PM ET, 07/30/2012

Categories:  Commuting, Metro, Capital Beltway, Highways | Tags:  DC transportation, Metro, WMATA, District Department of Transportation, 11th Street Bridge, Virginia Department of Transportation, Wilson Bridge, Capital Beltway, Maryland Department of Transportation

 
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