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Dr. Gridlock
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Posted at 10:16 AM ET, 05/31/2012

Beltway congestion, Metro delays, downtown D.C. race: the weekend and beyond for traffic, transit

Travelers may encounter storms late Friday, but the rest of the weekend looks great for getting around, the Capital Weather Gang says. The Washington Nationals are at home for a weekend series with the Braves. The Race for the Cure runners and walkers will be crowding streets in downtown D.C. on Saturday morning. And there will be some significant delays on the roads and rails across the region.

See also our Going Out Guide for weekend events and activities, and my summer getaway guide for D.C. area drivers.

Beltway/Telegraph Road

Extensive traffic backups are likely to result from paving on the inner loop of the Capital Beltway near the Woodrow Wilson Bridge. By Monday morning, the inner loop’s THRU lanes in Virginia will be in their final configuration, but this is just the beginning of a busy season of paving and lane adjustments along the Beltway.

Beginning at 8 p.m. Thursday, the inner loop THRU lanes will be reduced to a single lane between the bridge and Telegraph Road.

A temporary second LOCAL lane will be opened between Route 1 and Telegraph Road to ease traffic congestion. That lane will be open until Monday morning. Project managers encourage drivers to use the inner loop LOCAL lanes during the day on Friday.

From 8 p.m. Friday to 5 a.m. Monday, all THRU lanes on the inner loop will be shut. The inner loop LOCAL exits to Pershing Avenue and Telegraph Road North also will be closed.

Drivers on the LOCAL lanes heading to the Eisenhower Valley should exit at the Eisenhower Connector and return on Eisenhower Avenue East, the project managers advise.

Race for the Cure

Saturday’s race starts near the Washington Monument goes west along Constitution, goes up to Virginia Avenue, comes back to Constitution, goes south on 14th Street NW to Jefferson Drive, then goes along the Mall to finish near the National Air and Space Museum. See a map on the race’s Web site.

Runners start at 8 a.m. Saturday and walkers start at 8:15 a.m. Metrorail will open two hours early, at 5 a.m. Saturday, June 2. Streets will be closed along the route until the runners and walkers pass.

The closest Metrorail stations to the start lines are Smithsonian and Federal Triangle on the Blue and Orange lines and Metro Center on the Red Line. During big events like this, Smithsonian station gets very crowded. The other stations are likely to be less of a hassle to get through.

Participants riding Metro should make sure they have enough value loaded on their SmarTrip or paper fare cards to cover the round trip, so they avoid long lines at the vending machines. If you’re using a paper fare card, it’s good idea to store it in a plastic cover to protect it from perspiration during the race.

Note also the scheduled track work listed below.

Metro weekend delays

The Metrorail rebuilding program will result in delays on the Orange, Blue, Red, Green and Yellow lines from 10 p.m. Friday through the rail system’s midnight closing Sunday.

Orange Line: Free shuttle buses will replace trains between East Falls Church and West Falls Church. This is the first of three weekends in June for this work zone, set up for testing on the connection to the Silver Line.

The trains between Vienna and West Falls Church and between East Falls Church and New Carrollton should be operating on their regular weekend schedules, Metro said. Using the shuttle buses will add about 20 minutes to normal travel time between the stations.

Blue Line: Trains will share a track between Stadium-Armory and Addison Road and between Van Dorn Street and Braddock Road. Trains are scheduled to leave the ends of the line every 20 minutes. Trips through the work zones will add about 15 minutes to normal travel times, Metro said.

Red Line: Trains will share a track between Forest Glen and Takoma and between Van Ness and Friendship Heights. They are scheduled to leave the ends of the line every 24 minutes. Add 20 minutes to get through the work zones.

Between 9 a.m. and 9 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, more trains will operate between Van Ness and New York Avenue. So at those stations inside the work zones, trains are scheduled to arrive at platforms every 12 minutes.

Green Line: Trains will share a track between College Park and Greenbelt. They will operate on their normal weekend schedule. Every other train will use College Park, rather than Greenbelt, as its eastern terminal. Riders going to and from Greenbelt should add about 15 minutes to normal travel times.

Yellow Line: Trains will share a track between Braddock Road and Huntington. They are scheduled to operate every 24 minutes between Huntington and Mount Vernon Square. Riders who want to continue north from Mount Vernon Square will need to switch to Green Line trains on the same platform.

Ride Across Maryland

Motorcyclists will participate in another weekend event to raise money for the fight against breast cancer. On Saturday morning, hundreds of cyclists will gather at various points for the Ride Across Maryland and head to Ocean City.

This is likely to cause extra traffic congestion on the Chesapeake Bay Bridge at about 10 a.m. Saturday. Police will direct the riders to the far right side of the toll plaza.

Chesapeake Bay Bridge

In addition to the traffic generated by the Ride Across Maryland, the NASCAR races this weekend in Dover, Del., are likely to add to the congestion on the eastbound bridge lanes throughout the weekend and on the westbound lanes Sunday evening.

A summer travel season reminder: The best times to use the Bay Bridge are Thursday and Friday before 10 a.m. and after 10 p.m., Saturday before 7 a.m. and after 5 p.m., and Sunday before 10 a.m. and after 10 p.m.

By  |  10:16 AM ET, 05/31/2012

Categories:  Weekend Work, Metro, Capital Beltway, Bay Bridge, Events | Tags:  DC transportation, Transportation, Virginia Department of Transportation, Capital Beltway, Washington Nationals, Metro, WMATA, Race for the Cure

 
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