Big projects on Va. Beltway this weekend

Drivers should avoid part of the west side of the Capital Beltway in Virginia on Friday night while the Virginia Department of Transportation makes two big moves to advance the 495 Express Lanes project.

Beltway/Braddock Road

VDOT plans to close all lanes of the outer loop (Interstate 495 South) just before Exit 54 for Braddock Road to set a 230-ton steel bridge girder. Starting at 9:30 p.m. Friday, workers will close one outer loop lane before Braddock Road, then gradually close the others by 10:30 p.m.

All outer loop traffic will be detoured to Exit 54A for Braddock Road West and directed to cross over the roadway, then get back to the outer loop. The lanes are scheduled to reopen by 7:30 a.m. Saturday.

The Capital Weather Gang’s forecast for Friday night looks good, but if bad weather should force cancelation of the work, it will be rescheduled for Saturday night.

The other big project is a little farther north.

Beltway/I-66

To prepare for the opening of a flyover ramp from I-66 West to the outer loop, VDOT plans to close the three right lanes on I-495 South at the I-66 interchange as well as westbound I-66’s exit Exit 64 to the outer loop.

The left side HOV exit from I-66 East to the Beltway also will be closed, and drivers will be directed to use the general purpose exit on the right side.

The closings will start at 9:30 p.m. Friday. By 7 a.m. Saturday, the new flyover ramp should be open to take drivers from I-66 West to the outer loop. Everyone heading from I-66 West to I-495 South will then use this exit, rather than the old left-lane merge.

During the Friday night closings, the westbound I-66 traffic heading to the outer loop will be directed to continue west to Exit 62 (Nutley Street) and follow signs to I-66 East, then go back to I-495 South.

But if you chose to follow that detour back to the outer loop, keep in mind that you’re heading toward the work at Braddock Road described above.

Robert Thomson is The Washington Post’s “Dr. Gridlock.” He answers travelers’ questions, listens to their complaints and shares their pain on the roads, trains and buses in the Washington region.

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