Drivers heading out for the upcoming Memorial Day weekend will form the vanguard of the summer vacation exodus. But commuters in the D.C. area also face an influx of tourists this weekend and beyond, before traffic and transit use really falls off in August.
Sunday’s Commuter page included our annual guide to the popular summer getaway routes, and we plan to post additional information on the blog throughout the week, both for those leaving town or those planning to attend some of the major events this weekend.
There’s a chance of rain every day in the Capital Weather Gang’s forecast.
At midweek, the region will see one of the biggest transportation developments in a year that will include many. The District Department of Transportation plans to open the third and last new span on the 11th Street Bridge over the Anacostia River. That will lead to some temporary discomfort for travelers getting to and from Anacostia destinations, but by the end of the fall, drivers should experience the project’s major benefits.
Join me at noon EDT Monday for our online discussion, and we can look forward to holiday travel plans and upcoming developments in the traffic and transit system.
Here are more details about the key developments likely to affect your commute.
11th Street Bridge
The District Department of Transportation just opened a new ramp at the intersection of M and 11th streets SE that leads onto the 11th Street Bridge and southbound Interstate 295. Drivers who want to reach Anacostia will continue to use their current route along 11th Street SE, up onto the bridge and over the river to Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue and Good Hope Road SE.
But the key development in the District’s largest road project is scheduled for Wednesday, when the new local span opens. That will create new routes to and from Anacostia. Some of this will be temporary, but the 13th Street ramp on the Anacostia side of the river will close permanently.
This is likely to generate extra traffic congestion around Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue and Good Hope Road SE, where traffic will now go onto the local bridge span to cross the river. As drivers cross the river, they will arrive at the O Street SE intersection, where the Navy Yard entrance is to the left. If they turn right on O Street, then left onto 12th Street SE, they can reach M Street SE.
These drivers using the new local bridge won’t have a direct connection to the westbound Southeast-Southwest Freeway.To reach the freeway from M Street SE, they can make a right on 11th Street and go north to I (Eye) Street, where they turn left. I Street leads into Virginia Avenue SE and eventually to the Third Street SE ramp onto the westbound freeway.
Or they could continue on M Street and make a right on Third Street to reach the freeway ramp. Another option from the Anacostia will be to drive south on MLK Jr. Avenue, make a right on Howard Road SE and get onto I-295, which leads to the inbound freeway bridge.
For the moment, other drivers who use the 11th Street Bridge and connecting freeways should not be affected. But by July 4, DDOT have opened the new ramp from southbound DC 295 onto the inbound 11th Street Bridge. That will be a significant breakthrough for longer distance commuters. They won’t have to drive south to Howard Road or Suitland Parkway, then swing around and get back onto the freeway to reach the bridge.
Metro weeknight delays
Metro has no midday track work scheduled for this week, but there will be work from 10 p.m. to the midnight closing Monday through Thursday.
Red Line: Trains will share a track between Twinbrook and Grosvenor, and between Takoma and Forest Glen. Add 10 to 15 minutes to normal travel times, the transit authority says.
Orange Line: Trains will share a track between Vienna and West Falls Church. Delays are likely to be minor, Metro says.
Blue Line: Trains will share a track between Morgan Boulevard and Largo Town Center. Delays are likely to be minor.
Green Line: Trains will share a track between Greenbelt and Prince George’s Plaza, resulting in minor delays.
Baltimore Washington Parkway
The resurfacing project on the Baltimore Washington Parkway is scheduled to continue this week. From 7:30 p.m. to 5:30 a.m. Monday and Tuesday nights, the southbound ramp at Route 450 will be closed for milling and paving. The right lane adjacent to the ramp on southbound Route 450 will also be closed.
Canal Road NW
Canal Road will be closed between M Street NW to Arizona Avenue NW from 10:15 a.m. to 2 p.m. through Wednesday, the National Park Service said. Crews will be working on trees. Clarke Place and Reservoir Road will be open to local traffic only.
Ride On schedule changes
Montgomery County’s Ride On bus system has changed times on seven routes. They are routes are 48, 49, 57, 58, 61, 64, and 74. The schedule adjustments are intended to more accurately reflect the real travel times on these buses, the county said.
For details on the schedule changes, use this link to the Ride On Web page and look for the routes marked “NEW.”
The Virginia Department of Transportation says it upgraded the state’s 511 travel information system this weekend.
If you are signed up for the personal service My 511 Control Room, your user name and password will be disabled during this time. When you go to use the control room for the first time after the weekend upgrade, you will have to create a new free account, giving your e-mail address and preferences.
Metro’s weekend project
The main cause of transit delays over the long Memorial Day weekend will be a switch replacement project on the Green Line. From 10 p.m. Friday through Metrorail’s midnight closing on Memorial Day, free shuttle buses will replace trains between Greenbelt and West Hyattsville. The stations at Prince George’s Plaza, College Park and Greenbelt will be closed.
The Nationals will be out of town all week, but D.C. United has a Saturday night game at RFK Stadium. The Rolling Thunder motorcycle salute to veterans is scheduled for Sunday, but participants bring their own means of transportation. The Memorial Day parade is scheduled for 2 p.m. next Monday on Constitution Avenue NW.