While hundreds of thousands of people will be leaving the D.C. area for the long July Fourth weekend, plenty of tourists will be arriving this week, and will be joining the locals for celebrations in the nation’s capital, including the annual fireworks next Monday.
The highway departments across the D.C. region will stop their road work in time for the holiday trips and Metro won’t do weekend track work, but before that, anticipate a full schedule on our major projects.
The Capital Weather Gang says we’ll bounce back and forth between humidity and drier air this week till we reach a hot and sticky holiday weekend. Meanwhile, here’s what to look for on the roads and rails.
This summer, the District Department of Transportation repairing the bridges along the Anacostia Freeway (I-295), so delays drivers have been experiencing there are likely to continue.
The work is occurring at various times on five bridges: over the Anacostia Park entrance, over Howard Road, over Suitland Parkway, over Firth Sterling Avenue and over South Capitol Street.
Drivers are still getting used to the new Maryland State Highway Administration project that will rehabilitate the Capital Beltway Bridge over the Northwest Branch in Silver Spring.
This has long been a problem area for many morning commuters because of the high traffic volumes, so it may be difficult to isolate the impact of the bridge project. But there are a few things to look for.
The lanes on both sides of the Beltway shift and narrow as drivers approach the bridge and there’s a new barrier to protect the work zone.
That long merge lane on the right side of the outer loop around New Hampshire Avenue is a lot shorter now. In addition to merging, some drivers use this lane to gain a few car lengths on drivers in the regular travel lanes. They still do, even though the lane is a lot shorter, so be extra alert there.
There’s no longer a merge area at the entrance to the inner loop from University Boulevard.
The reconstruction of the George Washington Parkway’s Humpback Bridge, which began in January 2008, is wrapping up. This past weekend, Interstate 395 ramps near the bridge were paved. Stone work on the bridge will be done soon, the National Park Service says. Other work includes fixes on the median guardrail, final grading, rehabilitation of the nearby grounds and removal of the staging area.
Traffic may be stopped occasionally from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday. The left lane on the southbound side is scheduled to close from 7 p.m. to 5:30 a.m. Monday through Thursday.
You know them when you see them: They’re the tourists whose eyes get really big when they realize their arms can’t hold back the rail car doors as they close. Be patient with them. They walk slowly and they stand on the left side of the escalators. They may not see the signs that warn against eating or drinking inside the transit system.
Intercounty Connector signs
On Tuesday night, the Maryland State Highway Administration plans to start lane and ramp closings on southbound Interstate 95 at the Powder Mill Road interchange (exit 29). Workers will be installing overhead sign structures for a future section of the Intercounty Connector.
Tuesday through Thursday nights, the right lane on southbound I-95 will be closed before exit 29 beginning at 7 p.m. The two right lanes will be closed beginning at 11 p.m., and the ramp from southbound I-95 to eastbound Powder Mill Road will be closed between 11 p.m. and 5 a.m.
Drivers heading for eastbound Powder Mill from southbound I-95 will be detoured by continuing on southbound I-95 to the park and ride lot at the Capital Beltway interchange, then onto northbound I-95 up to Powder Mill Road.
The highway administration recommends drivers on southbound I-95 consider alternative routes, including the Baltimore-Washington Parkway or Route 29 (Columbia Pike) to avoid delays.
The Woodrow Wilson Bridge project has opened a new bicycle and pedestrian path on the ramp that connects northbound Telegraph Road with Eisenhower Avenue in the Telegraph Road interchange work zone along the Capital Beltway. It opens access to the Eisenhower Valley for bikers and walkers who live south of the Beltway.
The path is the first such direct connection between Huntington and Eisenhower avenues in the Telegraph Road area since the Beltway was built. The path crosses Cameron Run on the east side of the newly completed Telegraph Road bridge, then connects to the flyover ramp crossing the Beltway.
11th Street Bridge
To accommodate work on the 11th Street Bridge project, the National Park Service plans to close Anacostia Drive SE between Good Hope Road and Nicholson Street from 8 p.m. to 6 a.m. each night through Friday.
The District Department of Transportation may close lanes through Sept. 1 on the old bridge spans and ramps, as well as on nearby parts of the Southeast-Southwest Freeway and Interstate 295/D.C. 295.
Bay Bridge travel
A summertime reminder about the hours when drivers are likely to encounter the least congestion on the Chesapeake Bay Bridge to the Eastern Shore:
Thursday before 2 p.m., Friday before 10 a.m. and after 10 p.m., Saturday before 7 a.m. and after 5 p.m., Sunday before 11 a.m. and after 10 p.m. Here’s the link for live traffic camera views of the bridge.
July Fourth weekend
We’ll have more through the week for travelers who either plan to get away from the area or who want to reach some of the many holiday activities right here in the D.C. area. Stop by my online chat at noon today and let me know what your plans are and what you need to know.