Commuters should find several bridges — one big, one small — back to normal this week after repair projects. Meanwhile, Metro has launched some new and modified bus services in Northern Virginia designed to deal with the impact of the military base realignments and consolidations. Maryland state police announced over the weekend that their planning a crackdown this week on drivers who violate the HOV lane rules.
Travelers should get a break from the 90-degree weather starting Thursday, and the humidity will decline, the Capital Weather Gang says. The best chance for thunderstorms is Tuesday.
14th Street Bridge
The lane closings on the northbound span of the 14th Street bridge have ended after two years of rehabilitation work. Permanent pavement markings were put down over the weekend, returning all lanes to their original configuration. No more adjusting every few months to new merge patterns. Now it’s back to the same old merge patterns that existed before the project began.
This ends work on the road surface, but activity will continue on the underside of the bridge. Placement of equipment for that work may require lane closings, but these would take place during off-peak hours.
Cedar Lane bridge
Montgomery County’s transportation department has reopened the Cedar Lane bridge over Rock Creek, just north of the Capital Beltway. Cedar Lane is an important link in the road network that will have to absorb the extra traffic created by the military base consolidation at Bethesda Naval Medical Center.
The bridge was closed to traffic in June to rehab its deteriorating concrete beams and piers. Montgomery County planners and the surrounding communities decided that it would be better to shut the bridge completely and get the work done in several months, rather than keep it partially open to traffic but extend the length of the project.
The work went faster than scheduled, and the project beat its target date for reopening by three weeks. Ride On bus route 34 is ending its detour and going back to its original route on Cedar Lane.
New Metrobus service
Metro has made several changes in Northern Virginia bus service to help address the military personnel relocations taking effect the base realignments and consolidations.
Route 7M: A new weekday route has started between the Pentagon and Mark Center via I-395, Seminary Road, Beauregard Street and Mark Center Drive to the new transit station at the Defense Department facility on Mark Center Drive, south of Seminary Road in Alexandria. Buses will operate every 10 minutes during peak periods and every 15 minutes at midday, with departures from the Pentagon from 5:40 a.m. to 5 p.m., and from Mark Center from 8 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.
Defense employees boarding at the Pentagon, Mark Center or Southern Towers may ride free with their Mark Center ID on all 7M trips.
Lincolnia-Park Center-Pentagon Line: Routes 7W and 7X have changed to serve the new Mark Center Transit Station, providing peak period connections between the Defense facility on Mark Center Drive and points south.
Foxchase-Seminary Valley Line: Route 8W has been extended from Seminary Road and Library Lane to Mark Center.
Barcroft-South Fairlington Line: On Route 22A, additional peak hour short trips have been added to provide a 10-to-20-minute frequency of service between the Ballston-MU Metrorail station and Barcroft to serve the Defense and State Department facilities at Arlington Hall (George Mason Drive, south of Arlington Boulevard).
Richmond Highway Express (REX): Changes have been made to service in Fort Belvoir, because of the increase in base staff and the opening of the Fort Belvoir Community Hospital. Now that the Belvoir Road gate has returned to 24-hour operation, all trips now will operate to and from Fort Belvoir, serving the new hospital and then going to the Jackson Loop.
Trip times have been adjusted by up to five minutes to reflect the revised routing in Fort Belvoir.
Service via Belvoir and Gunston Roads south of 12th Street, Building 1000 rear roadway, 16th Street between Belvoir and Gunston Roads, Kezia Trail and Farrell Road at the old Dewitt Hospital has stopped.
Two weekday northbound trips have been added leaving Fort Belvoir at 10:31 and 11 p.m. to serve late-evening hospital workers.
Maryland targets bad driving
Watch for an announcement from Maryland state police about an upcoming crackdown on HOV lane violators. The HOV lanes in the Maryland suburbs are along Interstate 270 and Route 50. Drivers frequently complain to me about a lack of enforcement in both areas, but I sympathize with the enforcers because it’s difficult to make traffic stops safely along those lanes.
Overnight Friday, the state police conducted an enforcement campaign along the Beltway in Prince George’s County focused on aggressive, drunk, speeding and inattentive drivers, police said. The troopers issued 91 traffic citations for speeding, charged 11 people with driving on suspended or revoked licenses, arrested three on drunk driving charges and arrested one for a drug violation.
They issued citations to three people for aggressive driving and to six for failure to wear seat belts. The troopers also issued 13 safety equipment repair orders to drivers to get their vehicles fixed to stay on the road. There were 115 warnings issued for various traffic offenses, the police said. They also said these enforcement operations will continue.
Up to two lanes in each direction on Constitution Avenue NW may be closed from 5:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. weekdays between 23rd and 17th streets. Also, the two eastbound lanes nearest the curb will be closed 24-hours-a-day between 19th and 18th streets. The National Park Service said it expects the lanes to be open by the middle of next week.
Friday night football
Games at FedEx crowd the roads around Landover, including the Capital Beltway, which has three exits that provide access to stadium parking: Landover Road, Arena Drive and Central Avenue. The Maryland State Highway Administration says the Central Avenue exit tends to be the least crowded of the three.
Many fans also use the Morgan Boulevard station on Metro’s Blue Line. The stadium is a little under a mile north along a sidewalk. Metrorail stays open late on Friday nights, until 3 a.m. Saturday.