The Capital Weather Gang forecasts a beautiful week for travel in the D.C. area, with the only chance of showers coming late Wednesday or during the day Thursday. This afternoon, commuters will notice that they have considerably less time to enjoy the sun, because of the time change.
But I hope drivers in the Tysons area are enjoying the changes on the Capital Beltway and Route 123. There’s still plenty of road work across the D.C. region, and Metro has announced several new track work projects.
Following the return to standard time, commuters this week will enjoy more daylight in the mornings. But they will pay for it on the afternoon side. Some early drivers will find the setting sun shining more directly through their windshields. Those departing slightly later will have more difficulty seeing other cars, cyclists and pedestrians in the twilight.
Drivers, get into the habit of turning your car lights on earlier so you can see and be seen. Cyclists and pedestrians, remember the value of wearing light-colored or reflective clothing, and stay alert for motorists who may have trouble seeing you.
Tysons lane shifts
Commuters heading through Tysons Corner should find that the Capital Beltway’s inner loop (I-495 North) has shifted to the right onto a new bridge over Chain Bridge Road.
This shift, part of the high-occupancy toll lanes project, will allow the reopening of the ramp that leads from the right side of northbound Chain Bridge Road (Route 123) onto the inner loop. That will eliminate the left turn lanes and the traffic light that served as a temporary entrance to the inner loop. The left lanes on Route 123 will be reopened to through traffic.
By the end of the year, a new flyover ramp from eastbound I-66 to the inner loop is scheduled to open. That will carry traffic onto the right lanes of the inner loop, eliminating the left-lane merge and extending the merge lane to Route 7, a huge improvement for drivers used to the very difficult left-side merge.
Red Line night work
Metro will be replacing track circuits on the Red Line on weeknights for the next four weeks. This work is part of the safety program recommended by the National Transportation Safety Board following the June 2009 crash on the Red Line. Circuit replacement is part of the program that eventually will lead to restoration of the automatic train controls, though no date has been set for an end to manual operation of the trains.
To create a safe work area, trains will share single tracks along various parts of the line starting at 8 p.m. Metro said it will operate more eight-car trains during these late hours to ease crowding resulting from delays.
This week, Red Line trains will share tracks between Dupont Circle and Van Ness stations. Riders should allow 15 minutes of extra travel time to get through the work zone.
Rhode Island Avenue Metro
Metro plans to begin construction this week on the staircase that leads from Rhode Island Avenue to the Rhode Island Avenue station entrance. The transit authority expects the work to take about three weeks.
During that time, riders can enter the station via Washington Place through the bus bays or cross Rhode Island Avenue and use the pedestrian bridge to the station. Bus stops will be relocated temporarily.
The construction is part of the big development project adjacent to the Red Line station. Workers are building 274 residential units, 65,000 square feet of retail space and a parking garage.
Constitution Avenue NW
From 5:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. today through Thursday, drivers may find up to three lanes closed in either direction on Constitution Avenue NW between 23rd and 17th streets to prepare for paving. The location of lane closings in this zone may vary daily.
Between 17th and 15th streets, drivers also may find up to three lanes closed in either direction for work on traffic signals and on the pavement.
At least two lanes will be open in each direction during rush hours. There will be no work on Friday, Veterans Day.
Riggs Road/South Dakota Avenue
The District Department of Transportation this week plans to permanently close the ramp from eastbound Riggs Road NE that connects to southbound South Dakota Avenue in Fort Totten. Another eastbound lane will be added to Riggs Road for traffic turning right onto South Dakota Avenue NE.
This ramp closing and others like it are part of the District’s plan to rebuild the junction from an intersection/interchange into a traditional four-way intersection, which the transportation department expects will be safer for drivers, walkers and cyclists and provide a more suitable environment for neighborhood development.
11th Street Bridge
The District Department of Transportation plans to close the exit ramp from the inbound 11th Street bridge to M Street SE from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m .Monday through Thursday.
During these hours, eastbound M Street SE between 11th and 12th streets also will be closed. There will be limited access to that block of westbound M Street. Detours will be marked.
The lane closings will allow crews to install bridge girders over M Street SE for a new freeway bridge.
The Maryland State Highway Administration says the repaving is done on the Capital Beltway’s outer loop between Route 29 and Seminary Road. Drivers should watch for single lane closings of the inner loop from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. weekdays and for double and triple lane closings from 8 p.m. till 5 a.m. Sunday through Thursday nights.
Riggs Road project
The highway administration is doing concrete patching on Riggs Road between University Boulevard and Sargent Road. There may be double lane closings from 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. weeknights.