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Dr. Gridlock
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Posted at 09:03 AM ET, 01/03/2012

The week ahead for traffic, transit

With people back at work and the schools reopening after the holiday break, look for the usual crowd on the roads and rails this week. Meanwhile, the highway departments and Metro are resuming their maintenance work and construction.

Travelers should enjoy a dry week, with gradually warming temperatures, the Capital Weather Gang says.

Here’s a look at some of the issues that commuters will confront during this shortened first work week of the year, starting with the higher tolls in Virginia.

Dulles Toll Road/Greenway

Drivers today are paying more for their rides on the Dulles Greenway and the Dulles Toll Road.

The rate for cars on the Dulles Toll Road went up by 25 cents on Sunday, to $1.50 at the main toll plaza. The rate at the ramps along the highway stays at 75 cents. This increase was approved in 2009 by the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority, which operates the toll road.

The authority says it needs the extra money to build the Silver Line for Metrorail as well as to operate and maintain the toll road. This is the third year of toll increases. Any more would require public hearings.

The Greenway, which is privately owned, raised its maximum base toll by 30 cents, to $4, and the congestion management toll imposed at rush hours is also increasing by 30 cents, to $4.80. This is the final year under the current toll structure. Starting in 2013, the Greenway’s tolls will be tied to the consumer price index.

Third Street Tunnel

The District Department of Transportation plans to close single lanes on the southbound ramp from the Third Street Tunnel to South Capitol Street SE at off peak hours Wednesday through Jan.12. Crews will be working under the Southwest-Southeast Freeway.

The closings will continue from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. each day.

Metro weekday maintenance

Crews will be working on three lines at off-peak hours this week.

Red Line: From 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. each weekday, trains will share tracks between Van Ness and Friendship Heights while workers replace rails and cross ties. Expect minor delays.

At night, Metro continues to replace track circuits, a necessary step in returning the trains to automatic control, though no date has been set for that. That work will take place between Friendship Heights and Medical Center.

On Tuesday and Wednesday, beginning at 10 o’clock each night, trains will single track between Friendship Heights and Medical Center to create a safe work zone for the track circuit replacement.

On the other side of the line, between Takoma and Forest Glen, crews will be working to rehabilitate platforms and stations.

Trains will operate about every 24 minutes in each direction, but there will be extra trains from Gallery Place after events at Verizon Center. (The Capitals play at 7 p.m. Tuesday and the Georgetown Hoyas play at 7 p.m. Wednesday.)

On Thursday, starting at 8 p.m., trains again will share a track between Friendship Heights and Medical Center. And beginning at 10 p.m., they will share tracks between Takoma and Forest Glen.

The trains will operate about every 15 minutes in each direction from 8 p.m. to 9:30 p.m., and about every 24 minutes after that.

Orange Line: From 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. each weekday, trains will share tracks between Clarendon and Ballston, where workers are replacing rails and cross ties. Expect minor delays.

Tuesday through Thursday, beginning at 10 o’clock each night, trains will share tracks between Smithsonian and Eastern Market. This will prepare for a switch replacement project coming up over the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday weekend.

Trains also will be single-tracking between East Falls Church and West Falls Church. This work is part of the Dulles Silver Line project. Metro anticipates delays of about 10 minutes.

Blue Line: Tuesday through Thursday, beginning at 10 o’clock each night, trains will share tracks between Smithsonian and Eastern Market. This is the same corridor the Orange Line trains use, and the work zone is the one for the upcoming switch replacement.

Good Hope Road/MLK Avenue

The District plans to temporarily close the intersection of Good Hope Road and Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue SE and the inbound ramp to Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue from 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. from Tuesday through Jan. 27. The closings will clear room to complete signal installations at the intersection.

Detours: Drivers heading north on Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue will be detoured onto W Street SE, then to 13th Street SE and onto Good Hope Road east of the closing. Drivers heading west on Good Hope Road will be detoured along 14th Street SE to W Street SE and then to Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue south of the closing.

While the inbound ramp to Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue is closed, drivers will detour to southbound I-295, then onto Howard Road SE and back to Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue.

Tysons ramp reopened

Drivers returning to work from their December holidays will find a traffic improvement affecting two major commuter routes in the middle of Tysons Corner.

Work on the Dulles Metrorail project has progressed far enough to allow the reopening of the ramp from westbound Route 7 to southbound Route 123.

The ramp was closed in September 2010 to create a work zone on the west side of the short tunnel that will link the portion of the new rail line being built on the north side of Route 123 and the portion under construction along the median of Route 7.

Montgomery County parking

The long-term rates in Montgomery County’s Silver Spring and North Bethesda parking lot districts increase by 10 cents an hour in January.

That means the rate for parking at the meters that go more than four hours will now be 60 cents an hour. The increase also affects the pay-by-space garage at Cameron Street and Second Avenue in Silver Spring.

The cost of the convenience parking stickers, the monthly permits that many commuters use, is rising to $113 a month.

Pennsylvania Avenue SE

Part of the District’s safety and beautification project along Pennsylvania Avenue SE has wrapped up after two years, but another will continue till spring.

The District Department of Transportation said all the major road work for the Great Streets project should be complete between 27th Street and Alabama Avenue SE. Two lanes will be open for traffic in each direction, and the traffic signals will be in full operation.

The other part of the project, between Alabama and Southern avenues SE, won’t get its final asphalt surface and landscaping till spring. DDOT said the project encountered delays because workers needed to expand the replacement of aging utilities along the corridor and soil conditions in some areas were unfavorable.

Along that unfinished eastern portion of the project, drivers have one lane in each direction.

Cleveland Park elevator

The entrance elevator at Metrorail’s Cleveland Park station is scheduled to go out of service Friday for a modernization project that will continue through May.

Shuttle bus service will be provided to or from the Woodley Park station for people who can’t use Cleveland Park without the elevator in operation. Riders also could choose to travel via Metrobus routes L1, L2 or L4 between Cleveland Park and Woodley Park.

By  |  09:03 AM ET, 01/03/2012

Categories:  Commuting, Metro

 
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