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Dr. Gridlock
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Posted at 09:08 AM ET, 05/16/2011

The week ahead in traffic, transit

There will be a chance of rain every commuting day this week, the Capital Weather Gang says. The Nationals have a game scheduled for tonight and another scheduled for 1:05 p.m. Tuesday before they hit the road for more than a week. Drivers will encounter several new traffic patterns on highways. Late-night Metrorail riders will encounter work zones on the Red, Blue and Orange lines this week.

Northwest Branch Beltway Bridge

The Maryland State Highway Administration is beginning a two-year rehabilitation project on the Capital Beltway bridge over Northwest Branch between New Hampshire Avenue and University Boulevard in Silver Spring.

Jersey barriers will be installed on both sides of the Beltway. The lanes will shift, and they will be narrowed from 12 to 11 feet. The shoulders near the bridge will be closed. Single-lane closings will be scheduled for 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. weeknights.

14th Street Bridge

The new work zone continues to create extra congestion on the northbound span of the 14th Street Bridge. Traffic cameras showed many vehicles shifting lanes to the right just before they reached the split for the construction island.

There’s no reason to do that. Drivers in the second lane from the left have the option of continuing straight onto 14th Street for destinations in downtown Washington or bearing right just after the construction island ends so they can head onto the Southeast-Southwest Freeway.

Instead, many drivers are making unnecessary last-moment shifts to the right just before the construction island. Some drivers may be reacting to the big green and white sign hanging across the bridge around where the split begins. Drivers looking at the sign — which is not new — in combination with the flashing arrows at road level marking the split may think they need to be right of the island to reach the freeway. That’s not so.

Changes at Telegraph Road

Watch for a different traffic pattern at the Telegraph Road interchange. A new ramp will permanently eliminate the left turn from southbound Telegraph Road onto North Kings Highway, lengthening green-light time for Telegraph Road travelers.

This will cause some initial confusion: For southbound drivers on Telegraph Road, the turn to North Kings Highway will be the first right after crossing the Cameron Run Bridge, while the turn to Huntington Avenue will be the second right. This is part of the Wilson Bridge project.

Beltway HOT lanes

The Virginia Department of Transportation is making a permanent traffic shift this week at the Capital Beltway’s interchange with Braddock Road. This is part of the reconstruction along 14 miles of the western Beltway in Virginia to create the high-occupancy toll lanes.

The ramp from westbound Braddock Road to the Beltway’s outer loop (southbound I-495) is being closed. Drivers should look for a new traffic signal for a left turn onto the outer loop. A new left-turn lane will accommodate the traffic, VDOT said.

A temporary traffic signal that controls traffic coming off the outer loop for eastbound Braddock Road will remain until the new Braddock Road bridge is completed in late summer.

Work on Va. Beltway

The Wilson Bridge Project plan to close the ramp from the Eisenhower Connector to the Capital Beltway outer loop (I-95/495 North) 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. each night through Thursday for roadway construction. Motorists are advised to seek alternate routes to avoid delays during this work.

Detour: From the Eisenhower Connector, take the ramp to the inner loop (I-95/495 South) going west, exit at Van Dorn Street, then make a U-turn and take the exit for the outer loop.

Metro night work

Metrorail is repairing tracks and platforms in various sections of all the lines but the Green and Yellow lines this week. See this pdf listing of the zones in which trains will share single tracks nightly.

This will create delays of about 20 minutes through the work zones. Most of the work zones will start at 10 p.m.

By  |  09:08 AM ET, 05/16/2011

Categories:  Commuting, Construction

 
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