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Dr. Gridlock
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Posted at 09:32 AM ET, 07/18/2011

The week ahead in traffic, transit

The Capital Weather Gang’s forecast for local travel is just ghastly. Temperatures start in the 90s and go up as the week progresses. This will stress transit riders, bikers and pedestrians, but it also will stress car engines. Everyone needs to take precautions.

There are several big outdoor events this week. A variety of activities in the Manassas area will mark the anniversary of the Civil War battle. And D.C. United plays at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday in RFK Stadium against New England Revolution. Here’s what to watch for on the roads and transit.

Manassas battle anniversary

Look for extra traffic in the Manassas area Thursday through Sunday, although it shouldn’t be as bad as the congestion that occurred during the U.S. Army’s eastbound rush hour after the Civil War battle 150 years ago.

Focal points for the anniversary events are Manassas National Battlefield Park, Old Town Manassas and the Pageland Farm, just west of the battlefield park. Planners say the reenactments on Saturday and Sunday at the farm are likely to draw more than 10,000 people.

Parking for those events will be on the grounds of the Jiffy Lube Live pavilion, 7800 Cellar Door Dr., Bristow. Visitors to events in Old Town Manassas can park at the Prince William County Fairgrounds, 10624 Dumfries Rd., Manassas. At the battlefield park, north of Interstate 66, there’s a large parking area on Chinn Ridge off Sudley Road (Route 234). Many of these anniversary events involve fees.

Constitution Avenue NW

From 5:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. each day through Friday, expect up to two lanes in each direction to be closed between between 17th and 23rd streets for the avenue’s reconstruction.

From 7 p.m. to 5:30 a.m. each night through Friday, expect to find up to three lanes closed in each direction between 16th and 18th streets. From 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, drivers may find up to three lanes closed in each direction between 17th and 23rd streets.

George Washington Parkway

The reconstruction of the Humpback Bridge is in its final phase, but drivers in that area, near the Virginia side of the 14th Street Bridge on I-395, will encounter lane closings in both directions on the George Washington Parkway while stone work and landscaping continue.

Route 29/Fairland Road

Drivers heading south on Route 29 in Montgomery County will need to look sharp to catch the new exit for left turns onto Fairland Road. The Maryland State Highway Administration built the new ramp as part of the Intercounty Connector project, which will have an interchange with Route 29 in the Fairland area.

The ramp already is used by southbound drivers who want to make a right turn on Fairland Road and head west. Starting Wednesday, the ramp also will be used by southbound drivers who want to turn left and head east. Those drivers have been going up to the light at the Fairland intersection to make the left.

Once the change occurs, they’ll have to remember to look for this right-hand ramp, which starts about a third of a mile before the intersection. The Maryland State Highway Administration, which is in charge of the construction, will use electronic message boards to alert drivers.

To begin the transition to the new setup for left-turners, workers are scheduled to close lanes on southbound Route 29 at 8 p.m. Tuesday. The new configuration should be in place in time for the morning rush on Wednesday.

Tysons Corner detour

Drivers in Tysons Corner can expect overnight closings of part of the intersection of Route 7 (Leesburg Pike) and Westpark Drive/Gosnell Road for up to six weeks.

Cranes will be used to start building elevated spans to carry the Dulles Metrorail tracks over the intersection, near the Westpark Hotel, the Ernst and Young building and the former Business Bank building.

Through traffic can continue on Route 7, but traffic on Westpark/Gosnell will be detoured as follows:

Southbound Westpark Drive traffic can turn right on westbound Route 7, then make a U-turn at Spring Hill Road and turn right on Gosnell Road. Northbound Gosnell Road traffic can turn right on eastbound Route 7, pass under Route 123, turn left on International Drive, left on Chain Bridge Road (Route 123), then take the exit ramp to Route 7 and turn right on Westpark Drive.

The closings are scheduled for 11 p.m. to 5 a.m. Sundays through Fridays. The work is taking place near where a large yellow-and-blue crane has been assembled in the median of Route 7. The crane had been used to build rail bridges along the northwest side of Route 123 before it was moved several weeks ago.

Route 29/Gallows Road

The Virginia Department of Transportation says it’s ready to start rebuilding the congested intersection at Route 29 and Gallows Road in Merrifield. The project is scheduled to be done by the end of 2012.

During construction, night-time drivers will at times be funneled down to a single lane through the work zone. One section of Gallows Road just north of the intersection will be reduced to one lane in each direction for about four months. VDOT says it will announce a schedule for the lane closings.

A community meeting to discuss the project with VDOT officials is scheduled for 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. July 27 at Luther Jackson Middle School, 3020 Gallows Road in Falls Church. A brief presentation will begin at 7:30, followed by a question-and-answer period.

Beltway/Kenilworth Avenue

Drivers will find up to three lanes closed on the Capital Beltway’s inner loop (I-95/I-495 South) Sunday through Thursday nights at the Kenilworth Avenue bridge, which is undergoing a rehabilitation scheduled to be done by fall.

The phased-in lane closings will start with a single right lane closing at 8 p.m. and progress to a three-lane closure by 10 p.m. One lane will remain open to traffic.

The overnight lane closures will last several weeks while the concrete deck is removed. All lanes will reopen by 5 o’clock each morning.

Croom Station Road

The Prince George’s County Department of Public Works and Transportation plans to close the 7700 to 8100 blocks of Croom Station Road to through traffic from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. starting today.

During those hours, workers will replace a storm drain pipe. This portion of the road is in a swampy area with no shoulder, so the staging area for the emergency repair must be placed in the roadway, the department said.

People who live in the 7700 block can reach their homes via Route 301. Those in the 8000 block will have access from Croom Road. Drivers who normally use Croom Station Road as a through street should stick with Route 301 during the work, which is scheduled to take about a week.

Beltway/Silver Spring

The Maryland State Highway Administration plans to resurface more than four miles on the Capital Beltway’s inner and outer loops between Colesville and Seminary roads, starting this week. The work should be done before Thanksgiving.

Just east of the new project, workers are rehabilitating the Beltway bridge over the Northwest Branch in Silver Spring, and motorists also are experiencing congestion because of lane shifts in that area.

The new resurfacing project will include the ramps at the Georgia Avenue and Colesville Road interchanges.

Here are some details about the upcoming lane closings:

On both loops, single lane closings will occur Monday through Friday between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. and overnight Sunday through Thursday between 8 p.m. and 10 p.m. Double lane closings can occur overnight Monday through Friday between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m.

Metro weekend delays

This coming weekend’s big Metrorail project is the same as this past weekend’s. Metro and the Dulles rail project will be working on the tracks between East Falls Church and West Falls Church. Rail service between the two stations will be suspended, replaced with free shuttle buses. Both stations will remain open.

Kids ride free

Students 18 and younger can travel for free on any of Montgomery County’s regular Ride On buses and most Metrobus routes within the county from 2 to 7 p.m. weekdays year-round. Older students must show the bus driver a valid school ID or the student pass issued by Ride On. Elementary students do not need an ID.

New hybrid rules

While Virginia again has extended the exemption that allows drivers of hybrids to use the High Occupancy Vehicle lanes without having the required number of passengers, the rules have changed on Interstate 66 and the Dulles Toll Road.

As of July 1, only hybrids that obtained their clean-fuel plates before that date are allowed to travel in the HOV lanes on I-66 and the toll road during rush hour with one occupant. Police who enforce the HOV law don’t need to figure out the make and year of a hybrid to figure out if it qualifies for the exemption. They just look to see if the vehicle has the proper clean-fuel plate issued by the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles.

By  |  09:32 AM ET, 07/18/2011

Categories:  Commuting, Construction, Events, Capital Beltway, Metro

 
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