Travelers who have enjoyed the recent balmy weather will encounter much cooler temperatures this weekend, the Capital Weather Gang says. The breeze will pick up on Friday evening, but diminish on Saturday.
In addition to Metro’s maintenance delays, travelers should watch for changes on the Capital Beltway in Virginia’s 495 Express Lanes work zone and for a weekend narrowing at the New York Avenue bridge in D.C.
Metro weekend delays
Metro announced this week that it’s going to take a spring break from track work beginning March 24 for the Cherry Blossom Festival, but for now, it’s still winter, and the work goes on.
This weekend, all lines are affected, starting at 10 p.m. Friday and continuing through the rail system’s midnight closing Sunday.
Red Line: Trains will share a track between Shady Grove and Twinbrook and between New York Avenue and Rhode Island Avenue.
Throughout the weekend, trains will operate between the ends of the line at Shady Grove and Glenmont every 16 minutes. Between 9 a.m. and 9 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, additional trains will operate between Grosvenor and New York Avenue. So in the middle of the line, trains should arrive about every eight minutes.
Metro says riders should add about 15 minutes to their regular travel times.
Orange Line: Trains will share a track between Eastern Market and Stadium-Armory and between East Falls Church and West Falls Church. The trains will leave their terminal stations about every 20 minutes. Riders should add about 15 minutes to their regular travel times.
Blue Line: As with the Orange Line, Blue Line trains will share a track between Eastern Market and Stadium-Armory. They will leave their terminal stations about every 20 minutes. Add about 15 minutes to regular travel times.
Green Line: Trains will share a track between Naylor Road and Branch Avenue. They will operate about every 16 minutes. Add about 10 minutes to normal travel times.
Yellow Line: There’s no work scheduled on the Yellow Line, but because of the Green Line work, the schedule will be adjusted. Yellow Line trains will operate about every 16 minutes between Huntington and Fort Totten..
The Virginia Department of Transportation is closing the right-side ramp from eastbound Route 7 (Leesburg Pike) to the Capital Beltway’s inner loop and turning on a new traffic signal. This may occur on Friday. Thereafter, the eastbound traffic heading for the inner loop will have to make a left turn.
Drivers heading west on Route 7 also will be affected by this change, because they will have the new traffic signal to stop them while the oncoming drivers make their left turns.
The closing of the old ramp will clear room for completion of the connection between the 495 Express Lanes (high-occupancy toll lanes) and Route 7. But unlike some of the recent traffic shifts along the Beltway, or at the Interstate 66 and Dulles Toll Road interchanges, this change will not disappear once construction is done.
Still, it’s not quite the final configuration. Later this year, a second left-turn lane will be added for the drivers heading to the inner loop.
Drivers heading for the inner loop will have to remember to stay to the left. Drivers heading west on Route 7 will have to stay alert for the light. (This change does not affect the inner loop entrance for drivers traveling westbound on Route 7 though they will be joining that new traffic from the eastbound side of Route 7 as they head down their ramp.)
The Virginia Department of Transportation developed this fix for the traffic congestion on the Beltway’s outer loop at the ramp to westbound Interstate 66: 1) Restore the Exit 49 ramp on the outer loop of the Capital Beltway at I-66 to two lanes, 2) add a fifth lane along westbound I-66 at the interchange.
Drivers should find these changes in place as of Friday, and the configuration is scheduled to remain until the interchange reconstruction is done in the fall. The Express Lanes are scheduled to open by the end of the year.
The extra traffic congestion of the past several weeks began when the work zone for the 495 Express Lanes was adjusted. That narrowed the outer loop ramp to westbound I-66 to ease traffic congestion on the other side of the Beltway and along I-66 in the area of the interchange.
But the traffic didn’t behave as the planners had predicted. Outer loop traffic sometimes backed up to the American Legion Bridge and beyond. Drivers on Route 7 and the Dulles Toll Road in the Tysons Corner area were among those affected.
Let us know about your experiences traveling through the work zone.
New York Avenue bridge
Starting at 10 p.m. Friday, drivers will find only single lanes open on eastbound New York Avenue between Penn Street and Florida Avenue this weekend. A detour will be imposed on westbound New York Avenue at Penn Street.
Because of the traffic congestion, consider Rhode Island Avenue or H Street as alternative routes this weekend.
The restrictions accommodate weekend work on the New York Avenue bridge over the railroad tracks. The bridge is in the midst of a lengthy rehabilitation by the District Department of Transportation. Red Line riders also are affected by the weekend work. This is the reason that trains will be sharing a track between the New York Avenue and Rhode Island Avenue stations.
Eastbound New York Avenue will be narrowed to a single lane between 10 p.m. Friday and 5 a.m. Monday. After 10 o’clock on Friday, Saturday and Sunday night, the westbound traffic on New York Avenue will be redirected at Penn Street to Sixth Street and Florida Avenue and then back onto westbound New York Avenue past the work zone.Watch for flaggers at the start and end of the detours.
From 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, the westbound traffic will have a single lane open on New York Avenue between Penn Street and Florida Avenue.
Route 450 lane narrowing
The Maryland State Highway Administration is replacing a damaged stormwater pipe under Route 450 (Defense Highway) just east of Route 424 (Davidsonville Road), between Nob Hill Drive and Hermitage Hills Drive in Anne Arundel County.
Watch for flaggers directing traffic through the narrowed work zone all weekend, and expect delays.
This coming week, the flagging operation will continue between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m., but should end by next Friday, weather permitting.
Constitution Avenue NW
There’s no work scheduled for this weekend as part of the National Park Service rehabilitation project on Constitution Avenue NW. But between 5:30 a.m.and 7 p.m. weekdays, the eastbound curb lane may be closed between 17th and 15th streets for installation of fence posts and chain. Parking will be restricted on that side.
No night work is scheduled for the coming week.
Metro fare increase hearings
Three of the transit authority’s six public hearings on the proposed fare increases are scheduled for this coming week. Each hearing will begin at 7 p.m. The hearings are designed to allow people to testify on the transit budget proposals, including the fares and fees. For an hour before each hearing begins, Metro officials will be available to discuss any aspect of the transit system operations.
These are the dates and locations of the sessions scheduled for this coming week.
Monday: Bethesda Chevy Chase Regional Services Center, 4805 Edgemoor Lane, Bethesda
Wednesday: Mary Ellen Henderson Middle School Cafeteria, 7130 Leesburg Pike, Falls Church
Thursday: Matthews Memorial Baptist Church, John H. Kearney Sr. Fellowship Hall, 2616 Martin Luther King Jr. Ave. SE, the District
The National Park Service says maintenance workers will be removing trees this coming week in Rock Creek next to Beach Drive. From 9:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, Beach Drive will be closed between the park police substation at Joyce Road and Broad Branch Road to create a safe work zone.
Metro delays next weekend
While all of this weekend’s Metro maintenance involves single-tracking, next weekend’s work will include a split on the Red Line.
Buses are scheduled to replace trains between Shady Grove and White Flint. The Rockville, Twinbrook and Shady Grove stations will be closed. Workers will be replacing track circuits and doing other track rehabilitation projects in that zone.