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Dr. Gridlock
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Posted at 07:19 PM ET, 03/04/2011

The weekend and beyond

Construction updates | D.C. area travel tips | Going Out Guide

It’s your last weekend to test drive Maryland’s new Intercounty Connector for free. Transit riders should review Metro’s plan to shut parts of the Orange and Blue lines starting at 10 p.m. Friday. History buffs might go see President Lincoln’s inauguration reenacted by Sam Waterson at 10 a.m. Saturday in the Capitol Hill Visitor Center Auditorium.

The Capital Weather Gang says Saturday will be the best weekend day for travel and outdoor activity, with rain very likely on Sunday. Temperatures will be in the 50s both days.

Metro weekend delays

From 10 p.m. Friday through the rail system’s midnight closing Sunday, the eastern side of the Orange Line between Stadium-Armory and New Carrollton will be shut for maintenance projects. During the same period, there will be no Blue Line service between Stadium-Armory and Benning Road.

See more details on our Commuter page. Also, get the late-train times for the weekend

Tips for riders: Metro did a similar shutdown the first weekend in November. If you experienced that one, you pretty much know the drill this time around, too.

The most difficult time for riders is likely to be Friday night. Some who came into town via the normal train service will find they can’t get back the same way, once the shutdown begins at 10 p.m. (Check those late-train listings.) The shuttle bus service for the planned weekend maintenance operates pretty well, but it might get off to a slow start right at the beginning, as the operation gets organized.

There’s no really good bus or train alternative to the free shuttles for transit riders. They could drive to the ends of the Green Line at either Greenbelt or Branch Avenue, but that’s a haul, and there’s no regular bus route that would get to and from downtown any faster.

If you’re on one of the disrupted routes, don’t use Metro’s Trip Planner as an aid. It’s normally very helpful, but it’s computer brain doesn’t take into account these weekend disruptions.

Intercounty Connector

The ICC remains free this weekend, but the electronic tolls will be imposed starting Monday. When I went for a Sunday drive last weekend, there was very little traffic on the connector or near the entrances and exits. Another Sunday driver, Jim WIngo of Woodbine, wrote in to report seeing a small group of deer in the eastbound lanes on the Olney side of the new highway, despite the project managers’ efforts to keep wildlife away from the travel lanes, so use caution. The speed limit is 55 mph.

Tysons Corner/Beltway

The Dulles Metrorail project has changed its schedule of lane closings. The triple lane closings on the Beltway’s inner loop at Route 123 in Tysons that were scheduled for tonight and Sunday night have been canceled. Also canceled was the planned overnight closing of westbound I-66 at the Dulles Connector Road (Route 267).

The Beltway lane closings are scheduled to resume Monday through Friday, from 11 p.m. to 5 a.m. each night. This work is likely to continue through March. It leaves only one lane open on the inner loop, so congestion is likely.

Workers are using these overnight hours to build the bridges that will take the new Metrorail line over the Beltway. When the lanes are closed overnights, crews also close , the exit ramps from the outer loop to Route 123.

This is the closing pattern:

9:30 p.m. to 10 p.m. Crews begin tapering for the closing of the right lane, about a half mile before the Route 7 exit. The exit ramps at Route 7 are not affected by the rail project work.

10:30 p.m. Workers begin to close the second right lane near the Route 7 bridge and the third lane before the Route 123 interchange. The ramps to and from Route 123 also will close at this time.

5 a.m. All lanes and exits to Route 123 will be reopened to through traffic.

The closings of the ramps to Route 123 results in this detour for Beltway drivers:

Continue north, exit at Georgetown Pike (Route 193), turn around at Georgetown Pike and enter the outer loop (southbound I-495), then use the Route 123 exits from the outer loop.

Free buses on ICC

There’s one more free week to go for the two new commuter buses that the Maryland Transit Administration launched this week on the Intercounty Connector. After next week, a one-way trip will be $5. These are the two routes.

Route 201. The line will operate seven days a week, with 14 daily round trips between Gaithersburg and BWI Marshall Airport. The Maryland Transit Administration says the 47-mile trip should take about 75 minutes. The stops along the way are:

* Gaithersburg Park and Ride

* Shady Grove Metro Station

* Norbeck Park and Ride

* Burtonsville Park and Ride

* BWI Southwest Terminal

* BWI International Terminal

* BWI MARC/Amtrak Rail Station

Route 202. The line will operate weekdays, with three morning trips, three afternoon trips and one midday trip between Gaithersburg and the NSA and Fort Meade. The MTA says the 46-mile trip should take about 75 minutes. The stops along the way are:

* Gaithersburg Park and Ride

* Shady Grove Metro Station

* Norbeck Park and Ride

* Savage MARC train station

* NSA (Canine Road)

* Fort Meade

More information about the routes, schedules and fares is posted on a new MTA Web page: www.mtaiccbus.com.

Weekend I-95 shoulder closing

The Virginia Department of Transportation plans to close the east shoulder on the I-95 High Occupancy lanes between the Occoquan River bridge and the Gordon Boulevard (Route 123) overpass at noon today for utility work. No travel lanes will be affected. The shoulder will reopen by 5 a.m. Monday.

This work is for the I-95 widening project, scheduled to be done this fall.

Maryland lane closings

Highway crews will be on doing their routine bridge inspections on Saturday, and that will close some lanes: Look for alternating double left and double right lane closings on southbound I-270 at Falls Road from 4:30 to 11:30 a.m. Also, watch for similar lane closings on the Beltway’s inner loop at Riggs Road from 5 a.m. to noon.

Route 202 road work

The Maryland State Highway Administration will be working on the Route 202 bridge over the Beltway from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. weekdays. Expect single lane closings there.

Beltway HOT lanes work

Workers on the High Occupancy Toll lanes project are rebuilding interchanges and bridges along 14 miles on the western side of the Beltway between Springfield and the Dulles Toll Road. Most of the lane closings are done overnight, but watch for single lane closings from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on weekdays.

11th Street Bridge project

Overnights Monday through Thursday, the District Department of Transportation plans to close lanes and periodically stop traffic in one direction at a time on Interstate 295/DC 295 (Anacostia Freeway) between Pennsylvania Avenue and the 11th Street Bridge to set new bridge girders over the highway.

Most of the activity will occur between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m., but single lane closings could begin as early as 8 p.m. The traffic stoppages could last up to 40 minutes at a time. If either side of the highway is closed, signed detours will be posted.

[This post has been updated.]

By  |  07:19 PM ET, 03/04/2011

Tags:  Dr. Gridlock

 
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