There’s not a “90” in the Capital Weather Gang’s forecast for the weekend and beyond, and despite a chance of showers and thunderstorms Saturday evening and Sunday, travelers should feel liberated to enjoy the waning summer. For those who like to sit while others work out, the Redskins start their preseason at FedEx Field on Friday night and D.C. United plays at RFK on Saturday night.
It will be an active weekend for road and transit projects, so check my list to see what’s open, narrowed or detoured.
Metro weekend maintenance
Maintenance will affect Metrorail travel on the Red, Orange, Blue and Yellow lines this weekend.
Red Line: From 10 p.m. Friday through the midnight closing Sunday, trains will share a track between Grosvenor and Twinbrook while workers do platform repairs.
On the other side of the line, trains will share a track between Takoma and Forest Glen. Workers will be replacing train controls, installing cables, refurbishing track ties and upgrading stations.
Trains will leave the ends of the line about every 24 minutes. On Saturday and Sunday between 9 a.m. and 9 p.m., additional trains will operate on the interior part of the line, between Grosvenor and Fort Totten. Trains should arrive at those stations about every 12 minutes.
Metro said riders should allow about 20 extra minutes to get through the work zones.
Blue/Orange lines: From 10 p.m. Friday through the Sunday closing, trains will share a track between Eastern Market and Stadium-Armory . Workers will be replacing rail fasteners. Orange Line trains also will share a track between Vienna and West Falls Church while crews work on refurbishing the tracks.
Blue and Orange Line trains will leave the ends of the lines about every 24 minutes, but riders should allow about 20 extra minutes to get through the work zones.
Yellow Line: From 10 p.m. Friday through the Sunday closing, trains will share a track between Pentagon and L’Enfant Plaza. Crews will be working on the tracks on the Potomac River bridge.
The weekend trains will operate between Huntington and Mount Vernon Square stations, rather than continuing north to Fort Totten. They will leave about every 24 minutes. Allow about 20 extra minutes for the work zones, Metro said.
Football at FedEx
Driving: On game days, traffic volumes surge on Landover Road, Central Avenue, the Baltimore-Washington Parkway and the eastern side of the Capital Beltway. There are no major changes in the road configurations this year, though there are some lane shifts for bridge rehabilitation projects at various points on the Beltway in Maryland. Leave home early, because the traffic will be at its worst in the two hours before kickoff.
Three Beltway interchanges at Landover Road, Arena Drive and Central Avenue offer access to FedEx Field. The Landover Road and Arena Drive exits tend to be the most crowded, especially Landover Road as game time approaches. Central Avenue, the southernmost of the three exits, is the one that the Maryland State Highway Administration recommends to minimize delays.
Consider Beltway alternatives. For example, a Northern Virginia driver could come across the 14th Street bridge on Interstate 395, cross the Anacostia River via Pennsylvania Avenue, pick up Minnesota Avenue SE, turn right on B Street SE, right again on East Capitol Street, which becomes Central Avenue, then take Morgan Boulevard north to the stadium.
Metrorail: The Blue Line’s Morgan Boulevard Station is the closest to FedEx. The stadium is a little less than a mile north along a slightly uphill sidewalk. Largo Town Center Station, also on the Blue Line, is next closest.
Metrorail will be open till 3 a.m. Saturday. That’s the normal closing time for Friday and Saturday nights each weekend. But note that the weekend track work listed above will have begun by the time the game ends.
Drivers who park at Morgan Boulevard and Largo Town Center stations for events at FedEx, but don’t ride Metrorail will be required to pay $25 using their SmarTrip cards. Riders parking at those stations should make sure they use the same SmarTrip card to pay for the rail ride and for the $4.25 weekday parking fee.
By evening rush Friday (Aug. 12), workers on Virginia’s high occupancy toll lanes project are scheduled to have opened the new northbound Gallows Road (Route 650) bridge over the Capital Beltway. There will be two lanes of traffic in each direction. Access to the inner loop will have been restored. That includes the left turn lane and traffic signal from southbound Gallows Road.
The workers began rebuilding the northbound Gallows Road bridge in May 2010. The new bridge is opening 10 months ahead of the original schedule, the Virginia Department of Transportation said.
Lane closings before the bridge will continue, as crews work on the curbs and gutters along southbound Gallows Road until late August.
Leading up to the bridge, southbound traffic will have one through lane, and the right lane will continue onto the outer loop, until the curb and gutter work is done. At that point, traffic will have two through lanes approaching the bridge on southbound Gallows Road.
By midday Friday (Aug. 12), another of the bridge reconstruction projects for the HOT lanes is scheduled to complete a phase. Workers will open the new eastbound Braddock Road (Route 620) bridge over the Beltway, allowing two lanes for through traffic and restoring the merge lane from the outer loop onto eastbound Braddock Road.
The restored merge lane will provide an extended merge area on the bridge. Workers will remove the traffic signal that was on the ramp.
Lane closings in the Braddock Road area will continue while crews complete ramps and do other work for the new HOT lanes connection, the Virginia Department of Transportation said.
D.C. United at RFK
D.C. United will play the Vancouver Whitecaps at 7:30 p.m. Saturday (Aug. 13) in RFK Stadium. See directions and a parking map for RFK.
The nearest Metrorail station is Stadium-Armory, on the Orange and Blue lines. (Check Metrorail’s weekend work schedule above.) Metrobus riders can take the D6, 96, 97 or B2 to the stadium.
Maryland bridge inspections
The Maryland State Highway Administration continues to inspect bridges in the D.C. area, requiring lane closings this weekend.
Route 94 (Woodbine Road) bridge over Interstate 70, Howard County: Watch for two closed lanes on the left side of westbound I-70 from 10 p.m. Friday to 1 a.m., Saturday. Eastbound lne closings on the left side are scheduled for 2 a.m. to 5 a.m.
Capital Beltway bridge over Route 450 (Annapolis Road), Prince George’s County: Watch for two closed lanes on the left side of eastbound Route 450 from 5 a.m. to 9 a.m. Saturday and single lane closures on the westbound side until noon.
Beltway bridge at Northwest Branch
While all lanes on the Capital Beltway’s Northwest Branch bridge in Silver Spring are open during peak travel times, there may be extensive lane closings overnights during the two-year rehabilitation project.
Sunday through Thursday nights, watch for single and double lane closings from 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. Between midnight and 5 a.m. Monday through Friday nights, drivers may encounter triple lane closings.
Drivers should use caution during the day, as well. Slow-moving trucks pull in and out of the shoulders. Several ramps have been significantly shortened by the work zone. The speed limit is 55 mph. The white van with the speed enforcement camera seems to be spending a lot of time on both loops of the Beltway.
The District Department of Transportation plans to close lanes overnights on the Potomac Freeway between Ohio Drive and the Whitehurst Freeway starting Monday. The closings, from 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. nightly, will create safe work zones for a milling and resurfacing project.
One lane in each direction will be open at all times during these rotating lane closings, which are scheduled to be done by Sept. 15.
Rock Creek Parkway project
Beach Drive from Rock Creek Parkway north to Porter Street is scheduled to be closed for several weekends, starting at 8 p.m. Fridays and continuing through 4 a.m. Mondays. The entry gate to the National Zoo on Beach Drive will be closed during these weekends. Zoo access will be available from the main entrance on Connecticut Avenue or from Harvard Street NW.
Calvert Street/Shoreham Drive, by the Shoreham Hotel, and Cathedral Avenue will be open to northbound traffic only. Watch for detour signs and expect delays.
The closing in the southbound curb lane of Rock Creek Parkway approaching Waterside Drive continues..
Starting for one week on Tuesday, the southbound lane of Waterside Drive to southbound Rock Creek Parkway will be closed to through traffic at Massachusetts Avenue for pavement reconstruction.
On those days, access to southbound Waterside Drive will be for local residents only. Detour signs will be posted, and delays are likely around there. The parkway’s northbound curb lane curb lane between Virginia Avenue and P Street is scheduled to be closed so workers can replace pipes and small sections of pavement.
I-95 lane closings in Lorton
Monday through Thursday nights for the next three weeks, nighttime drivers are likely to encounter delays on southbound Interstate 95 in the Lorton area, where the Virginia Department of Transportation will close lanes for pavement work.
From 9 p.m. to 5 a.m, three lanes between Exits 161 and 163 are scheduled to close. The I-95 High Occupancy Vehicle lanes will be open southbound to all traffic from 6 p.m. to midnight each night. The closings will be repeated Aug. 22-25 and Aug. 29-Sept. 1.