The Wilson Bridge project plans to spend this weekend working on one of the most time-consuming tasks in its remaining mission to rebuild the Capital Beltway’s Telegraph Road interchange. Crews must dismantle and reconstruct the bridge over the railroad tracks, a job that’s not scheduled to be complete until fall 2012.
The weekend portion of the work will inconvenience Metrorail riders as well as drivers in Virginia, a mark of just how complex the bridge job is. For safety reasons, workers are limited in what they can do above the multiple sets of tracks spanned by Telegraph Road. The demolition and construction schedule is made more complex by the frequency of service on the Blue Line and the location of a Metrorail yard nearby.
Blue Line service will be disrupted all weekend, but the greatest impact will be Sunday, when buses will replace trains between the Franconia-Springfield and King Street stations. For drivers, the work means a set of weekend closings that will affect traffic on Telegraph Road and the Beltway. Project managers advise drivers to avoid the area if possible.
This type of work is heavily dependent on the weather, and it could be postponed if the forecast calls for heavy rain this weekend. (The Capital Weather Gang says there’s a 40 percent chance of thunderstorms Saturday and Sunday.)
Here’s an outline of the traffic impact from the project managers.
8 p.m. Friday to 5 a.m. Monday: Telegraph Road South will be closed from Duke Street to Mill Road. Telegraph Road North will be closed between the Beltway and Duke Street.
Southbound Telegraph Road
Traffic will not be able to exit from Duke Street onto Telegraph Road South during this time.
Detour for westbound motorists: Continue on Duke Street to Van Dorn South and go left on Franconia Road to Telegraph Road. Detour for eastbound motorists: Continue on Duke Street to Route 1 South and go right on South Kings Highway to Telegraph Road.
The Beltway’s outer loop (I-95/495 North) exit to Telegraph Road South will be closed. Detour: Motorists should take the Van Dorn South exit and go left on Franconia Road to Telegraph Road. Drivers also can use the exit ramp from the outer loop to North Kings Highway toward Route 1 to South Kings Highway to Telegraph Road.
The right-hand ramps from Telegraph Road South to North Kings Highway and to Huntington Avenue will be closed. Motorists will be able to turn left onto both Huntington Avenue and North Kings Highway.
The on-ramp from southbound Telegraph Road to the outer loop will be closed. Detour: Motorists should turn left onto Huntington Avenue East and then left on Route 1 North to the outer loop.
A single southbound Telegraph Road lane will remain open to motorists traveling from Mill Road and from the inner loop (I-95/495 South).
Northbound Telegraph Road
The ramp from northbound Telegraph Road to Eisenhower Avenue will remain open all weekend. The ramp to the outer loop will be closed from 8 p.m. Friday to midday Saturday. During this time, all northbound traffic will need to exit Telegraph Road no later than the ramp to Eisenhower Avenue.
Detour: Motorists heading for the outer loop Friday night and Saturday morning should take Huntington East to Route 1 North to the outer loop ramp.
Motorists will be able to turn right from northbound Telegraph Road onto North Kings Highway and Huntington Avenue.
The Telegraph Road North ramp to the inner loop will be closed. Detour: Motorists should turn right onto Huntington Avenue East and go left on Route 1 North to the inner loop.
The outer loop exit to Telegraph Road North will be closed. The exit ramp to Eisenhower Avenue will remain open. Detour for Outer Loop motorists traveling to Duke Street: Take the Eisenhower Avenue exit ramp and go right at Eisenhower Avenue to the traffic circle to Holland Lane to Duke Street.
Telegraph Road northbound access to East Drive/Lenore Lane and the Beltway will remain open.
Other traffic impacts
Motorists traveling from East Drive will be able to reach southbound Telegraph Road only. To go north, they should take Telegraph Road South to Farmington Drive and do a U-turn.
Motorists on the inner loop will be able to exit at Pershing Avenue, but the exit to Telegraph North/Duke Street will be closed. Detour: To reach Duke Street, take the Pershing Avenue exit and go right on Stovall Street then left on Eisenhower Avenue to the traffic circle to Holland Lane to Duke Street.
Pershing Avenue westbound to Telegraph Road will be closed. Detours: Motorists from the Eisenhower Valley who wish to reach Duke Street should take Eisenhower Avenue East to the traffic circle to Holland Lane to Duke Street. Motorists who wish to reach southbound Telegraph Road should take Stovall Street and go left on Mill Road to Telegraph Road South.
The most significant impacts will occur Sunday, but Blue Line service will be limited all weekend.
All day Saturday, all Blue Line trains will operate between Huntington and Largo Town Center. Metro will operate a special shuttle train on a single track between Franconia-Springfield and King Street.
On Sunday, Franconia-Springfield and Van Dorn Street stations will be closed. Free shuttle buses will operate between Franconia-Springfield, Van Dorn Street and Eisenhower Avenue stations. Riders in that zone should add a half hour to their regular travel time.
Blue Line trains will operate between Largo Town Center and Huntington about every 20 minutes. Throughout the weekend, every other Blue Line train traveling in the direction of Largo Town Center will terminate at Stadium-Armory.