The weekend and beyond: Traffic, transit tips

October 5, 2012
11th St. Bridge aerial view
The District’s 11th Street Bridge project opened a new ramp Thursday from I-295 onto the local bridge, one of three spans that make up the massive project. (DDOT photo)

This isn’t one of our major getaway weekends, but travelers should look for some extra traffic this afternoon as people leave the D.C. area for Columbus Day, perhaps to get a look at the fall leaves up north.

The Capital Weather Gang’s forecast suggests that Friday and Monday will be the best days of the stretch. In between, we get a blast of cool air and some showers.

That shouldn’t stop the crowds for Columbia Heights Day, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday at the Harriet Tubman School on Kenyon Street NW, or the Taste of DC on Pennsylvania Avenue between Ninth and 14th streets NW, noon to 7 p.m. Saturday through Monday.

The Nationals start their playoff series on the road, but the Redskins are back at FedEx Field on Sunday for a 1 p.m. game against the Atlanta Falcons.

Road projects will be busy this weekend. There are many lane closings coming around the Capital Beltway/Telegraph Road interchange, for example. But one improvement occurred on Thursday: The District Department of Transportation opened a new ramp from northbound I-295 onto the local span of the 11th Street Bridge. So in the next couple of weeks, commuters will be getting used to a new access point to the Navy Yard, Capitol Hill and Anacostia. I’ll have more about this on Sunday’s Commuter page in The Post Metro section.

Metro cut back on the track work it had originally planned for the Columbus Day weekend, but the maintenance program still will slow some trips. Let’s look at that and some of the other transportation activities coming up that could affect your travels.

Metro weekend delays

Trains on the Red and Orange lines will share tracks around work zones from 10 p.m. Friday through the rail system’s midnight closing on Monday.

Red Line: Trains will share a track between Judiciary Square and Fort Totten. Throughout the long weekend, they will operate between Glenmont and Shady Grove about every 26 minutes, Metro said. But between 9 a.m. and 9 p.m. Saturday, Sunday and Monday, more  trains will operate between Shady Grove and Judiciary Square. So in that zone, trains should arrive at platforms about every 13 minutes.

On the eastern side of the line, where the work is concentrated, add about 20 minutes to normal travel times, Metro said. On the west side and through downtown D.C., add about 10 minutes.

Orange Line: Trains will share a track between Stadium-Armory and Cheverly. During the daytime on Saturday, Sunday and Monday, every other train from Vienna will end its run at  Stadium-Armory and return to Vienna. East of Stadium-Armory add about 15 minutes to normal travel times. Between Vienna and Stadium-Armory, trains should operate on their normal weekend schedules, Metro said.

Taste of DC

To clear room for the weekend festival, D.C. police will close these streets from 7 p.m. Friday through 3 a.m. Tuesday: Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Ninth Street to 14th Street;10th Street NW from E Street to Constitution Avenue; 11th Street NW from E Street to Pennsylvania Avenue; 12th Street NW from E Street to Constitution Avenue; 13th Street NW from E Street to Pennsylvania Avenue.

Drivers, watch out for lots of pedestrian traffic throughout this part of downtown. Nearby Metro stations include Metro Center, Archives and Federal Triangle, but be sure to check the Metro weekend maintenance schedule above.

Wilson Bridge Half Marathon

The George Washington Parkway will be closed from Mount Vernon Circle to Little Hunting Bridge from 6 a.m. to 11 a.m. Sunday for the annual Wilson Bridge Half Marathon.

There will be two exceptions for local traffic only: The southbound right lane will be open between Little Hunting Bridge and Belle Haven Road, and between Vernon View Drive and Stratford Lane.

George Washington Parkway

Farther north, a relatively small project is causing extensive backups. It’s the rock stabilization program that has shut the left lane on the northbound George Washington Parkway in Rosslyn. This project, intended to prevent rock falls onto the parkway, is scheduled to continue almost until the end of the year.

This weekend, the northbound parkway will be closed between Spout Run and Chain Bridge from 7:15 p.m. Friday to 5:30 a.m. Monday.

 Maryland road work

The Maryland State Highway Administration has several projects that will require weekend lane closings.

 On southbound I-97 between Dorsey Road and Benfield Boulevard in Anne Arundel County, the right lane is scheduled to close from 10 p.m. Friday through 5 a.m. Monday. Workers will be pouring concrete.

On westbound I-70 between East Patrick Street and Buckeystown Pike, the right lane will be closed from 8 p.m. Friday through mid-morning Saturday. Traffic will be shifted to prepare for the next phase of the widening and bridge replacement project. The ramp from Monocacy Boulevard to I-70 West is scheduled to reopen on Saturday.

I-95 at Route 175 in Howard County will have two lanes closed on the southbound side from 4:30 to 11:30 a.m. Sunday for a routine bridge inspection.

Route 28 closings

The Virginia Department of Transportation plans intermittent closings of 10 to 15 minutes on Route 28 in both directions at Wellington Road from 10 p.m. Sunday to 5 a.m. Monday. Workers will install a new signal pole and mast arm on Route 28 at the new overpass. This is part of the project to build the new Route 28 overpass at Wellington Road and the Norfolk Southern Railroad, eliminating the at-grade railroad crossing. The project is scheduled to be done in November.

Holiday transit

This is the Metro schedule for Monday.

Metrorail: The system will open at 5 a.m. and close at midnight, but the trains will run less frequently than they would on a regular weekday. They will operate on the same schedule as a Saturday, but note that the weekend track work on the Red and Orange lines continues on Monday. Off-peak fares are in effect. Parking at Metro lots and garages is free.

Metrobus: Buses will operate on a Saturday schedule. Some routes that normally operate after midnight will not run.

MetroAccess: The paratransit service will operate on a regular schedule, but subscription trips will be cancelled. If you normally take a subscription trip, call to make a reservation for this Monday.

The schedules of the suburban bus systems will vary quite a bit on Monday. Mark Berman assembled a list in this posting.

 

Robert Thomson is The Washington Post’s “Dr. Gridlock.” He answers travelers’ questions, listens to their complaints and shares their pain on the roads, trains and buses in the Washington region.
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Mark Berman · October 5, 2012