The Redskins have been on the road for several weeks, but the team will play the Carolina Panthers at 1 p.m. this Sunday in FedEx Field. The aftermath of Hurricane Sandy should not present local fans with any big difficulties getting there, but the Capital Weather Gang says they may need to huddle together in the stadium on a partly cloudy day with the temperature near 50 at kickoff.
Here are some of the travel basics. Note in particular the transit maintenance disruptions for Metro’s Blue and Orange lines.
Get there early. The FedEx parking areas in Landover open four hours before game time, and the stadium opens two hours before games.
Before and after stadium events, traffic surges on Landover Road, Central Avenue, Baltimore-Washington Parkway, Southeast-Southwest Freeway, Interstate 295/D.C. 295 and the eastern side of the Capital Beltway.
The Maryland State Highway Administration has a bridge replacement project planned for this weekend on the Baltimore-Washington Parkway near BWI Marshall Airport. The work will close all lanes of the parkway at West Nursery Road overnights Friday and Saturday. The lanes are scheduled to reopen by 10 a.m. Sunday.
Traffic in the Landover area 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. As game time approaches, the Landover Road and Arena Drive exits tend to be the most crowded. Central Avenue, the southernmost of the three exits, is the one that the Maryland highway administration recommends to minimize delays.
The highway administration also suggests that drivers going west on Central Avenue consider bypassing the right turn onto Brightseat Road and turning right instead on Morgan Boulevard to reach their permit parking areas.
On the Beltway in Landover, through traffic should stay as far left as possible. The right lanes will slow. Approaching the stadium area, Beltway drivers will notice a solid white line separating through lanes on the left from the collector-distributor lanes on the right that lead to off-ramps and on-ramps.
As drivers get onto the roads nearest the stadium, they will see overhead arrows and color-coded markers indicating lanes leading to the permit parking areas. Pay attention to the traffic directions from the stadium staffers out in the roads and in the parking lots.
The lots closest to the stadium are open to permit holders only. The permits cover one parking space and can’t be used for additional tailgating room.
There are several cash lots off Jericho City Drive, to the southeast of the stadium, and one north of the stadium just west of Brightseat Road and south of Landover Road.
The Blue Line’s Morgan Boulevard station is the closest to FedEx. The stadium is a little less than a mile north along a sidewalk. The walk to the stadium is slightly uphill. Largo Town Center station, also on the Blue Line, is the next closest. Make sure you have your SmarTrip card or paper Farecard loaded for a round trip so you won’t have to wait in long lines at fare vending machines after games.
Metro isn’t doing any weekend maintenance on the rail system near the stadium, but there is a lot of work farther away that will affect service on the Blue and Orange lines.
All weekend, free shuttle buses will replace Orange Line trains between Foggy Bottom and Court House. Shuttles will replace Blue Line trains between Foggy Bottom and Pentagon. The stations at Rosslyn and Arlington Cemetery will be closed.
There’s a further complication for the Blue Line. Weekend Blue Line trains to and from Virginia will use the Yellow Line bridge rather than the Rosslyn tunnel to cross the Potomac River. These trains will run between Franconia-Springfield and Mount Vernon Square. Blue Line service also will operate between Foggy Bottom and Largo Town Center.
So this Sunday, a Virginia fan who normally would take the Blue Line from Franconia-Springfield to Morgan Boulevard should take either a Blue or a Yellow Line train to L’Enfant Plaza, then transfer to a Blue Line train heading in the direction of Largo.
Disruptions on the Red Line will involve track-sharing around work zones rather than line splits. Trains will share tracks between Twinbrook and Grosvenor and between Forest Glen and Takoma. Metro suggests riders add 15 minutes to their normal travel times to get through the work zones.
Parking is generally free on weekends at Metrorail lots and garages, but there are special rules for the Morgan Boulevard and Largo Town Center stations during FedEx Field events.
Drivers who park at the stations to go to FedEx must pay $25 with a SmarTrip card. The reusable cards cost $5. The premium fee for parking is in effect from three hours before the game until two hours afterward. Metro doesn’t allow tailgating in its parking areas.