Workers are about to begin one of the final phases of the biggest project now underway on the Maryland side of the Capital Beltway. Starting Thursday night, they will be closing lanes on the Northwest Branch bridge in Silver Spring to resurface the roadway.
This two-year rehabilitation has been one of those necessary projects that disrupts travelers and then leaves the area looking about the way it did when the work began. (Sometimes, it’s hard to see safety.)
All drivers know is that they had to spend many months picking their way around concrete barriers in the middle of the Beltway. During rush hours all four lanes on each Beltway loop remained open, but the lane configuration shifted every few months to accommodate the work. Since mid-October, there has been no barrier dividing lanes, but the area still is a work zone.
On Thursday and Friday nights, the Maryland State Highway Administration plans to temporarily close two right lanes of the outer loop New Hampshire Avenue and University Boulevard. The right lane will close at 8 p.m., then the one next to it will close at 10 p.m. while workers remove the top layer of concrete. The lanes will reopen by 5 a.m. on Friday and Saturday.
Next, workers will close one left lane at 8 p.m., then two left lanes at 10 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. Those lanes will reopen by 5 o’clock the next morning.
The entire resurfacing part of the project is scheduled to be done before Thanksgiving.
“We are confident that we can complete the grinding, paving and restriping within a month, weather permitting,” state highway spokesman Chuck Gischlar said in an e-mail. “There will be a few smaller items to do after the Thanksgiving holiday, but it should have little impact to motorists.”
He noted what the Capital Weather Gang is saying about the possibility of another Nor’easter in the making, and stressed the “weather permitting” part of his statement.