The weekend and beyond: sporting events, roadway closings, Metro delays

November 2, 2012

Lewis Neal leaps after netting a game-winner goal against Columbus that put D.C. United in the playoffs, that are starting Saturday at RFK Stadium. (Richard A. Lipski — For The Washington Post)

[This post has been updated.]

We will get a break from some of those big events that close many streets, but it’s still a big sports weekend in the D.C. area. D.C. United has a playoff game against the New York Red Bulls at 8 p.m. Saturday in RFK Stadium, and the Redskins play the Carolina Panthers in FedEx Field at 1 p.m. Sunday.

This should be a good weekend for brisk outdoor activities. The Capital Weather Gang says it will be partly cloudy with high temperatures in the 50s. There’s a chance of a shower Sunday morning.

All major roads and transit systems in the D.C. area have recovered from Hurricane Sandy, but if you’re traveling north this weekend, you may encounter difficulties in the New Jersey-New York area, including long lines at gas stations.

We do have other local transportation issues you need to know about in planning your weekend travels. Here are some highlights.

Metro weekend delays

Metro’s weekend maintenance program will affect service on the Blue, Orange and Red Lines from 10 p.m. Friday through the rail system’s midnight closing on Sunday. Note the Blue and Orange Line work in particular if you’re taking transit to see D.C. United on Saturday or the Redskins on Sunday.

Orange Line: Free shuttle buses will replace trains between Foggy Bottom and Court House. Rosslyn station will be closed. Trains will operate between Vienna and Court House, and also between Foggy Bottom and New Carrollton at regular weekend intervals.

Blue Line: Buses will replace trains between Foggy Bottom and Pentagon. The Arlington Cemetery and Rosslyn stations will be closed. Trains will operate between Franconia-Springfield and Mount Vernon Square and also between Foggy Bottom and Largo Town Center at regular weekend intervals.

Shuttle buses: The buses will operate on three routes to bridge the gaps in the Blue and Orange lines. If you use the buses, add about a half hour to your normal travel time by rail.

  • Between Court House, Rosslyn and Foggy Bottom at all hours the rail system is open.
  • Between Foggy Bottom, Arlington Cemetery and Pentagon in a continuous loop until midnight each night. Late-night customers should travel via L’Enfant Plaza (see below).
  • Between Court House, Rosslyn and Pentagon every 15 minutes until midnight each day. This shuttle won’t stop at Arlington Cemetery.

Trip tips: This weekend’s Blue Line trains to or from Virginia will use the Yellow Line bridge rather than the Rosslyn tunnel to cross the Potomac River. This segment of the route will serve stations between Franconia-Springfield and Mount Vernon Square. Blue Line trains also will operate between Foggy Bottom and Largo Town Center.

Though Blue Line riders between Virginia and D.C. could use the shuttle buses, some probably would be better off taking trains and transferring. They could take a train to L’Enfant Plaza or Gallery Place, then transfer to a Yellow Line train toward Huntington or a Blue Line train toward Franconia-Springfield. Heading north, they could take a Blue or Yellow Line train to L’Enfant Plaza for connections to the other part of the Blue Line or to the Orange and Green Lines. At Gallery Place, they could switch to the Red Line.

Red Line: Trains will share tracks between Twinbrook and Grosvenor and between Forest Glen and Takoma. Throughout the weekend, they are scheduled to operate every 24 minutes from the ends of the line at Glenmont and Shady Grove. But between 9 a.m. and 9 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, more trains will be in service in the middle of the line, between Grosvenor and Fort Totten. So in that zone, trains should reach platforms about every 10 to 12 minutes.

Add about 15 minutes to normal travel time if riding through one of the work zones.

Metro follows clock

Speaking of extra time, Metrorail will follow the clock as it falls back one hour early Sunday morning, marking the end of Daylight Saving Time. Rail service will end as usual when the clocks say 3 a.m.

Columbia Pike

The Virginia Department of Transportation plans to close lanes on Columbia Pike this weekend as part of the Route 27/244 interchange modification project.

Saturday through Sunday, Columbia Pike will be closed in both directions between South Quinn Street and South Orne Street so workers can demolish part of the Washington Boulevard bridge over Columbia Pike.

Beltway/Northwest Branch Bridge

Workers have begun closing lanes overnight on the Northwest Branch bridge in Silver Spring to resurface that section of the Capital Beltway, a phase that will just about wrap up the Maryland State Highway Administration’s two-year bridge rehabilitation project. Since mid-October, there has been no barrier dividing lanes, but the bridge still is a work zone.

On Friday night, the two right lanes of the outer loop will be closed between 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. 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 the next morning. The entire resurfacing part of the project is scheduled to be done before Thanksgiving.

Beltway/Telegraph Road

The Woodrow Wilson Bridge project continues land and ramp closing at the Telegraph Road interchange, the last phase of the long-term project. This weekend’s work is likely to cause significant traffic delays, the project managers say.

From 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, the Telegraph Road access to Mill Road will be closed. Drivers should take the ramp to the Beltway’s inner loop to the Eisenhower Connector to return on Eisenhower Avenue to Mill Road.

From 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, Telegraph Road South will be reduced to one lane between the Beltway and Farmington Road. There will be no access to North Kings Highway and Huntington Avenue. Drivers should use the ramp to the outer loop to Route 1 South to Huntington Avenue or North Kings Highway.

Also during those hours, there will be no access between Telegraph Road and East Drive. Drivers on Telegraph Road should take Franconia Road, then turn right on Norton Road to Burgundy Road or Elmwood Drive. Drivers trying to reach Telegraph Road should use Norton Road and make a left on Franconia Road to reach Telegraph Road.

Baltimore-Washington Parkway

The Maryland State Highway Administration hopes to get back on track this weekend with its bridge replacement project on the Baltimore-Washington Parkway near BWI Marshall Airport.If all goes well, workers will be pulling out and replacing the 70-foot long, 300-ton West Nursery Road bridge over the northbound parkway.

“We’ve had project adjustments and weather delays, however the contractor and crews remain eager,” Melinda B. Peters, the SHA administrator, said in a statement.

This project will have a major impact on parkway traffic overnights. At 8 p.m Friday, workers will close one lane of the parkway in both directions at the West Nursery Road interchange. Then at 10 p.m., all lanes will be closed. They’re scheduled to reopen by 10 a.m. Saturday and remain open all day. West Nursery Road will be closed in that area at 10 p.m. Friday and will remain closed through 10 a.m. Sunday.

On the parkway, the same closing schedule will repeat on Saturday night.

The SHA recommends that north-south drivers avoid the closings by using Interstate 95, Route 1 or Route 29. Farther east, Interstate 97 is another alternative, but the northbound right lane from Benfield Boulevard to near Dorsey Road remains closed for a repair project.

Drivers traveling east-west can use Hammonds Ferry Road as an alternative to West Nursery Road.

Arlington Memorial Bridge

The National Park Service is repairing the Arlington Memorial Bridge. From 6 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, watch for lane closings on both sides of the bridge.

George Washington Parkway

The rock stabilization project continues to block the northbound left lane of the George Washington Parkway between Key Bridge and Spout Run, but there are no additional lane closings scheduled for this weekend.

Next weekend will be different: The northbound side will be completely shut north of the Spout Run exit from 8 p.m. Friday, Nov. 9, till 4:30 a.m. Monday, Nov. 12.

Dulles Access Highway detour

Drivers on the westbound Dulles Airport Access Highway overnights Sunday through Friday will be detoured onto the westbound Dulles Toll Road between mile markers 8.6 and 3.3 from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m.  Airport-bound traffic can re-enter the Airport Access Highway near the Herndon-Monroe park and ride lot. During these hours crews on the Dulles Metrorail project will be installing sound barriers at the Hunter Mill Road and W&OD Trail bridges.

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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