The weekend and beyond: Some delays as holiday season wraps up

January 4, 2013
Capital Beltway traffic
While road work has slowed during the cold weather, Beltway drivers still will encounter some problem spots. (Mark Gail – The Washington Post)

Traffic volume was light through the week, but on Sunday, highway drivers may encounter some congested spots as people return from their vacations and get ready for a normal work week Monday.

Look for some congestion Sunday afternoon in the Landover area. The Redskins’ playoff game with the Seattle Seahawks starts at 4:30 p.m. in FedEx Field. The Capital Weather Gang sees a mostly sunny weekend, with high temperatures in the 40s. By the two-minute warning Sunday, the temperature probably will have dropped to the upper 30s.

For others with a desire to be out and about after the holiday lull, there’s the Three Kings Day celebration (Fiesta de los Reyes Magos) in the Gala Hispanic Theatre at Tivoli Square. The nearest Metro stop is Columbia Heights. On the Mall, the National Gallery of Art’s East Building is beginning a yearlong celebration of Edvard Munch with the 6:30 p.m. Sunday debut of “The Munch Suite.” The nearest Metro stop is Archives. See more weekend highlights in the Going Out Guide.

Here’s the roundup of traffic and transit issues that might affect your travels this weekend and beyond, starting with Metro, as it resumes weekend maintenance work after the holiday break.

Metro weekend delays

Disruptions begin at 10 p.m. Friday and continue through the rail system’s midnight closing Sunday.

Red Line: Trains will share tracks between Shady Grove and Twinbrook and between Judiciary Square and Rhode Island Avenue. They will leave the ends of the line at Shady Grove and Glenmont about every 24 minutes. Between 9 a.m. and 9 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, more trains will operate between Grosvenor and Judiciary Square. So, in the middle of the line, trains should reach platforms about every 12 minutes.

Add about 15 minutes to normal travel times to get through either of the work zones.

Orange Line: Free shuttle buses will replace trains between Vienna and East Falls Church. Trains will operate on their normal weekend schedules between East Falls Church and New Carrollton. The shuttle buses between Vienna and East Falls Church will operate on two routes.

Express buses will serve the Vienna and East Falls Church stations only. Add about 15 minutes to normal travel time on this route. A local route also will include stops at Dunn Loring and West Falls Church. Metro estimates the travel time between each station at 15 minutes.

Football at FedEx

Before and after events at FedEx Field, 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.

Traffic in the Landover area probably will be at its worst in the two hours before the 4:30 p.m. kickoff Sunday. 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. Beltway through drivers should stay as far left as possible.

The Blue Line’s Morgan Boulevard station is the closest Metrorail station to FedEx.

Beltway express lanes

Though the 495 Express Lanes on the Capital Beltway in Virginia have been open since November, some nighttime road work continues. For example, on Sunday through Saturday nights, drivers on the outer loop between Georgetown Pike and the Oak Street overpass may find up to three lanes closed. After midnight there, all the lanes may be closed for up to half an hour.

Beltway in Silver Spring

Watch for closings of one or two lanes on each side of the Capital Beltway between New Hampshire Avenue and University Boulevard from 8 p.m. Sunday to 5 a.m. Monday. Crews will be installing roadway sensors.

I-95 South in Beltsville

On Interstate 95 just north of the Capital Beltway, southbound drivers will encounter lane closings from 5:30 to 11:30 a.m. Saturday. The closings are for a routine inspection by the Maryland State Highway Administration of the Cherry Hill Road bridge over I-95.

Anacostia Drive SE

Workers are dismantling girders on the old inbound span of the 11th Street Bridge, and to help with that, the National Park Service plans to close Anacostia Drive SE between the Anacostia Recreation Center Driveway and Good Hope Road SE overnights this coming week between 8 p.m. and 5 a.m.

The work also may require lane closings in the same area between 9:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. Traffic from Howard Road SE will have to exit Anacostia Park at Good Hope Road, and the Anacostia Riverwalk Trail will be closed in the work zone when Anacostia Drive is closed.

Pennsylvania Avenue work

The D.C. Department of Transportation is repairing the Pennsylvania Avenue bridge over Rock Creek Parkway. Work hours are 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. daily. The project, which should be completed by Feb. 15, closes one lane of westbound traffic over the bridge during the off-peak midday hours.

Roosevelt Bridge

The District also is making repairs on the outbound Roosevelt Bridge at the ramp to Route 50. The repair work, which began Thursday, is scheduled to be complete Wednesday.

During the work hours, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., drivers may encounter lane closings, but there will be no complete stoppage of traffic.

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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