The weekend and beyond: Metro track work, and a parade route test

January 11, 2013

A look at 2009’s inaugural parade as it marched down Pennsylvania Avenue. This year’s edition will be tested Sunday. (Carol Guzy/The Washington Post)

[This post has been updated.]

The weekend turns warm — almost springlike — and partly cloudy for travelers in the D.C. area, the Capital Weather Gang says.

Road work affecting traffic is limited but there will be a Sunday rehearsal for the inaugural parade. Meanwhile, Metro has scheduled plenty of maintenance work, which will create transit delays.

Metro weekend delays

Red Line: Trains will share a track between Friendship Heights and Van Ness and also between Rhode Island Avenue and Fort Totten. All weekend, trains between the ends of the line at Shady Grove and Glenmont will be scheduled to operate every 24 minutes, Metro said.

Between 9 a.m. and 9 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, more trains will be in service between Van Ness and NoMa-Gallaudet U. So in that inner zone, trains should reach platforms about every 12 minutes. Metro recommends adding 15 minutes to normal travel times because of the work zones.

Blue Line: Free shuttle buses will replace trains between Pentagon and Rosslyn. This is because of the big weekend project, a track circuit replacement. The Arlington Cemetery station will be closed to rail service.

Trains will operate between Franconia-Springfield and Mount Vernon Square via the Yellow Line bridge and between Largo Town Center and Rosslyn on their regular weekend schedules.

The buses will operate between Pentagon and Rosslyn, with a stop at Arlington Cemetery. Add about 20 minutes to normal travel time if taking the buses. But most riders probably will want to stick with the trains, unless they’re going to Arlington Cemetery.

For example, a rider who boards at King Street in Alexandria and is bound for the Foggy Bottom station probably would want to stick with the train across the Potomac River and into L’Enfant Plaza, where the rider would switch to a Blue or Orange Line train heading for Foggy Bottom.

Green Line: Trains will share a track between Greenbelt and College Park, the zone where Metro is building a test track for the new 7000 series rail cars. From 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, every other train will terminate at College Park, rather than Greenbelt. Between College Park and Branch Avenue, trains will operate on their normal weekend schedules. Add about 10 minutes to normal travel time if traveling to or from Greenbelt.

Parade practice

A practice session for the inaugural parade is scheduled for Sunday morning. Some streets will be closed and parking will be restricted along the Pennsylvania Avenue NW corridor.

These streets will be closed from about 6:15 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sunday: Pennsylvania Avenue from Third Street NW to 15th Street NW (the parade route), Constitution Avenue from First Street NE to Sixth Street NW, Pennsylvania Avenue from 17th Street NW to 19th Street NW, 15th Street from I (Eye) Street NW south to Independence Avenue SW

Streets crossing Pennsylvania Avenue along the parade route will be closed temporarily from 7 a.m. to noon.   

Drivers will find Emergency No Parking signs posted in these areas from 5 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sunday: Pennsylvania Avenue from Third Street NW to 15th Street NW, Constitution Avenue from First Street NE to Sixth Street NW, Pennsylvania Avenue from 17th Street to 19th Street. NW, 15th Street from I (Eye) Street NW south to Independence Avenue SW.

Arlington Boulevard interchange

The Virginia Department of Transportation plans lane closings on both sides of Arlington Boulevard (Route 50) from 10th Street to North Rhodes Street over the next week as a part of the Arlington Boulevard/Courthouse Road/10th Street interchange reconstruction.

From 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, the lane closings are scheduled for the westbound side. I’ll have more about upcoming closings on the blog Monday morning.

Baltimore-Washington Parkway bridge

The Maryland State Highway Administration says it’s going to try to use this weekend’s warmer weather to pave West Nursery Road over the Baltimore-Washington Parkway near BWI Marshall Airport. This is the bridge the SHA replaced late last year.

West Nursery Road will be closed in both directions starting at 10 p.m. Friday and detours will be posted. The work will continue through Saturday and should be done by the evening, the SHA said. The ramps at the BW Parkway interchange will remain open during the work.

Ride On changes

Montgomery County is making some changes in Ride On bus service starting Sunday. The county says this will add service to new population centers, and make routes operate more efficiently.

Daily service will be added to Potomac Park, a new residential and commerical area off Seven Locks and Montrose roads and Interstate 270. Route 98 will expand to serve several areas, including the Cinnamon Woods neighborhood during peak periods, the Germantown Community Center during midday and the Maryland SoccerPlex on weekends. Service will be provided to a new area at Watkins Mill Road and Route 355 in Germantown. Service within Olney will be restructured, the county said.

The changes affect these routes: 2, 9, 17, 33, 34, 38, 42, 47, 51, 52, 53, 56, 58, 61, 70, 71, 76, 78, 79, 98 and the Saturday Z2 service. Use this link to see the new schedules.

Beltway outer loop closing

All lanes on the outer loop of the Capital Beltway are scheduled to close before Exit 50 (Arlington Boulevard) overnight Sunday to finish some repairs. The closing is planned for 10:30 p.m. to 5 a.m. During the closing, traffic will be directed to the access road adjacent to the outer loop just north of the Arlington Boulevard exit.

Mark Center work

This coming week, the left turn lane on Seminary Road (Route 420) west to Mark Center Avenue will be temporarily closed for the construction of two concrete medians and installation of storm drain piping. This is part of the Virginia Department of Transportation’s program to ease traffic congestion around the Mark Center stemming from the transfer of workers as part of the base realignment program.

The turn lane will be closed from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Thursday, and also each of those nights from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. Next Friday and Saturday nights, the lane will again be closed from 9:30 p.m. to 9 a.m., and then next Sunday night from 9:30 p.m. to 5 a.m.

The detour will take drivers past Mark Center Avenue to a left turn on North Beauregard Street, then a left on Mark Center Drive. From there, follow signs to Mark Center Avenue.

Merrifield intersection done

The Virginia Department of Transportation announced that it has finished rebuilding the intersection of Lee Highway and Gallows Road in Merrifield. Lee Highway has been widened from two to three lanes for a half mile in each direction between the Capital Beltway and Merrilee Drive. Gallows Road now has three lanes for nearly a mile between Gatehouse Road and Prosperity Avenue.

Dual left-turn lanes were added on Lee Highway. On the westbound side of the highway, there’s now a six-foot-wide sidewalk, and a five-foot-wide sidewalk on the other side. Gallows Road has a 10-foot-wide asphalt path on the west side and a six-foot-wide sidewalk on the east side.

Baltimore Beltway

Maryland State Highway Administration workers will be out Sunday night on the Baltimore Beltway (Interstate 695) between York Road and Dulaney Valley Road to mill out bumps on the two left lanes of both the inner and outer loops.

Work is scheduled to start on the inner loop with a single left lane closing at 9 p.m. and a double left lane closure at 10 p.m. Then after midnight, crews will move over to the outer loop. All lanes will be open by 5 a.m. Monday.

 Beltway buses starting

The Fairfax County Department of Transportation plans to begin its new Express Connector bus service for commuters Monday, taking advantage of the new express lanes on the west side of the Capital Beltway.

Initially, the rush hour service will link Burke and various destinations in Tysons. The first bus scheduled to leave Burke Centre VRE station at 5:35 a.m. weekdays. The last morning run leaves at 9 a.m. The weekday rips from Tysons Corner Center to the Burke station will begin at 11 a.m. and end at 7 p.m.

The one-way fare will be $3.65 using a SmarTrip card or $4 in cash, but the trips will be free through Jan. 25.

The plan calls for adding Tysons routes from Springfield and Lorton this spring. I hope this program works. The 495 Express Lanes can’t really be a success unless they serve transit users as well as car drivers.

Omniride’s Tysons Express began using the express lanes in November for its route from Woodbridge to Tysons.

Inauguration Day forecast

It’s still early, but the Capital Weather Gang is making a few big picture observations about the outlook for the Jan. 21 inauguration: The unseasonably warm conditions we’ve experienced lately will not last, temperatures are most likely to be in the low 40s and lows in the upper 20s on that date, the weather pattern around the inauguration may be drier than normal.

The Gang’s Jason Samenow says that forecast confidence is just low to moderate, and particularly low for precipitation. He plans to provide more updates as we get closer. And here on the Dr. Gridlock blog, we also plan to offer more travel advice for those heading to the swearing-in, the parade and the inaugural balls.

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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Robert Thomson | January 11, 2013