The week ahead: Stormy weather, sporting events, Metro repairs, road work


Beltway drivers continue to express confusion about how to use the 495 Express Lanes. (Robert Thomson – The Washington Post)

The focal point of the D.C. area’s travel week will be the winter storm forecast to develop Tuesday evening through Wednesday. Check the Capital Weather Gang doing frequent updates on its forecast. You can also follow the gang on Twitter @capitalweather. It’s using the hashtag #snowquester for the storm.

The Capitals are home at Verizon Center on Tuesday and Thursday nights.The Wizards are away till Saturday night. D.C. United is back at RFK Stadium on Saturday night.

The week’s roadwork schedule is light, but even that may get thrown off by the mid-week storm. Here are some of the highlights for both the roadwork and the Metrorail construction plans.

Join me at noon Monday for our weekly online discussion about traffic and transit issues in the D.C. region.

Metro late-night work

Metrorail riders may encounter delays on these line segments after 10 p.m. through Thursday.

Red Line: Delays of about 10 minutes between Rhode Island Avenue and Takoma.

Orange and Blue Lines: Delays of about 10 minutes between Stadium-Armory and Eastern Market.

Green and Yellow Lines: Delays of about five minutes between Mount Vernon Square and L’Enfant Plaza.

Beltway/Telegraph Road

Watch for single-lane closings in both directions on Telegraph Road between Duke Street and East Drive at midday Monday through Friday. This is part of the Wilson Bridge project’s final stage, the reconstruction of Telegraph Road at the Capital Beltway. It’s scheduled to be done by late spring.

Dulles Metrorail construction

The eastbound lanes of the Dulles Access Highway are scheduled to close overnights through Wednesday, starting at midnight each night from Centreville Road (Route 657) to the merger with the Dulles Toll Road just past the main toll plaza. The closing will clear room for removal of construction equipment for Metro’s Silver Line, scheduled to open late this year.

During the closings, traffic will be detoured from the eastbound Access Highway onto the eastbound Dulles Toll Road at Centreville Road. Drivers will use the Toll Road the rest of the way to the Capital Beltway and will have to pay the toll at the toll plaza.

Using 495 Express Lanes

Drivers continue to puzzle over when it might be worth their while to use the express lanes. They can get one more clue by checking the express lanes’ Web site, www.495expresslanes.com. The map that is part of the site’s “On the Road Now” page indicates traffic speeds in the lanes in the green, yellow, red color code familiar to users of online maps.

That at-a-glance information was unavailable for a while after the new lanes opened in November, because it was difficult for the lane sensors to translate speed readings into the color-code system. That problem has been overcome, said Pierce Coffee, an official with Transurban, operator of the lanes.

That’s a help, but there’s still no one place to look for all the information a driver might need to plan a Beltway trip before leaving home or office. Even when information about speeds in the regular lanes and the express lanes is available in one spot, it’s unclear how many drivers would look.

Our transportation network pushes out lots of information, but many commuters just get in their cars and go, rather than check conditions.

I-395/Edsall Road

Between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays for about a month, crews working on the 95 Express Lanes project will drive concrete pile foundations for a new flyover bridge from the high occupancy vehicle (HOV) lanes to the regular lanes of Interstate 395 North. The construction, in the median just north of Edsall Road (Route 648) should have no effect on the travel lanes.

When the flyover foundation is finished, construction will progress to the right side of I-395 North off the roadway. The new flyover ramp will carry northbound traffic during the mornings from the 95 Express Lanes to the regular lanes or to the Duke Street (Route 236) exit. This work is scheduled to continue into late spring. The express lanes project is scheduled to be done in 2014.

I-270 guardrail

Watch for northbound lane closings on Interstate 270 between Routes 118 and 117 from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. and southbound lane closings in the same area between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. through Wednesday. The Maryland State Highway Administration is working on the guardrails.

L’Enfant Plaza elevators

Metro is modernizing three of the four elevators at the busy L’Enfant Plaza station. The ones shut down connect the street to the station mezzanine, the mezzanine to the Green/Yellow Line platform for trains toward Branch Avenue and Huntington, and the mezzanine to the Greenbelt side of the platform.

That leaves the elevator between the Blue/Orange Line platform and the northbound Green/Yellow Line platform.

Metro figures that by working on the three at the same time, it can shorten the project. The elevators should be back in service around the end of May. Meanwhile, some riders who need the elevators may find it easier to use the Metro Center and Gallery Place transfer stations.

Pentagon escalators

Metro is replacing three of the six escalators at the entrance to the Pentagon station. The ones being replaced are on the left side as riders exit the station.

The other set of three will remain open during the project, as will the elevator. All the work is scheduled to be done this fall.

The project is similar to the replacements that occurred at the Foggy Bottom and Dupont Circle stations. It’s more than the familiar tear up during one of the escalator modernization projects. Workers must haul out the old structures and bring in new ones.

Metrobus meetings

The transit authority has scheduled two public meetings for this week to discuss possible improvements to service on Routes 4A,B,E,H (the Pershing Drive-Arlington Boulevard Line). Each is scheduled to begin at 5:30 and continue till 7:30 p.m. Here are the locations.

  • Wednesday: Arlington Temple United Methodist Church, 1835 N. Nash St., Arlington.
  • Thursday: Arlington Assembly of God Church, 4501 N. Pershing Drive, Arlington.
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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Dana Hedgpeth · March 3, 2013