The week ahead for traffic in the D.C. area


Some of the 1,500 workers on the 95 Express Lanes project are building up the earth to support a future flyover ramp to connect with the interstate’s median. (Robert Thomson/The Washington Post)

Many road work projects will affect travel this week, but perhaps nowhere as much as along the routes inside the Capital Beltway that include Interstates 395, 695 and 295. Here are some highlights from across the Washington region.

Join me at noon for our weekly discussion of local traffic and transit issues. You can submit questions now by using that link.

I-95/395 HOV lanes. The HOV lanes on northbound I-395/95 in Virginia will close at 10 a.m. rather than 11 a.m. weekdays, and the southbound HOV lanes will open at noon rather than 1 p.m.

The change will remain in effect until mid-October. Virginia Department of Transportation officials hope this will ease southbound congestion during construction of the 95 Express Lanes, the I-95 shoulder lane project in Prince William County and traffic-easing work in the I-395/Seminary Road area by the Mark Center.

The 95 Express Lanes construction is the main event of the summer road work season in the D.C. region. While the lanes aren’t scheduled to open until 2015, this summer and fall are the periods of maximum impact on travelers.

The express lane project affects traffic along 29 miles of I-95/395 between Edsall Road, just north of the Beltway, and Garrisonville Road to the south.

Throughout the summer, watch for: extensive lane closings and delays at off-peak hours day and night, occasional full closings of I-95 and overnight detours, slow-moving trucks entering and leaving the work zone in the median, reduced access to shoulders.

11th Street SE. The District’s 11th Street Bridge project has temporarily shut 11th Street SE between M and K streets north of the Navy Yard, so that workers can finish installing steel girders over the roadway until until 5:30 a.m. Tuesday.

In this area south of Capitol Hill, workers are building a bridge above 11th and M streets that will take traffic eastbound on Interstate 695. The flyover bridge is scheduled to open next summer.

Northbound 11th Street SE traffic is temporarily detoured via M Street to Eighth Street, then onto G Street to return to 11th Street. Southbound traffic detours to I (Eye) Street, then onto Eighth Street and M Street before returning to 11th Street south of M Street.

I-695 near Third Street Tunnel. Drivers will find the right lane closed on the westbound side of I-695 approaching the Third Street Tunnel. Also the left-most lanes on both sides of I-695 near South Capitol Street are scheduled to be closed until Saturday.

Then from Sunday to Aug. 31, the right eastbound lane from the South Capitol Street exit to Sixth Street SE is scheduled to be closed.

DDOT is building structures for variable message boards that will hang over the freeway. Because of the nature of the work, the lanes must be blocked for long periods of time, said DDOT spokesman Reggie Sanders. It’s not safe or practical to take down the work zones for rush hours, or do the work only at night, he said.

Arlington Boulevard interchange. VDOT continues to close lanes on both sides of Arlington Boulevard between 10th Street and North Rhodes Street as it rebuilds the  Arlington Boulevard/Courthouse Road/10th Street Interchange.

Monday through Friday, the closings will occur on westbound Arlington Boulevard from 6:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. and on the eastbound side from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Paving progress. During last Monday’s online discussion, a traveler asked about the repaving on heavily traveled Connecticut Avenue near Jones Bridge Road and the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center.

David Buck, a spokesman for the Maryland State Highway Administration, said all work on the project is scheduled to be completed by the end of September.

Last week, overnight crews began the final resurfacing. The paving should be done by mid-month, weather permitting.

After that, the final work will include upgrades to the traffic signal on Connecticut Avenue at Jones Bridge Road/Kensington Parkway. This will include audible signals and countdown signs for pedestrians.

ICC bus changes. The Maryland Transit Administration’s new plan for bus service on the Intercounty Connector has taken effect. While three of the five routes were threatened with cancellation because of low ridership, only one got chopped.

That was Route 205, which operated between Germantown and College Park via the ICC. Two others were modified: Midday service on routes 202 and 203 was canceled, but a later afternoon run was added on Route 203 between Columbia and Bethesda.

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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