Rail work, road delays on way to weekend events

It will take a while to dry out, but the Capital Weather Gang is forecasting a pleasant Saturday and Sunday for the D.C. region, where lots of sports action and a few street festivals are scheduled.

RFK station sign
Soccer fans should note that Orange Line trains are 24 minutes apart this weekend. (Robert Thomson/The Washington Post)

The Nationals are home at Nationals Park from Friday night through Tuesday. The Mystics play at 7 p.m. Friday in Verizon Center. D.C. United has a 7 p.m. game Saturday at RFK Stadium.

See details below for Fiesta Asia and the Taste of Arlington street festivals. The main issues for travelers will be the Metrorail work on the Red and Orange lines, and the road work along Interstate 95 in Northern Virginia.

Metro weekend work
All stations will be open this weekend, but on several lines, trains will share tracks around work zones. Here’s the schedule for 10 p.m. Friday through the rail system’s midnight closing Sunday.

Red Line. Crews will be working on the tracks between Van Ness and Friendship Heights and between NoMa-Gallaudet and Judiciary Square. Trains are scheduled to leave the ends of the line at Shady Grove and Glenmont every 18 minutes through the weekend. But extra trains will be in service between Van Ness and Judiciary Square. In that zone, trains should reach platforms about every 10 minutes between 9 a.m. and 9 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

Orange Line. Crews will continue the long-term rehabilitation of the Minnesota Avenue station platform. Other work will be underway on the tracks between Stadium-Armory and Cheverly and between East Falls Church and West Falls Church.

All along the line, trains are scheduled to operate every 24 minutes.

Green Line. Riders who checked earlier this week may have noticed that Metro planned to test new rail cars between Greenbelt and College Park, which would have cut back regular service to the Greenbelt station. But Metro cancelled that plan  Thursday, so the Green Line will operate on its normal schedule this weekend.

Nothing to do with the heavy rain. Rather, the testing of the new 7000 series rail cars has been proceeding on all the lines. “Up to this point,” Metro spokesman Dan Stessel said, “much of it had taken place on the far north end of the Green Line, but this week, they’ve been running on the far north end of Red. And last week, they ran the 7Ks on all lines, end to end.”

@BrendnCasey got a photo of the new rail cars stopped at Union Station.

On some weekends, Metro has shut the College Park-Greenbelt tracks on the Green Line to clear room for construction of a separate test track for the 7000 series cars. That project is still underway. The test track will come into play when Metro gives the go-ahead for the mass production of the new cars, and it needs the track for the acceptance procedures. Till then, travelers in the Metro system are likely to see only those four prototype cars wandering along the rails as part of the initial testing program intended to work out design bugs.

The test track at Greenbelt will be used for acceptance testing (meaning shakedown of the new cars as they arrive to make sure everything works as intended), which is different from the much more comprehensive testing regimen that is underway now to validate the design before mass production begins.

I-95 in Northern Virginia
The HOV lanes in the middle of I-95/395 between the District and Dumfries are scheduled to be closed from Friday night till Sunday afternoon for work on the 95 Express Lanes project. The lanes, which would normally be open to all travelers on weekends to ease congestion on the interstate in Northern Virginia, are set to close at 11 p.m. Friday and remain shut until 2 p.m. Sunday, when they reopen northbound.

Similar shutdowns will occur on many weekends this year, as the 29-mile-long express lanes project moves toward completion. But work in that zone will be suspended from noon Friday, May 23, through noon Tuesday, May 27 to ease traffic for the Memorial Day weekend.

Other highway departments in the D.C. region also suspend most road work for the holiday weekend. On this Sunday’s Commuter page in The Post, look for our annual guide to summer getaways. It’s the one with the driving routes for long-distance trips from the D.C. area.

Route 29 at Northwest Branch
Drivers in Silver Spring may encounter delays north of Four Corners as emergency repair work continues on the Route 29 bridge over Northwest Branch, near the Trader Joe’s shopping center.

Fiesta Asia
The ninth annual Fiesta Asia street fair, with parades, dances, food and special events celebrating Asian American and Pacific Islander heritage, is scheduled for 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday along Pennsylvania Avenue NW between Third and Sixth streets. The nearest Metrorail stations are Archives on the Green and Yellow lines and Judiciary Square on the Red Line.

Taste of Arlington
The annual Taste of Arlington festival is scheduled for noon to 5 p.m. Sunday on Wilson Boulevard between Glebe Road and North Quincy Street and along North Stuart Street to Ninth Street.

Street parking will be restricted. Watch for temporary “No Parking” signs. Off-street parking is available at the Ballston Public Parking Garage by the Ballston Common Mall. The nearest Metrorail station is Ballston-MU on the Orange Line, but note that Orange Line trains are scheduled to operate every 24 minutes this weekend.

Bike racks are available on Wilson Boulevard and Fairfax Drive.

Arlington County police say these streets will be closed from midnight to 8 p.m. Sunday: Wilson Boulevard between North Quincy Street and North Glebe Road, North Stuart Street between North Ninth Street and Wilson Boulevard.

Also, the southbound traffic on North Taylor Street from Fairfax Drive will need to turn west at Wilson Boulevard.

Capitol Hill Classic
The Capitol Hill Classic 10K race is scheduled to begin at 8:30 a.m. Sunday in front of Peabody Primary School, by Stanton Park. The runners head west toward the Capitol, make a loop, come back to East Capitol Street, head toward RFK Stadium and then return along East Capitol Street to finish up at Stanton Park. See a course map.

All the streets along the route that will be closed for the run should be reopened by 11:30 a.m., except for C Street NE, near the start/finish line, which is scheduled to be closed from 5 a.m. to noon.

The nearest Metro station to Stanton Park is Union Station.

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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