Dr. Gridlock’s traffic, transit tips

Robert Thomson
Columnist October 8, 2011
11th street bridge

Monday’s commuters should find something new along DC 295 in the midst of all the construction for the 11th Street Bridge spans over the Anacostia River: The District Department of Transportation plans to open the big southbound flyover bridge this weekend.

This realigns the southbound lanes of the Anacostia Freeway (295) between Pennsylvania Avenue and Howard Road, so use caution driving through the area till everyone gets used to it. The flyover ramp, which is 1,368 feet long and rises up to 68 feet, is the first major phase of the bridge project to be completed.

The opening clears the way for building new inbound and outbound freeway ramps. When those are done, DDOT said, the next milestone will be the opening of the two freeway bridges over the river late this year. That will be a major relief for many long-distance highway commuters. By mid-2013, a third span should be completed, connecting neighborhoods across the Anacostia.

Silver Spring signals

The Maryland State Highway Administration is about halfway through a project that is rebuilding the traffic signals and making other improvements at six Colesville Road intersections in downtown Silver Spring. The new equipment includes pedestrian countdown signals. Two of the intersections, at Wayne Avenue and Thayer Avenue, are pretty much done, but the power has not yet been turned on.

Four others are partially done, including work on the sidewalks. They are at Sligo Avenue, East-West Highway, Silver Spring Avenue and Bonifant Street. Most should be done by the end of the year, and the entire project should be completed by late spring, said David Buck, a spokesman for the highway administration.

I-95 HOT lanes

A reader during a recent online chat asked if the high-occupancy toll lanes that Virginia proposes to build on Interstate 95 south of the Capital Beltway will be reversible, as the high-occupancy vehicle lanes are now.

Yes, the plan is that the new HOT lanes will pretty much mimic the directional pattern that drivers experience now on the HOV lanes. That includes both the weekday and weekend patterns. This is different from the plan for the HOT lanes under construction on the Beltway in Virginia. Those are four brand new lanes. Two will be part of the inner loop and two part of the outer loop.

Army 10-Miler

Metro opens early today for the annual Army 10-Miler race in Arlington and D.C. The race is scheduled to start at 8 a.m. on Route 110 and finish in the Pentagon North Parking Lot.

Metrorail will open at 6 a.m. Extra trains will run on the Blue Line from 6 to 8 a.m. and from 11:15 a.m. to 12:40 p.m. Blue Line trains toward the Pentagon will leave Franconia-Springfield and Stadium-Armory every 7 ½ minutes. Bus service at the Pentagon Transit Center will be relocated to Pentagon City until all streets are reopened around 2 p.m.

Union Station Plaza

Travelers in the vicinity of Union Station can see that Columbus Circle, the plaza out front, is lined with construction barriers. The District Department of Transportation has begun an 18-month project that should improve access and safety throughout the plaza.

DDOT said the work area will include the roadway adjacent to Union Station on the east and west sides, Columbus Circle, First Street NE between Massachusetts Avenue and G Street, Columbus Drive NE between Massachusetts Avenue and F Street and the streets that intersect Massachusetts Avenue at Columbus Circle.

During construction, the bus, car and taxi drop-off lanes in front of the station will remain open. Traffic lanes on Massachusetts Avenue and around the plaza will be reduced as necessary, DDOT said.

For more transportation news, visit washingtonpost.com/transportation.

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