Dr. Gridlock’s traffic, transit tips: Last phase of Wilson Bridge project wraps up

Robert Thomson
Columnist April 6, 2013
Telegraph Road Project

Virginia, Fairfax County and Alexandria officials held a ceremony Thursday marking completion of the Telegraph Road interchange reconstruction, the last major phase of the Woodrow Wilson Bridge project, which involved building not only the bridge but also two interchanges on each side of the Potomac River.

Over the years, some travelers have asked why the Telegraph Road interchange was taking so long, but this work, which began in 2008, was long designated as the last phase of the overall project. It has been completed on time and caps one of the region’s transportation success stories.

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. View Archive

This part of the job was quite complex. It involved widening a two-and-a-half-mile section of the Capital Beltway, which extended the thru and local lanes west from the bridge. Elevated ramps were built to link the Beltway with Telegraph Road, Eisenhower Avenue and nearby streets. Also, the Telegraph Road bridge over the railroad and Metro tracks north of the Beltway was rebuilt to improve traffic flow along the corridor.

Festival finale

Next weekend is the big wrap-up for the 2013 National Cherry Blossom Festival. The highlight — or lowlight, if you’re driving in downtown Washington — will be Saturday’s cherry blossom parade. It’s scheduled to start at 10 a.m. at Seventh Street NW and Constitution Avenue, then proceed along Constitution to 17th Street NW, where it ends about noon. Nearest Metro stations are Archives and Federal Triangle.

Metro’s program of major weekend track work will remain suspended through the end of the festival, but it picks back up again on the Orange Line during the weekend of April 20, when buses replace trains between Rosslyn and Virginia Square.

Cherry Blossom Run

This weekend, the festival and the blossoms are peaking. The Cherry Blossom 10-Mile Run and 5K Run-Walk is from 7:30 to 11:30 a.m. Sunday, starting and ending on the Washington Monument grounds. Nearest Metro stations: Smithsonian and Federal Triangle. The event, which draws about 15,000 preregistered runners, goes around the Tidal Basin and through East Potomac Park. Lincoln Memorial Circle and Independence Avenue near the Tidal Basin are good viewpoints.

Metro is opening at 5 a.m., providing two hours of extra service funded by the event’s organizers.

Georgetown Pike trees

This coming week, the Virginia Department of Transportation plans to remove 13 trees on Georgetown Pike at Difficult Run to prepare for replacing 2,300 feet of guardrail. The trees border the eastbound lane. VDOT says they hinder drivers’ sight distance and are too close to the guardrail.

During the work, scheduled for Tuesday and Wednesday, a lane will be closed from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. The guardrail replacement will be done in late summer.

Quantico delays

Drivers should expect some delays — five to eight minutes during rush hours, according to the Virginia Department of Transportation — because of the closing of the Telegraph Road bridge over Interstate 95 near Quantico. The closing is scheduled to last nine months, while the bridge is replaced.

Meanwhile, drivers will be detoured via Route 1 or Russell Road. Drivers may encounter temporary lane closings at off-peak hours on I-95 near Telegraph Road. The workers are building the new express lanes in the middle of I-95, a project scheduled to be done in late 2014.

Eastern Shore paving

The Maryland State Highway Administration is starting a seven-mile resurfacing project on westbound Route 50 in Berlin, just east of Ocean City. If the weather cooperates, the new surface should be done by early summer.

Meanwhile, drivers may encounter single-lane closings from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. weekdays.

For more transportation news, go to washingtonpost.com/transportation.

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