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Dr. Gridlock’s traffic, transit tips: Route 50 detour, Silver Line planning

Route 50 detour

Drivers using eastbound Arlington Boulevard (Route 50) to and from Courthouse Road will encounter a new detour until August as the Virginia Department of Transportation rebuilds the Courthouse Road bridge. The work is part of the reconstruction of the Arlington Boulevard interchange with Courthouse Road and 10th Street, one of VDOT’s biggest construction projects in Northern Virginia.

Traffic heading east on the boulevard to Courthouse Road will be directed to the next exit after Courthouse Road, which will intersect with the Queen Street/Rhodes Street bridge. This intersection will be a four-way stop. Traffic will turn left onto Rhodes Street, then left onto 14th Street and continue to Courthouse Road.

Riding the Silver Line

With the first phase of the Silver Line likely to start operating by the end of the year, I was wondering how long a commute might take. Transit officials point to the project’s environmental-impact statement for guidance.

That shows travel time estimates for some origins and destinations. The travel time includes time spent getting into the station, waiting for a train, riding the train and possibly transferring before reaching the destination.

The study says it should take a little under an hour to get from the Wiehle Avenue station to Union Station. A trip to the Pentagon station should take about the same time. And a trip from the west side of Tysons to Metro Center should take about 38 minutes.

Fairfax bus meetings

The Fairfax County Department of Transportation is starting public meetings to discuss the bus service proposal for connecting with the Silver Line. Commuters can attend any of the six meetings or participate in an Ask Fairfax! online chat at 10 a.m. Feb. 5. Questions for the chat can be submitted starting Thursday at www.fairfaxcounty.gov/askfairfax.

Here’s the schedule for the meetings, all of which begin at 6:30 and are scheduled to end at 8:30 p.m.: Thursday, a discussion of McLean service at Dolley Madison Library, 1244 Oak Ridge Ave., McLean; Feb. 4, a discussion of Vienna service at Westbriar Elementary School, 1741 Pine Valley Dr., Vienna; Feb. 5, a discussion of Merrifield-Tysons service at Luther Jackson Middle School, 3020 Gallows Rd., Falls Church; Feb. 6, a discussion of Herndon service at the Town Council Center, 765 Lynn St., Herndon; Feb. 7, a discussion of Reston service in the Reston Community Center at Lake Anne, JoAnn Rose Library, 1609A Washington Plaza, Reston; Feb. 11, another Reston service discussion at Lake Anne Elementary School, 11510 North Shore Dr., Reston.

D.C. streetcars

The District Department of Transportation, hoping to have the H Street/Benning Road streetcar line in operation by the end of the year, is continuing construction along the corridor. During January and February, that will include surveying, utility relocation and track work. This will require some temporary lane closings along the route.

Pentagon escalators

Metro plans to begin replacing three of the six escalators at the entrance to the Pentagon station this coming week. The ones to be 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.

The escalators to be replaced are 18 years old and break down a lot. The manufacturer stopped making escalators and parts several years ago. Systemwide, the transit authority is moving away from its losing battle with fixing the old machinery and toward replacement projects.

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

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