Dr. Gridlock’s traffic, transit tips

Columnist March 17, 2012
Route 50 interchanges

Westbound Arlington Boulevard (Route 50) is scheduled to close between Courthouse Road and 10th Street next weekend from 8 a.m. Saturday to 8 p.m. Sunday while workers demolish the 10th Street bridge over westbound Route 50. Avoid it, or try 10th Street to Washington Boulevard and back to Arlington Boulevard as a detour.

Earlier in the week, the Virginia Department of Transportation plans to impose several other closings that are part of this project, which involves rebuilding the interchanges at Courthouse Road and 10th Street. These closings, set to begin Thursday, will continue till the project is near completion in fall 2013.

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

The bridge from southbound 10th Street to eastbound Arlington Boulevard will close. Drivers can use Washington Boulevard to North Pershing Drive back to Arlington Boulevard as a detour. The ramp from westbound Arlington Boulevard to North Fairfax Drive between Courthouse Road and 10th Street also will close. Use 10th Street as a detour.

Finally, Fairfax Drive between Scott Street and Courthouse Road will close. Scott, Taft and Troy streets will remain open. Drivers won’t be able to make left turns from Courthouse Road to Fairfax Drive.

Bay Bridge painting

Workers are starting a paint job on the westbound span of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge. They will be doing the steel parts of the suspension span and the towers. Drivers may see tarps and scaffolding around the towers, as well as a platform above the roadway.

Installing that equipment will require several overnight closings of the westbound span. During that time, two-way traffic will be allowed on the eastbound span. Painting is scheduled to be done by fall 2013, the Maryland Transportation Authority said.

Also getting underway this month is repaving and line striping along Route 50 before the toll plaza. The new striping will guide drivers to the plaza’s lanes and help improve the traffic flow, the authority said.

The work, including overnight lane closings near the toll plaza area, will take about two weeks.

Springfield Interchange

The Virginia Department of Transportation will continue closing the Capital Beltway’s inner loop at the Springfield Interchange this week from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. Monday through Thursday and between 9 p.m. Friday and 7 a.m. Saturday.

Workers are demolishing an old ramp over the highway, painting new bridge structures and completing other work on the bridge. This is part of the Interstate 495 Express Lanes project (the high-occupancy toll lanes).

During those nights, inner-loop traffic will be detoured to Exit 170B for Interstate 395 North, then to Exit 2 for Edsall Road West. Drivers will follow signs to I-395 South and back to Exit 1D for the inner loop toward Tysons Corner. The detour may add 15 to 20 minutes.

Pedestrian barrier

Montgomery County has installed a median fence along Randolph Road between Veirs Mill Road and Colie Drive to prevent jaywalking.

The county’s pedestrian safety program identified the site as a high priority, because of collisions involving pedestrians between intersections. The fence encourages people to walk to an intersection, where crossing should be safer.

A similar barrier was installed last year on Randolph Road west of Veirs Mill Road near Selfridge Road.

Md. bridge repair

The Maryland State Highway Administration is starting repairs tonight on the Patuxent Beach Road (Route 4) Bridge over the Patuxent River, where it divides Calvert and St. Mary’s counties.

The work, which is scheduled to be done by spring 2013, should not have a big impact on either motorists or boaters, but it will require the closing of one lane on the bridge during overnight work, from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. Sundays through Thursdays.

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

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