Walter Reed hospital drill to affect Bethesda traffic

A security drill at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center on Friday morning might cause significant traffic delays in the Bethesda area, military officials said.

Increased security at the hospital’s gates on Wisconsin Avenue and Jones Bridge Road could reduce queuing areas and increase vehicle inspection times, causing traffic to back up onto local roads, officials said. The area is a daily chokepoint because it’s just inside the Capital Beltway, and those roads carry commuter traffic to Walter Reed, the National Institutes of Health and downtown Bethesda.

The base has encouraged non-essential employees to take leave, telework or shift their hours. Patient services will be limited, but the hospital’s emergency room will remain open. The worst traffic impacts would be felt between 5 a.m. and 8 a.m., a base official said.

The drill is part of a Navy-wide exercise.

Katherine Shaver is a transportation and development reporter. She joined The Washington Post in 1997 and has covered crime, courts, education and local government but most prefers writing about how people get — or don’t get — around the Washington region.

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