dr. g's tips

Dr. G's traffic tips for Sunday, June 13

Sunday, June 13, 2010

I-66 spot widening

The widening project that has set outside-the-Beltway commuters against inside-the-Beltway communities, is scheduled to begin this week.

Rather than widening all of close-in Interstate 66, as many long-distance drivers would prefer, the Virginia Department of Transportation has picked three spots on the westbound side where it thinks the highway can be safely expanded.

The first target, where construction is set to start, is a 1.9-mile zone between Fairfax Drive and Sycamore Street in Arlington County. The work will take 18 months, VDOT said.

Planners expect that this spot widening will ease congestion by expanding the highway's footprint. It's a compromise based on the amount of money available for construction and on transportation politics. Many Arlington residents oppose any widening.

This $10.2 million phase of construction will start with the closing of one of two westbound lanes from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. Sunday through Thursday nights in June and July. Then, periodic lane closures will occur until the project is done in December 2011. All lane closings will be at night.

Rock Creek Parkway

More difficulties for drivers using Rock Creek Parkway: Through the end of August, work along the side of the parkway might require temporary closures of the southbound lanes and the adjacent trail just north of Q Street NW.

This will usually mean closing the right-most southbound lane only, but sometimes both southbound lanes could be shut. None of the closures would occur during rush hours.

Drivers will need to watch for flaggers directing traffic along the parkway. There will be signs directing trail users through the construction zone when a portion of the trail is temporarily diverted.

The National Park Service says the work is part of an effort to close sewer outflows and improve Rock Creek's water quality.

The area of the lane closures and trail diversions is between Georgetown and Dupont Circle. It's north of the zone disrupted by the Ohio Drive SW lane closures, although some drivers may encounter both during their trips.

Fairfax County Parkway

Starting Thursday, drivers on Rolling Road will come across occasional delays between Fullerton and Richfield roads while workers reconstruct and repave a 1,500-foot section of Rolling Road. This is part of a project that will extend the Fairfax County Parkway (Route 7100).

Watch for occasional lane closures from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. and from 7 p.m. to 5:30 a.m. Mondays through Fridays, and occasionally on Saturday and Sunday nights. Both lanes will be open to traffic during rush hours. This work will continue until December.

Crossing Route 7

If you're one of the brave folks who walks around Tysons Corner, be extra cautious when using the new crosswalks on Leesburg Pike (Route 7) at the intersection of Westpark Drive and Gosnell Road. They were installed in conjunction with the recent lane shifts and roadway widening on Leesburg Pike that are part of the Dulles Metrorail project.

Because of the widening, pedestrians only have time to cross half of Route 7 during a green traffic signal cycle. The new traffic signal requires that pedestrians stop on the median, press the signal button and wait for the light to cross to the other side.

Drivers, please be on alert for pedestrians who might not heed the warnings that they can't make it all the way across on one green light.

For more traffic information, go to http://www.washingtonpost.com/traffic.

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