dr. g's tips

Dr. Gridlock's tips: 14th Street bridge work, Franconia-Springfield garage

Sunday, August 22, 2010

14th Street bridge

The work zone on the northbound 14th Street bridge is about to shift again.

On Monday, if the plan goes according to schedule, commuters will find the left-center lane blocked as they head for either 14th Street or the Southeast-Southwest Freeway.

That means the work zone will have moved one lane to the left. After a year-long phase in which the far-right lane was the only one blocked off, the bridge rehabilitation project has moved out fairly rapidly across the span. The current work zone was set up in July.

Although the concrete barriers will be in a different spot this week, the task for drivers remains basically the same. They must navigate around this construction island to line up for either 14th Street or the freeway.

Drivers heading for the bridge from northbound Interstate 395 can use the left exit lane (Exit 10C) as a through lane onto the bridge. They will not be required to exit, and they can continue onto the bridge.

When the work zone ends, there's about an eighth of a mile left to make lane changes before the highway divides.

There is always a lot of traffic movement across the bridge, but pay particular mind to drivers merging from the northbound George Washington Parkway on the right, who are going to have limited space to move left if their destination is 14th Street.

Franconia-Springfield garage

The next phase of Metro's parking garage rehabilitation at Franconia-Springfield Station will temporarily take away as many as 220 spaces near the entrance to Level 4 starting Tuesday.

During each of the 12 phases of the project, which began last fall and is scheduled to be finished next spring, a segment of the 5,069-space garage at the end of the Blue Line is closed to parking. These are some alternatives that have free parking: Springfield Mall on levels 2, 4 or 6 of the Macy's garage, the Backlick North Park & Ride at 6831 Backlick Road; or the Gambrill Road Park & Ride, 7321 Gambrill Rd. At each location, there are bus stops nearby with routes to the Metro station.

New pattern at intersection

The District Department of Transportation has closed the ramp from northbound South Dakota Avenue to eastbound Riggs Road, marking the latest phase in the reconstruction project near the Fort Totten Metro station. Drivers heading north on South Dakota must now go to the traffic signal at the intersection to make a right turn onto Riggs Road.

In an upcoming phase, the ramp from eastbound Riggs Road to southbound South Dakota Avenue also will be removed. These permanent ramp closings are part of DDOT's plan to rebuild the junction from a hybrid intersection/interchange into a traditional four-way intersection. DDOT predicts that the new version will be safer for drivers, walkers and cyclists and provide a more suitable environment for neighborhood development.

Commuter bus proposal

During one of my online chats, a traveler asked whether the completion of the Intercounty Connector would be accompanied by new bus routes.

The Maryland Transit Administration hopes to add new bus service when the east-west connector's first segment, between Interstate 370 and Georgia Avenue, is completed late this year or early next. Transit administration spokesman Terry Owens said that two express bus routes initially would operate along the connector and other roads to link park-and-ride lots in Montgomery County with Baltimore-Washington International Marshall Airport, MARC's Penn Line and Fort Meade.

The airport service would operate daily between 4 a.m. and 11 p.m., and trips to Fort Meade would be limited to weekday rush periods. There also are prospects for three other bus routes that would add service between Columbia and Bethesda, Urbana and College Park, and Greenbelt and Germantown.

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

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