Dr. G's tips: Christmas Tree lighting, Beltway project

Saturday, December 4, 2010; 5:06 PM

National tree lighting

The National Christmas Tree Lighting, the one that each year destroys the holiday spirit of hundreds of D.C. commuters who get stuck in the resulting congestion during rush hour, is scheduled for 5 p.m. Thursday on the Ellipse, south of the White House.

The ceremony is great fun for thousands of people, but why it always needs to happen on a weekday afternoon in the middle of the capital city is a puzzlement. Most drivers don't want to be anywhere near the area, but for those with tickets to the ceremony, the best bet is to take Metrorail to McPherson Square, Farragut North, Farragut West, Federal Triangle or Metro Center.

Beltway project postponed

Recent rains forced postponement of one Capital Beltway project that had been scheduled to disrupt traffic this weekend. Here's the new schedule.

Next weekend, the Woodrow Wilson Bridge project plans to narrow the Capital Beltway's inner loop from the Route 1 exit to just after Telegraph Road. This is likely to create a lot of congestion, and it would be best to take another route between Friday night and next Sunday afternoon.

At 9 p.m. Friday one of the two THRU lanes and one of the two LOCAL lanes in the area will be closed, leaving one THRU and one LOCAL lane open. Also, the inner loop exit for Telegraph Road South and the Telegraph Road South ramp to the inner loop will close.

Also, the ramp from Telegraph Road North to the inner loop is set to close Friday night , and remain closed for two weeks to allow work on an interchange bridge.

Pennsylvania avenue se

The District Department of Transportation is shifting traffic patterns on Pennsylvania Avenue SE between 27th Street and Branch Avenue for paving work that is part of the city's Great Streets project.

Sunday: From 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., all traffic will shift to the south side of the avenue. One lane will be open in each direction.

Monday: Starting at 9:30 a.m., traffic will shift to the south side. One lane will be open in each direction until 3:30 p.m., when there will be two in each direction.

Maryland's 'move over' law

This fall, Maryland joined almost all the other states, including Virginia, that have adopted laws requiring drivers to move to another lane or slow down when they are passing near police cars and other emergency vehicles stopped along a highway.

Violating the law, which took effect Oct. 1, carries a fine of $110 and one point on a driver's license. If the violation contributes to a traffic crash, the fine is $150 and three points. If the violation contributes to a traffic crash resulting in death or serious injury, the fine is $750 and three points.

Md. Bridge inspections

The Maryland State Highway Administration is continuing its series of routine bridge inspections this weekend. Today, inspectors will be checking the Route 29 bridge over the Capital Beltway. Watch for double lane closings on the inner loop in that area of Silver Spring from 4 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.

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