Dr. Gridlock's traffic, transit tips

Saturday, February 19, 2011; 9:02 PM

Beltway/Tysons Corner

Drivers in Tysons Corner are seeing a large horizontal crane, also known as a truss, positioned near the Capital Beltway. The Dulles Metrorail project will use the truss to build the bridges that will carry the tracks over the Beltway at Route 123, requiring many nights of Beltway lane and ramp closings for safety.

These overnight closings, which began last week, will continue nightly Sundays through Fridays for the next five weeks. Drivers should expect significant delays each night.

Three lanes of the inner loop (northbound Interstate 495) are closing from 11 p.m. to 5 a.m. In addition, the ramps from the inner loop to both northbound and southbound Route 123 are closing overnights.

Work crews will begin to shut down some lanes as early as 9:30 p.m.

To reach Route 123 from the Beltway when the ramps are closed, follow detour signs north to Georgetown Pike (Route 193), then loop around to return south on the other side of the Beltway to Route 123.

I-66 HOV ramps

The Interstate 66 west high-occupancy vehicle ramps at Monument Drive and Stringfellow Road in Fairfax County will open to all traffic on weekends and during off-peak hours beginning at 10 a.m. Feb. 28.

The ramps have been open only for HOV traffic during rush hours, but drivers have long asked why they can't be open to all traffic at other times, just as HOV lanes are. (Travelers were asking about it last week during the Monday online discussion.) The change has been in the works since last year.

Until Feb. 28, the long-standing rules remain in place: The Monument Drive and Stringfellow Road ramps are open only to eastbound HOV-2 traffic from 5:30 to 9:30 a.m. and westbound traffic from 3 to 7 p.m. The ramps are closed to traffic during off-peak hours and weekends.

Starting Feb. 28, the ramps will be open to all westbound traffic, except during the HOV hours, the Virginia Department of Transportation says.

Traffic signs and signals at the top of the exit ramps have been modified, and traffic signals near the interchanges will be re-timed to accommodate the new traffic.

Route 50/Beltway

Beginning at 9:30 p.m. each night through Tuesday, all lanes of Arlington Boulevard (Route 50) under the Capital Beltway in Merrifield are scheduled to close for bridge beam placement, part of the high-occupancy toll lanes construction project on the Beltway. All lanes will reopen by 9 a.m. Sunday and by 5 a.m. weekdays.

Through traffic traveling east on Route 50 will be detoured to Gallows Road (Route 650), to Lee Highway (Route 29), to Fairview Park Drive and back to Route 50 east. Route 50 east traffic heading for the inner loop (I-495 north) will be directed to use that detour.

Through traffic traveling west on Route 50 will be detoured to Fairview Park Drive, to Lee Highway (Route 29), to Gallows Road (Route 650) and back to Route 50 west. Route 50 west traffic heading for the outer loop (I-495 south) will be directed to use that detour.

Memorial Bridge repairs

The National Park Service is repairing the sidewalks and performing other maintenance on the Arlington Memorial Bridge. Two pedestrian bridges have been assembled on the north side of the bridge and are open to pedestrians. Two other pedestrian bridges are being assembled on the south side and will be finished in a few weeks, the Park Service says.

Pedestrians should follow the detour around the Lincoln Memorial and around the circle on the south side of the bridge. For drivers, no lane closures will occur during rush hours, but the pedestrian bridge installations may require closing two lanes on the bridge from 9:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

For more transportation news, go to washingtonpost.com/transportation.

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