Dr. Gridlock's traffic, transit tips

By Robert Thompson
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, March 12, 2011; 4:06 PM

Get ready for daylight

Monday will provide commuters' first weekday experience of 2011 with daylight saving time. During the early-evening rush, many drivers will find themselves staring into the sun on their westbound trips. Early-morning drivers will temporarily have the opposite problem: Monday at 6 a.m.will look like Friday at 5 a.m. They should keep their headlights on and be extra cautious about pedestrians and cyclists.

Traffic safety advocates also describe a more subtle problem: It takes the body's clock a couple of weeks to adjust to the new hours. That can lead to drowsy driving, which happens way too much already.

The National Road Safety Foundation offers this list of warning signs for drowsy drivers: difficulty focusing, with frequent blinking; daydreaming or not remembering the last few miles driven; head-nodding, yawning or rubbing eyes; and drifting out of your lane, tailgating or hitting rumble strips.

D.C. St. Patrick's parade

Watch for street closings near the Mall today. The annual parade in the District starts at noon, but there's a race at 9 a.m. that also will lead to street closings along the course until noon. The race starts on Pennsylvania Avenue NW between 12th and 13th streets, heads east on Constitution Avenue toward Capitol Hill and comes back using Independence Avenue and streets along the mall.

Then the parade starts at noon, proceeding westbound on Constitution Avenue NW from Seventh to 17th streets. Seventh Street will be closed between Constitution and Independence avenues from about 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m., as will streets leading to Constitution Avenue.

Rosslyn station work

Arlington County's construction of a new entrance at the Rosslyn Metrorail station on North Moore Street has reached the point where the contractor, Clark Construction, has excavated to a depth of more than 20 feet and will soon hit bedrock, requiring some controlled blasting to continue. This will continue for a few months between 1 and 5 a.m. Later in the year, the blasting also will occur during daytime hours. The daytime blasting will not require the closing of North Moore Street and its sidewalks, but the night action will.

When the project is done in 2012, the station will have three new high-speed elevators.

17th Street levee

In mid-April, the National Park Service plans to begin work on the new 17th Street NW levee, which the park service says will reduce the risk of river flooding in downtown Washington.

Construction will include temporary closings on both sides of 17th Street just south of Constitution Avenue. At least one lane in each direction will be kept open at all times, but the park service is advising drivers to consider alternatives, including Third, Fourth, Seventh, 14th and 15th streets, and the Third Street and the Ninth Street tunnels. Lane restrictions are scheduled to last through late summer.

Virginia Beltway lanes

Drivers on both loops of the Capital Beltway near Tysons Corner are encountering overnight delays because of two big construction projects. Work continues on building bridges that will take the Dulles Metrorail line over the Beltway at Route 123. For safety, three lanes of the inner loop and the inner loop's connections with Route 123 are closed from 11 p.m. to 5 a.m. Sunday through Friday nights. Narrowing of the Beltway may start as early as 9:30 each night.

Meanwhile, drivers will encounter complete closings of the outer loop at I-66 Monday through Thursday. At 9:30 p.m., crews working on the High Occupancy Toll lanes project will close all lanes to place steel bridge beams over the Beltway. The I-66 westbound ramp to the outer loop (I-495 south) and the left I-66 eastbound HOV ramp to the Beltway will also be closed in the overnight hours.

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

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