Dear Dr. Gridlock: Some time ago you printed information about the tow truck that is posted on the American Legion Bridge to move disabled vehicles during rush hours. It stated that Mr. Hollen of Henry's towing service invited "anyone with a cellular phone to report disabled vehicles directly to Henry's" and "that should do it."
Last night, according to radio traffic reports, a disabled vehicle was blocking a lane on the bridge and traffic was backed up to the Dulles Toll Road. One half-hour later they still reported it blocking the lane. I called Henry's and was told by the dispatcher that they would not take any action unless instructed by the police.
Can you help? Why should thousands of us wait on the Beltway while the tow truck is only some yards away and could help clear the lanes instantly? Apparently the tow truck sits and watches when quick action would greatly reduce the traffic problem. BARBARA PERRY Rockville
The problem reported in this column before was that some motorists were passing an idle tow truck stationed by the George Washington Memorial Parkway, near the American Legion Bridge, only to find a disabled vehicle on the bridge. The Virginia Department of Transportation has a contract with Henry's to station a truck near the bridge for quick response to disabled vehicles. There was concern why the truck wasn't in action.
The folks at Henry's reported then that they sometimes weren't called immediately by authorities, or otherwise couldn't see the problem.
Larry Hollen, manager at Henry's, now says it becomes confusing when motorists call in to report vehicles on that bridge because many other unrelated calls are coming in. Hollen and the transportation department now recommend that motorists with cellular telephones call the 24-hour emergencydispatcher to report a problem. That number is 631-9611. (You can also use that number to summon a Virginia state courtesy patrol to help you if you break down.) Let's see if this works better. Please keep the doctor posted. Resurfacing of Western Avenue
Dear Dr. Gridlock:
Could you find out if and when Western Avenue between Westmoreland Circle and Wisconsin Avenue NW is scheduled to be resurfaced? This is a heavily traveled street used by cars and buses that bring commuters to the Friendship Metro station, and shoppers to the uptown shopping area at Wisconsin and Western Avenue NW.
This street has been in very bad shape for a number of years, but this past year it has deteriorated to the point one wonders how long your car can hold together. Because of traffic patterns and street parking, it is virtually impossible to avoid the continuous rough road and numerous potholes.
Any repairs you can get started or information on scheduling of the above road work would be appreciated. MAURICE G. WRIGHT Bethesda
A few years ago, the city resurfaced Western Avenue from Connecticut Avenue to Wisconsin Avenue. Now there are plans to repave the segment you mentioned in three phases. The first phase, from River Road to 45th Street, should begin next year. There is no completion date yet set. The second phase, from Westmoreland Circle to River Road, has not been funded, but city officials hope to get money for work to begin in 1992. There are no plans to repave the last leg, from 45th Street to Wisconsin Avenue. City officials believe the deterioration is not as great on that segment. Meanwhile, hold on to your hat. Tired of Howard Road Detour
Dear Dr. Gridlock:
When will the Howard Road exit off of Interstate 295 South be reopened? The detour has been up for nearly two years because of Green Line Metro construction.
Howard Road is the easiest way for many southbound commuters to get from I-295 South across the Anacostia to Interstate 395 South. What is the possibility that another access point from I-295 South to I-395 South will be constructed, such as a Pennsylvania Avenue West exit off I-295. JOHN M. DOYON Arlington
The Metro construction has been finished for some time now. The city made a decision to keep Howard Road closed until resurfacing of that road could begin. The logic, as explained by the city's traffic chief, George Schoene, was that people might become overly confused with shifting detours required with the closing, opening and then closing again of Howard Road. The resurfacing should begin soon, and is scheduled to be finished by December 1991. That means Howard Road will have been closed for about three years. Perhaps Schoene could push for the reopening of Howard Road and we could rename it "Schoene Parkway," in his honor. Many people have written about Howard Road. If you'd like to share your feelings, you can write Schoene at the Department of Public Works, 2000 14th St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20009.
Meanwhile, the city has obtained approval for a new interstate link, the so-called Barney Circle Freeway, that will cross the Anacostia over a new bridge north of Pennsylvania Avenue, and will allow the north-to-north and south-to-south connections between I-395 and I-295. But completion of that is several years away. Shaping Va. Transportation Policy
Virginia's Commonwealth Transportation Board, which approves transportation projects for the state, will hold a public meeting to explain the policy and goals the department will pursue next year when Congress takes up the reauthorization of the National Surface Transportation Act.
The meeting will be at 7 p.m. at Chantilly High School, 4201 Stringfellow Rd., Chantilly. The board is soliciting public comment, in person or in writing.
For more information, call the agency's Northern Virginia public affairs office at 934-7350.
Dr. Gridlock appears in Metro 2 each Friday. You can suggest topics by writing (please don't phone) to DR. GRIDLOCK, The Washington Post, 1150 15th St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20071.