The Washington Post

Lane closings to start on 17th St. at Mall

The National Park Service is going to start closing lanes on 17th Street between Constitution and Independence avenues. This is very near the other park service project, the reconstruction of western Constitution Avenue, that also is restricting lanes.

To install the lane restrictions and signs for the 17th Street project, the park service plans to temporarily close 17th Street to all traffic in the work zone from 8 o’clock tonight through 4 a.m. Thursday.

Then for about 60 days, both northbound lanes will be closed. The two southbound lanes will be converted so that there is one lane of traffic in each direction. The two-way traffic will be maintained at all times during the first project’s phase, the park service said.

The park service and the Army Corps of Engineers are building a levee across 17th Street NW just south of Constitution Avenue. The project, funded by federal stimulus money, is designed to provide protection against flooding.

Work on the levee will progress from the middle of 17th Street east toward the Washington Monument, the park service said. When the construction is done on the east side of 17th Street, the side closest to the monument, work will move to the west side.

The traffic pattern will then reverse, with the northbound lanes converted to one lane in each direction, for another 60 days. During that time, both southbound lanes will be closed and what is normally the northbound side will be used for two-way traffic.

No work will be done from July 3 to July 7, but the lane restrictions will remain in place. Project managers hope to have all the work done in late 2011.

Meanwhile, the park service is rebuilding Constitution Avenue between 15th and 23rd streets, replacing storm drainage and installing granite curbs and new sidewalks, and replacing lighting. Watch for construction signs and variable message boards, warning about the lane closings.

Here’s the work schedule for this week. The project is scheduled to be done in early 2012.

Weekdays: From 5:30 a..m to 3:30 p.m., expect up to two westbound lanes and two eastbound lane to be closed on Constitution Avenue between 23rd and 20th streets NW. The location of the lane closings may change daily. Lane closures will be set up before the morning rush and removed at the end of the day. Curb lanes may remain closed overnight for safety.

Weeknights: From 7 p.m. to 5:30 a.m., expect up to three westbound lanes or three eastbound lanes, or both, to be closed on Constitution Avenue between 23rd and 20th streets. The locations may change daily. Curb lanes may remain closed for safety.

Weekend work: From 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, expect up to two westbound and up to two eastbound lanes to be closed between 23rd and 20th streets. Curb lanes may remain closed for safety.

Robert Thomson is The Washington Post’s “Dr. Gridlock.” He answers travelers’ questions, listens to their complaints and shares their pain on the roads, trains and buses in the Washington region.



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