[This post has been updated.] Mostly sunny and warm through this last weekend before summer, the Capital Weather Gang says. The Beach Boys are at Merriweather Post, the tall ships and Blue Angels are in Baltimore, the Yankees visit Nationals Park and the Post’s Beach Guide 2012 is out. (For those who limit their exposure to the outdoors, check our new guide to best rooftop bars.)
However you plan to get around this weekend, check these highlights of the road and transit work that could slow you down.
The three games between the Nationals and Yankees, potentially the best series in baseball this weekend, are likely to draw big crowds to Nationals Park on Friday night, and Saturday and Sunday afternoons.
Traffic gets congested around M and South Capitol streets near the ballpark; on the Southeast-Southwest Freeway; on the 11th Street and 14th Street bridges; and on the Douglass Bridge.
The nearest Metro station is Navy Yard, on the Green Line, but be sure to check on the Metro weekend delays listed below. They affect all lines but the Green Line. Those attending Friday night’s game will arrive without facing any of those maintenance delays, but work probably will be underway by the time fans leave the game.
On weekends, parking is free at all Metro lots and garages.
More than 40 tall ships and naval vessels are visiting Baltimore for Sailabration, the start for the War of 1812 bicentennial. Many are open for visits before they sail out on Tuesday. (The Navy ships will leave between 7 and 11 a.m., and the tall ships will depart between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m.)
Planners anticipate the event could draw a million people. The really big shows — and the big traffic draws — will be Saturday and Sunday, when the Navy's Blue Angels perform over Fort McHenry. There will also be concerts and fireworks Saturday evening.
The Star-Spangled Air Show is scheduled to start at about 1 p.m.each day. The Blue Angels are on between 3 and 4 p.m., though the times are subject to change. The main viewing areas are Fort McHenry, MedStar Harbor Hospital and Port Covington/Sam’s Club.
Baltimore hasn’t had an air show like this before, so experience is not a guide, but count on those viewing points being packed well before the shows start. Once they’re full, they’ll be closed off.
Fort Avenue is closed at Andre Street, about 2,500 feet from the Fort McHenry main gate.
Christina Barron also wrote a guide to parking and getting around Baltimore during Sailabration. For those in the D.C. area familiar with the parking for baseball and football, a good bet is to try parking at M&T Bank Stadium lots G and H for $20.
MARC trains operate only on weekdays.
The Maryland Transportation Authority, which operates the state’s toll bridges and tunnels is worried about traffic delays throughout the week-long stay at the Fort McHenry Tunnel on I-95 and along I-95 and I-395 in the city.
The city will be very crowded, especially around the Inner Harbor. See our Going Out Guide’s map of the Inner Harbor. You’re probably best off taking the Baltimore Harbor Tunnel (I-895) or the Francis Scott Key Bridge (I-695) to get by Baltimore. For those heading into the city, you could try I-83 from the north, or Route 40 from the west.
It’s not just the volume of traffic that will cause trouble. If you’re traveling around the time of the air shows or the fireworks, watch for knuckleheads pulling to the sides of the highways to take in the view. That’s illegal and police will be watching for them, but such behavior still could cause delays. Others will just slow down and take their eyes off the road.
Metro weekend delays
Weekend projects will affect service on four Metrorail lines from 10 p.m. Friday through the system’s midnight closing Sunday.
Blue Line: Free shuttle buses replace Blue Line trains between Franconia-Springfield, Van Dorn Street and Eisenhower Avenue stations at the southern end of the line.
Using the shuttle will add about half an hour to normal travel times. Blue Line trains will operate between Huntington and Largo Town Center every 20 minutes throughout the weekend. So if you would normally park and ride from Franconia-Springfield, consider driving over to Huntington instead. At the stations served by both the Blue and Yellow Lines, trains should arrive about every 10 minutes.
Between Eastern Market and Stadium-Armory, trains will be sharing a track around a work zone.Add about 10 minutes to normal travel times in that area.
Orange Line: The Orange and Blue lines share a tunnel through the middle of D.C., so Orange Line trains also will be single-tracking between Eastern Market and Stadium-Armory. Trains are scheduled to operate about every 20 minutes during the weekend, but add that extra 10 minutes through the work zone.
Red Line: Trains will share tracks through two work zones. One is between Takoma and Forest Glen, the other between Friendship Heights and Medical Center.
Trains are scheduled to leave the ends of the line every 24 minutes through the weekend. Add about 15 minutes to normal travel times to get through each work zone.
Between 9 a.m. and 9 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, more trains will operate between Friendship Heights and New York Avenue stations. So in the middle of the line, trains should arrive at platforms about every 12 minutes.
Yellow Line: Because Blue Line trains will operate out of Huntington, rather than Franconia-Springfield, Yellow Line trains will operate every 20 minutes between Huntington and Mount Vernon Square over the weekend. On a normal weekend — if there is such a thing anymore — Yellow Line trains would continue north to Fort Totten. But to complete that trip this weekend, Yellow Line riders will need to transfer to the Green Line by the time they reach Mount Vernon Square.
Using Metrorail on weekends frustrates many riders. The Trip Planner on Metro’s Web site doesn’t account for the maintenance delays, so they can’t rely on that for schedule information.
Also, many riders say their trips take much longer than what’s listed in the official schedule, especially if they have to transfer from one line to another.
Route 15 safety patrol
State police in Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania and North Carolina plan to step up their patrols along 400 miles of Route 15 this weekend. The highway is heavily traveled in the summer and this is a show of force intended to enhance safety.
Troopers will be enforcing the traffic laws and will set up sobriety checkpoints
Local and long-range drivers will need to watch for delays this weekend near the Capital Beltway’s Telegraph Road interchange, where work zones are set up for the final stage of the Wilson Bridge project.
There are many lane and ramp closings in this area from Friday night through Monday morning. These are just some highlights.
The ramp from the outer loop to Huntington Avenue will be closed all weekend. The ramp from Telegraph Road South to the outer loop will be closed from 9 p.m. Friday till 3 p.m. Saturday.
Telegraph Road will be completely closed between the Beltway and Duke Street for bridge demolition from 9 p.m. Friday till 5 a.m. Monday. (This is the project that affects weekend service on the Blue Line.) The eastbound and westbound ramps from Duke Street to Telegraph Road South will be closed.
495 Express Lanes
The 14-mile-long work zone for the 495 Express Lanes on the west side of the Beltway in Virginia is very active at off-peak hours and on weekends.
This weekend, watch for full closings of the inner and outer loops at Arlington Boulevard (Route 50) on Friday and Saturday nights. Detours will be set up, but it’s best to avoid the area entirely.
Also for the project, the Virginia Department of Transportation has closed the I-66 East High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) left-exit ramp to the outer loop.
That HOV lane traffic will be directed to use the general purpose ramp (Exit 64A) on the right side of I-66 East. This is bound to cause some confusion and delay in an area that doesn’t need any help to get congested.
The HOV exit will stay closed until late this year, when the project is completed. Then it will reopen as a combined HOV-3 and 495 Express Lanes ramp.
This work does not affect I-66 East HOV traffic exiting to the inner loop, toward Tysons Corner.