With many travelers settled in after Christmas weekend trips, the transportation agencies in the D.C. region will resume work on road and transit projects today. But the week ahead still should be one of the lightest of the year for local travel.
Tuesday is the day most likely to bring bad weather. The Capital Weather Gang says we’re in for moderate to heavy rain today, but the forecast looks good till the chance of rain comes in again on New Year’s Day.
Here are a few tips for getting around this week.
Metro daily maintenance
There’s no track work scheduled for the New Year’s holiday weekend, but there is some maintenance at off-peak hours this week. Trains will share tracks and that will create delays.
Red Line: From 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. today through Friday, trains will share a track between Rhode Island Avenue and Fort Totten. The transit authority anticipates delays of five to 10 minutes.
From 10 p.m. till the train system’s midnight closing today through Thursday, trains will share a track between Friendship Heights and Medical Center, and between New York Avenue and Rhode Island Avenue. Delays of 15 to 20 minutes are likely.
Orange Line: From 10 to midnight tonight through Thursday night, trains will share a track between Smithsonian and Eastern Market, and between East Falls Church and West Falls Church. Delays of five to 10 minutes are likely.
Blue Line: From 10 to the midnight closing tonight through Thursday night, trains will share a track between Smithsonian and Eastern Market, with delays of five to 10 minutes.
Virginia’s HOV lane restrictions are back in effect for rush hours through Friday.
For the New Year’s weekend, the I-95/395 reversible lanes will be open to all traffic heading south from 6 p.m. Friday to 2 p.m. Saturday.
They will be open to all northbound traffic from 4 p.m. Saturday to 6 a.m. Tuesday, when HOV-3 rules again take effect.
The Redskins are finished with FedEx for this season, but we do have one more football game travelers should be aware of. The Military Bowl (Air Force vs. University of Toledo) is scheduled for 4:30 p.m. Wednesday at RFK Stadium.
The nearest Metrorail stop is Stadium-Armory on the Blue and Orange lines, but the event may also generate extra afternoon and evening traffic on Interstate 295. Travelers who haven’t used I-295 this month should read the next item and be aware of the new traffic pattern at the 11th Street Bridge.
11th Street Bridge
The District Department of Transportation had hoped it might be able to open a second replacement span on the 11th Street Bridge shortly after the opening of the new inbound span this month. But department spokesman John Lisle said the second opening probably will have to wait for early January.
The earlier opening had been a long shot anyway, he said.
Meanwhile, drivers heading up Interstate 295 still are getting used to the new configuration as they approach the inbound span, the one heading toward downtown D.C. Traffic on northbound 295 now stays left to reach the bridge on a new alignment. Drivers who want to stay on 295 north toward Kenilworth Avenue use the center or right lanes.
Once drivers become familiar with the new pattern, they should find it’s a good thing, eliminating the need for many drivers to weave left or right to reach desired lanes.
Mormon Temple lights
Beltway drivers in Montgomery County get a brief glimpse of the Christmas lights display around the Mormon Temple. This is a very popular attraction each December. For those who want a longer look, the Festival of Lights is at 9900 Stoneybrook Dr., Kensington.
The display of a half-million lights is illuminated from dusk till 10 p.m. through New Year’s Day. From the Beltway, use Exit 33 (the Connecticut Avenue exit), go north to Beach Drive and turn right, then turn left onto Stoneybrook Drive. The visitor’s center is on the left. This is a residential neighborhood, but there’s lots of traffic at holiday time. Drive carefully.
On Friday, as many once again get out of work early for the New Year’s holiday weekend, Metro plans to add trains in the afternoon to help with the getaway.
On New Year’s Eve, rail service will operate as usual from 7 a.m. to 3 a.m. Normal service also is scheduled for New Year’s Day, followed by a repeat of the holiday service schedule — 7 a.m. to midnight — for Monday.
The SoberRide program is operating its annual holiday safety campaign for people in the D.C. area who have had too much to drink and shouldn’t drive home. Offered by the Washington Regional Alcohol Program through a network of cab companies, SoberRide will continue from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. each night through New Year’s Eve.
Adults who are at risk of driving while impaired can get a free ride home up to a $30 fare value by calling 800-200-TAXI (8294).