By the calendar, this week should be about as good as it gets for the D.C. region’s commuters, with Congress gone, schools still closed and many people who normally fill the roads and rail cars away on vacation.
But the aftermath of the weekend’s storms and the rain that dominates the Capital Weather Gang’s forecast for most of the week could dampen commuters’ enthusiasm.
Toward the weekend, road and transit work will provide some travel disruptions. Meanwhile, several thousand motorcyclists will pass through the area as they participate in a Sept. 11 memorial ride.
Here are some highlights on what to watch for this week.
The Washington Nationals return Tuesday for a long homestand at Nationals Park, continuing through Aug. 25. The games are all 7:05 p.m. starts, except for Sunday’s 1:35 p.m. start.
Games often bring extra traffic to the area around M and South Capitol streets, and to the 14th and 11th Street bridges. Metro’s Green Line, which serves the Navy Yard station, closest to the stadium, and the transfer points at L’Enfant Plaza and Gallery Place also will see extra crowding.
Weekend on Metro
The transit authority plans to shut five stations on the eastern side of the Red Line this weekend. Buses will replace trains between Fort Totten and Glenmont during the maintenance project. The Takoma, Silver Spring, Forest Glen, Wheaton and Glenmont stations will be closed. Also next weekend, Orange Line trains are scheduled to share a track between Vienna and West Falls Church, and Blue Line trains will share a track between Stadium-Armory and Addison Road, and between Arlington Cemetery and Pentagon City to clear work zones for other maintenance projects.
Memorial motorcycle ride
A Sept. 11 memorial motorcycle ride is scheduled to pass through the D.C. region this weekend as the cyclists head to the memorial cites at Somerset, Pa., the Pentagon and New York.
The organizers are anticipating about 3,000 participants, so this is likely to cause traffic congestion. Drivers starting a vacation trip on Friday or Saturday should take special note.
These are highlights of the route, developed by the organizers, America’s 911 Foundation.
9:45 a.m. Thursday: From New Jersey on Interstate 78 to I-76 to Somerset, Pa.
8:45 a.m. Friday: East on I-68 from Cumberland, Md., to I-70 to Exit 28 for Hagerstown.
12:30 p.m.: I-70 east to exit 52A, for Rout 15/340 south.
2 p.m.: Arrive at Leesburg, then take the Dulles Greenway and the Dulles Toll Road east to I-66 to Route110 to Pentagon
6:45 a.m. Saturday: Leave the Pentagon for I-395 north to I-295 to the Baltimore Washington Parkway to I-95 north to the Maryland House rest area.
9:30 a.m.: Leave Maryland House on I-95 north to Delaware
1:15 p.m.: Leave from Mike’s Famous, the restaurant near the Delaware Memorial Bridge, and take I-95 to I-295 across the bridge into New Jersey to Exit 57B for Route 130 to Route 1/9 to Linden, N.J.
7 p.m.: Leave Linden via Route 1/9 to the Holland Tunnel entering Manhattan.
9 a.m. Sunday: Arrive at 50th Street and Seventh Avenue and ride to the World Trade Center site, ending at 11 a.m.
Weekend closings on Chain Bridge
The District Department of Transportation plans to close Chain Bridge on some weekends starting this coming weekend and continuing into December for repairs under the bridge deck.
DDOT said most of the repair project was finished in spring 2010. The rehabilitation project got started in spring 2009. Drivers remember that well from the lengthy period of weekday lane closings and the full closings on some weekends.
The additional work, which gets started Monday and is to continue through Dec. 23, does not include a schedule of weekday closings. But during the designated weekends, the Potomac River bridge will close at 8 p.m. Friday and reopen by 5 a.m. Monday
These weekend closings will be complete shutdowns. There will be no access to the bridge from either the District or Arlington for drivers, cyclists and pedestrians. Canal Road will remain open, but drivers won’t be able to turn onto Chain Bridge.
The nearest alternative routes across the Potomac are the American Legion Bridge to the west and the Key, Roosevelt, Memorial and 14th Street bridges to the east.
After this coming weekend, the shutdowns will follow this schedule: Sept. 9-11, Sept. 16-18, Sept. 30-Oct. 2, Oct. 7-9, Oct. 21-23, Oct. 28-30, Nov. 18-20, Dec. 2-4, Dec.16-18.
The Virginia Department of Transportation has opened the new northbound Gallows Road (Route 650) bridge over the Capital Beltway, part of the high occupancy toll lanes project, which includes the widening of the bridges and overpasses on the western side of the Beltway. With the opening, the bridge now has two lanes of traffic in each direction. Access to the inner loop has been restored. That includes the left turn lane and traffic signal from southbound Gallows Road.
Lane closings before the bridge will continue, as crews work on the curbs and gutters along southbound Gallows Road until late August. Leading up to the bridge, southbound traffic will have one through lane, and the right lane will continue onto the outer loop, until the curb and gutter work is done. At that point, traffic will have two through lanes approaching the bridge on southbound Gallows Road.
Another phase of the bridge reconstruction work for the HOT lanes also has wrapped up: The new eastbound Braddock Road bridge over the Beltway allows two lanes for through traffic and restores the merge lane from the outer loop onto eastbound Braddock Road.
The restored merge lane will provide an extended merge area on the bridge. Workers will remove the traffic signal that was on the ramp. Lane closings in the Braddock Road area will continue while crews complete ramps and do other work for the new HOT lanes connection, the Virginia Department of Transportation said.
I-95 lane closings
Monday through Thursday nights for the next three weeks, nighttime drivers are likely to encounter delays on southbound Interstate 95 in the Lorton area, where the Virginia Department of Transportation will close lanes for pavement work.
From 9 p.m. to 5 a.m, three lanes between Exits 161 and 163 are scheduled to close. The I-95 high occupancy vehicle lanes will be open southbound to all traffic from 6 to midnight each night. The closings will be repeated Aug. 22-25 and Aug. 29-Sept. 1.
The District Department of Transportation plans to close lanes overnight on the Potomac Freeway between Ohio Drive and the Whitehurst Freeway starting Monday. The closings, from 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. nightly, will create safe work zones for a milling and resurfacing project.
One lane in each direction will be open at all times during these rotating lane closings, which are scheduled to be done by Sept. 15.
Rock Creek Parkway project
For one week starting Tuesday, the southbound lane of Waterside Drive to southbound Rock Creek Parkway will be closed to through traffic at Massachusetts Avenue for pavement reconstruction.
On those days, access to southbound Waterside Drive will be for local residents only. Detour signs will be posted, and delays are likely around there. The parkway’s northbound curb lane curb lane between Virginia Avenue and P Street is scheduled to be closed so workers can replace pipes and small sections of pavement.
The Wilson Bridge project has provided some advance word on work that’s very likely to cause extra traffic congestion this weekend on the Capital Beltway at the Telegraph Road interchange..
9 p.m. Friday to Saturday afternoon: Lanes are scheduled to be closed on the inner loop between Route 1 and Telegraph Road to realign the LOCAL lanes. One lane will remain open, but it will be temporarily shifted to the ramp until the realignment is completed.
The ramp from the outer loop to Telegraph Road North/Duke Street/Eisenhower Avenue will be closed. Detour: Continue on I-95 and take the ramp to the Eisenhower Connector (Exit 174) to eastbound Eisenhower Avenue to Holland Lane to Duke Street.
Access to the inner loop’s LOCAL lanes from Route 1 will be blocked. Drivers will have to use the THRU lanes.
9 p.m. Friday to 5 a.m. Monday: Northbound Telegraph Road will be closed for road construction from just after the ramp to Eisenhower Avenue to the bridge over the Metrorail tracks.
Drivers going north to Duke Street should take the ramp to Eisenhower Avenue and turn right to the traffic circle to Holland Lane to Duke Street. The ramp from Telegraph Road North to the outer loop will be closed. Detour: Take Huntington Avenue east to Route 1 north to the outer loop.
The ramp from northbound Telegraph Road to the inner loop will be closed. Detour: Take the ramp to Eisenhower Avenue and turn left to the Eisenhower Connector to the inner loop.
9 p.m. Saturday to 5 a.m. Monday: Telegraph Road South will be closed from Duke Street to Huntington Avenue. Telegraph Road North will be closed from just after the ramp to Eisenhower Avenue to Duke Street.