Travelers should find the weather a lot more friendly this week, with mostly clear skies and temperatures topping out in the 80s until a cool front arrives on Thursday, according to the Capital Weather Gang’s forecast.
Traffic is building up again, now that schools are in session, people have returned from summer vacations and Congress is back. I found that a 24-mile trip from Route 32 in Columbia to Wisconsin Avenue, in front of the Bethesda medical center, took 53 minutes last week. That was three minutes more than it took in August, but it felt a lot longer. The usual traffic bottlenecks on Route 32 approaching Interstate 95 and on the northeast side of the Capital Beltway seemed even more sluggish.
Here’s a look at some of the traffic and transit conditions likely to slow travels this week.
Dulles Toll Road/Beltway
Drivers will find a change this week in their least-favorite work zone. The Virginia Department of Transportation says the ramp from the eastbound Dulles Toll Road to the Capital Beltway’s inner loop is being moved slightly to the right to provide room for work on the ramp, part of the high-occupancy toll lanes project.
The ramp alignment is scheduled to remain until early 2012.
While VDOT made some changes in the work zone in response to drivers’ complaints in the spring, the transportation department says the construction at the Beltway interchange will continue to affect travel this fall and winter.
Eastbound drivers in particular are going to encounter overnight roadway closings and changing lane conditions, VDOT says. Drivers complain in particular about being squeezed on the left side of the Toll Road, just after the toll plaza. VDOT says the HOT lanes work at the interchange involves construction of 17 bridges in a tight area between two heavily used highways, making the project challenging for planners as well as drivers.
Silver Spring theater
The Fillmore concert hall on Colesville Road (Route 29) in Silver Spring is scheduled to open at 7 p.m. Thursday. That’s likely to increase traffic in the area around the Colesville Road/Georgia Avenue intersection.
There’s plenty of public parking nearby. The Montgomery County garages are free on evenings, weekends and county holidays. These are a few in easy walking distance:
The Wayne Avenue garage near the corner or Georgia Avenue and Wayne Avenue (free after 6 p.m.), the Town Square Garage on the northeast corner of Ellsworth Drive and Fenton Street (free after 6 p.m.) and the Cameron Garage, with entrances on Cameron and Spring streets (free after 7 p.m.)
The Silver Spring Metro station is just a couple of blocks away.
Rock Creek Parkway
Starting Tuesday, the trail under the P Street NW bridge will be closed to install new lighting conduit and build a new section of asphalt trail. Pedestrians will be detoured around the work zone, the National Park Service says.
Closings are scheduled in the parkway’s curb lanes between Virginia Avenue and Waterside Drive to install new pipes, re-point stone masonry walls, and upgrade the median guardrails.
On Friday, the Federal Highways Administration, which does this work for the park service, is scheduled to resume weekend closings of Beach Drive from the parkway north to Porter Street. Work will be completed no later than 4 a.m. each Monday, the park service said.
Calvert Street/Shoreham Drive, by the Shoreham Hotel, and Cathedral Avenue will be open to outbound (northbound) traffic only. Watch for detour signs.
The entry gate to the National Zoo on Beach Drive will be closed for during this weekend work. The main entrance on Connecticut Avenue and the Harvard Street NW entrance will be open.
Closure continues in the southbound curb lane of the parkway approaching Waterside Drive.
George Washington Parkway
Watch for right lane closings on the northbound George Washington Parkway between Spout Run Parkway and the First Overlook, where the National Park Service is repairing landslide damage.
The lane closings will occur between 10 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. weekdays. All lanes will remain open during rush hours, and at other times, at least one lane will be open in each direction.
Clara Barton Parkway
D.C. Water is working on an odor abatement project along the Clara Barton Parkway about three miles northwest of Chain Bridge. Watch for slow-moving construction vehicles entering and leaving the parkway in that area. The project is scheduled to end in spring 2012.
Maryland Beltway closings
Overnight lane closings are scheduled on the Capital Beltway in Silver Spring where the Maryland State Highway Administration is rehabilitating the Northwest Branch bridge.
Single and double lane closings can occur between 8 p.m. and 5 a.m. Sundays through Thursdays. Between midnight and 5 a.m. Mondays through Fridays, three lanes may be closed.
The highway administration also is beginning a resurfacing project on the Beltway between Route 29 and Seminary Road. Single lane closings can occur between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. weekdays. Double and triple lane closings may occur from 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. Sundays through Thursdays.
Another resurfacing project is underway on the inner loop between D’Arcy Road and Route 5 (Branch Avenue). From 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. and from 8 p.m. to 9 p.m. weekdays, single lanes may be closed. From 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. weekdays two lanes may be closed, and three may be closed between midnight and 5 a.m.
Falls Church lane closing
A portion of the far right northbound lane in the 400 block of North Washington Street in Falls Church will be temporarily closed to traffic between East Columbia and East Jefferson streets today through Friday. Turns onto East Jefferson from North Washington Street will be restricted. This closing will clear room for emergency repairs on an electrical pole.
Falls Church speed monitors
The City of Falls Church also plans to install electronic speed readout signs at 11 locations throughout the city starting today. The signs, familiar to drivers across the D.C. region, have an LED display screen, mounted on a single pole and powered by solar energy.
11th Street Bridge
The District Department of Transportation may close lanes during off-peak travel times on the 11th Street Bridge, nearby ramps, portions of I-295/DC 295 and local streets through Nov. 23 to accommodate the reconstruction of the bridge over the Anacostia River.
Metro weekend work
This weekend, there will be no Yellow Line service between Pentagon and L’Enfant Plaza stations. The transit authority says riders should transfer to Blue Line trains during this disruption, which was scheduled so crews can inspect the Yellow Line bridge over the Potomac River and performance maintenance on the bridge.