Travelers in the D.C. region will enjoy a mild and mostly dry week, the Capital Weather Gang says. That will be good for the very busy days coming up around the malls as shoppers prepare their packages for shipment. Drivers will need to be patient with each other’s behavior as well as with the work zones that remain.
A traveler who works in Tysons Corner, where there are plenty of shoppers, complained to me that drivers are blocking the box coming up Gosnell Road to get onto westbound Route 7. The Virginia Department of Transportation has adjusted the signal timing at many intersections around the Northern Virginia shopping areas to accommodate seasonal traffic, but they won’t compensate for impatient drivers.
Drivers across the region should watch for some changes in the long-standing work zones this week, and there are some new projects out there, too.
Nebraska Avenue project
The District Department of Transportation recently began a year-long reconstruction project on Nebraska Avenue NW. The project includes new curbs and pavement on Nebraska Avenue, Military Road and Broad Branch Road.
There will be new traffic signals and accessibility ramps at Nebraska Avenue and Military Road and at Nebraska and Nevada avenues. The sidewalks and storm drains will be repaired. During the project, D.C. Water will complete a valve upgrade on a 48-inch water main.
Military Road will be closed to eastbound traffic through the winter. Signs trace a detour route using Nevada and Nebraska avenues to carry the eastbound Military Road traffic around the construction zone. Nebraska Avenue will have at least one lane open in each direction throughout this period. Work hours are 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. weekdays.
South Dakota Ave./Riggs Road
In Fort Totten, the District Department of Transportation is closing the right-turn lane on eastbound Riggs Road NE that leads to South Dakota Avenue NE for two weeks starting today.
Access to South Dakota Avenue will remain open via the ramp on Riggs Road at the site of this interchange reconstruction project.
Tysons travel lanes
Workers on the high-occupancy toll lanes project have closed a lane at the top of the exit ramp from eastbound Route 7 to the Capital Beltway’s outer loop. This closing will remain into the new year.
A little farther north, on Route 123, drivers who use Tysons only for their major shopping excursions will be pleasantly surprised to find that the left lanes have been restored at the point where Route 123 goes under the Beltway.
Drivers heading from Tysons to the Beltway via Route 123 can once again use the right-hand ramp to go north on the Beltway’s inner loop rather than waiting at that left-turn signal.
Dulles Metrorail project
In the same area along Route 123, work continues on the Silver Line bridge over the Beltway. Several lanes in either direction on the Beltway may be closed overnights, they both loops will remain open to traffic. In some cases, a ramp may be closed and a detour established.
On the western side of Tysons, bridge construction in the median of Route 7 will close the Spring Hill Road and Westpark Drive/Gosnell Road intersections overnights through the end of the month.
The big yellow-and-blue construction truss that has been lifting and placing pieces of the aerial guideway in the median is approaching the Spring Hill Road intersection. The middle of the intersection will be closed overnights between 11 p.m. and 5 a.m.
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, and 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 Jan. 1. 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.
George Washington Parkway
Because of the rock stabilization project in the Rosslyn area, the northbound left lane of the George Washington Parkway is scheduled to close between 9:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. weekdays. One lane will remain open, the National Park Service says.
All lanes should be open between 5:30 a.m. and 9:30 a.m. and from 2:30 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. The park service is suggesting that drivers take Route 50 west, or exit the GW Parkway at Spout Run Parkway and take it to Route 29 south, then follow Interstate 66 west to reach the Beltway.
The stabilization project is scheduled to continue through the month.
Constitution Avenue NW
From 5:30 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. weekdays, expect to find up to two lanes closed in each direction on Constitution Avenue NW in the reconstruction zone between 23rd Street and 15th streets.
There’s no night work scheduled this week, but drivers may find the eastbound curb lane closed from 7 p.m. to 5 a.m. to protect other work between 23rd and 17th streets.
11th Street Bridge project
At off- peak hours, the District Department of Transportation closes many lanes around the construction site for the new 11th Street Bridge over the Anacostia River.
These closings are scheduled to begin tonight. The eastbound and westbound lanes of the Southeast/Southwest Freeway between 11th Street SE and Pennsylvania Avenue SE are scheduled to close overnights through Wednesday.
The Ninth Street SE entrance ramp to the eastbound freeway also will be closed during this time. Workers will be installing bridge girders over the freeway for one of the new spans.
The closings are scheduled to start at 10 o’clock each night and continue through 5 a.m. Drivers also will encounter a single lane closing on the northbound lanes of 11th Street SE between L and K streets during the same hours. Watch for detour signs.
The sidewalk will be closed on the northbound side of 11th Street SE between L and K streets. Use the other side.
Virginia travel times
Starting Monday, Dec. 12, , the Virginia Department of Transportation plans to expand the number of highway message boards displaying travel times to the stretch of Interstate 95 between Washington and Fredericksburg. The program began in August on I-66 between the Beltway and Gainesville.
The travel times on I-95 will be displayed on the overhead signs from 5 a.m. to 9 p.m. weekdays and from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. on weekends at these locations.
Northbound: At Route 234, with the travel time to the Capital Beltway; at Route 123, with the travel time to the Beltway; at the Fairfax County Parkway, with the travel time to the D.C. line.
Southbound: Near the Pentagon, with the travel time to the Beltway; before the Beltway, with the travel time to Route 123; near the Fairfax County Parkway, with the travel time to Route 234; near Lorton, with the travel time to Route 3 in Fredericksburg.
As we launch the holiday party season, the SoberRide program is about to launch its safety campaign. Offered by the Washington Regional Alcohol Program through a network of cab companies, SoberRide will operate from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. each night from Friday through New Year’s Eve.
Adults in the D.C. region 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).