Travelers may encounter heavy rain and possibly some roadway flooding in thunderstorms Friday night, the Capital Weather Gang says, but the sun will shine on the D.C. area for the rest of the weekend. This should be a quiet one, with many people already on vacation or on a getaway route. But there are a few travel obstacles to watch.
Metro weekend delays
Track maintenance this weekend will lead to delays on the Red, Blue and Yellow lines Friday night through Sunday.
Red Line: From 9:30 p.m. Friday through the midnight closing on Sunday, trains will share a track between Grosvenor and Twinbrook stations. Crews will be working on the platforms at White Flint and Twinbrook. Trains also will share a track between Takoma and Forest Glen, as workers upgrade train control rooms and install new emergency phones.
Trains will leave the ends of the line at Shady Grove and Glenmont about every 24 minutes, Metro said. Between 9 a.m. and 9 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, there will be additional service in the middle of the line, between Grosvenor and Fort Totten. In that section, trains will arrive at the platforms about every 12 minutes.
Blue/Yellow lines: From 10 p.m. Friday through Sunday’s closing, Blue Line trains will share a track between Stadium-Armory and Addison Road. Workers will be repairing the slabs underneath the rails.
Blue and Yellow Line trains will share a track between Braddock Road and the Van Dorn Street and Huntington stations while workers install new rail and make other fixes.
Blue Line trains will leave the ends of the line at Franconia-Springfield and Largo Town Center about every 24 minutes. Yellow Line trains will operate only between Huntington and Mount Vernon Square. Trains will arrive at the platforms about every 24 minutes.
I’ve received only positive reports from drivers about the I-95 toll plaza at Newark, Del., since the opening of the four new highway-speed E-ZPass lanes. They say the traditional bottleneck has opened up significantly. But the Delaware Department of Transportation warns that motorists still could encounter congestion at peak periods. Stay left to use the new E-ZPass lanes.
Best times to use the Chesapeake Bay Bridge for a weekend getaway: Friday before 10 a.m. and after 10 p.m., Saturday before 7 a.m. and after 5 p.m., Sunday before 11 a.m. and after 10 p.m.
To the Outer Banks: The Virginia Department of Transportation encourages drivers to use I-664 and the Monitor-Merrimac Memorial Bridge-Tunnel to save time. From I-664 south, take I-64 west to exit 292, Chesapeake Expressway/I-464/Route 17. Keep left to continue to the Chesapeake Expressway (Route 168), and take Nags Head/Great Bridge exit 291B to the Outer Banks.
I-95/395 reversible lanes: Many drivers planning summer getaways ask about the hours of operation on the special lanes south of the District. During weekday rush hours, the lanes are reserved for vehicles that meet the HOV-3 rules. They are closed to all traffic weekdays from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. and from midnight to 2 a.m. On Saturdays, they are closed from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m.
They are open to all traffic northbound from 9 to 11 a.m. and 2 to 6 a.m. weekdays, as well as from 4 p.m. Saturday to 6 a.m. Monday. They are open to all traffic southbound from 1 to 3:30 p.m. and 6 p.m. to midnight weekdays, as well as from 6 p.m. Friday to 2 p.m. Saturday.
Capital Beltway/Telegraph Road
From 9 p.m. Friday through Sunday night, one THRU lane of the Capital Beltway’s inner loop (I-95/495 South) will be closed from just west of Route 1 to the Telegraph Road interchange.
The other THRU lane and one LOCAL lane will remain open at all times. Drivers heading for the inner loop from Route 1 will be routed onto the LOCAL lane.
This road work zone, part of the Woodrow Wilson Bridge project, is likely to cause significant delays on the inner loop.
Detour near Fair Lakes Mall
Attention weekend shoppers: The Virginia Department of Transportation is detouring traffic on Fair Lakes Parkway near its busy junction with the Fairfax County Parkway, just east of the Fair Lakes Mall. VDOT is rebuilding the area into an interchange to improve traffic flow. The project is scheduled to be done in 2013.
The first phase of the detour prohibits through-traffic on the Fair Lakes Parkway at Fairfax County Parkway. Drivers will be directed from Fair Lakes Parkway south to Fair Lakes Circle and then back to Fair Lakes Parkway.
This phase, scheduled to last through the fall, will add five to 10 minutes to a trip through the area, VDOT estimates. The speed limit on Fair Lakes Parkway will be reduced from 45 mph to 35 mph. This does not block access to the Fair Lakes Mall, and the Fairfax County Parkway will remain open.
Maryland bridge inspection
From 4:30 to 11:30 a.m. Saturday, the Maryland State Highway Administration plans to conduct a routine bridge inspection at Route 121 over Interstate 270 in Montgomery County. That will close the two left lanes and the two right lanes on southbound I-270 at various times during those hours.
Branch Avenue/Pennsylvania Avenue
The temporary closing of Branch Avenue SE on either side of Pennsylvania Avenue SE is scheduled to continue through the weekend, ending by 5 a.m. Monday.
The District Department of Transportation is rebuilding the roadway for the Pennsylvania Avenue Great Streets Project. The department says this major road junction is so busy that the reconstruction can’t go on while Branch Avenue is open.
Drivers who normally use Branch Avenue in this area might consider these detours: At Randle Circle, turn onto Massachusetts Avenue SE heading east, then go right onto Alabama Avenue SE, then make a left onto Branch Avenue.
Northbound drivers on Branch Avenue in Maryland could turn right on Southern Avenue at the D.C. line and then make a left on Pennsylvania Avenue, or they could make a left on Massachusetts Avenue and go to Randle Circle.
Metro parking changes
This weekend, the reserved parking spaces in the Vienna South lot will be closed while workers install sensors as part of a pilot program to indicate when the lot is full. (In another part of the pilot program, drivers are now about to check by Web or mobile device on the availability of the meter parking spaces at Fort Totten.)
During the sensor installation at Vienna this weekend, plenty of parking will be available in the South Garage, North Garage and North Surface lot.
Meanwhile, public-private development projects along the Red Line have reduced parking at the Twinbrook and White Flint stations.
At Twinbrook, 53 spaces and part of the sidewalk adjacent to the west parking lot will be closed indefinitely for construction of the 424-space Metro West Garage.
Alternative Metro parking will be available at the Twinbrook east parking lot and the White Flint Metro parking garage. Pedestrians entering the area between Halpine Road and the station entrance will be routed to the west sidewalk along Chapman Avenue.
At White Flint, the north sidewalk along Marinelli Road will be closed intermittently for about seven months by office building construction. Pedestrians between the Metro parking garage and station entrance will be routed to the south sidewalk along Marinelli Road. The bus stops for Metrobus Route C8 and Ride-On Bus Route 81 will be relocated to the far side of northbound Rockville Pike and westbound Marinelli Road.
Meeting on Circulator bus expansion
The District Department of Transportation has scheduled a public meeting to discuss alternative proposals for a new D.C. Circulator bus route linking Union Station and the Navy Yard and extending east of the Anacostia River via the 11th Street Bridge.
The session is set for 7 to 8:30 p.m. Tuesday at the Southeast Neighborhood Library, 403 Seventh Street SE. The library can be reached via the Blue or Orange Line to Eastern Market or by Metrobuses 32, 34, 36, 39, 90, 92, 93, 96, 97, A42, A46, A48, V7 and V9.