The Washington Post

The weekend and beyond

[This post has been updated]

It may be a lazy August weekend for many in the D.C. region, but it’s a busy one on the roads and rails. Metro is shutting part of the Red Line, the Wilson Bridge project plans to shut part of the Capital Beltway’s Telegraph Road interchange and the District plans to shut Chain Bridge.

Meanwhile, the Capital Weather Gang’s forecast includes a chance of thunderstorms each afternoon and evening through Monday, but the heat won’t be excessive.

Weekend on Metro

The transit authority plans to shut five stations on the eastern side of the Red Line this weekend, from 10 p.m. Friday through the train system’s midnight closing Sunday. 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. Add about 45 minutes to normal travel times through the work area.

Also, 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. Add about 20 minutes to your normal travel times.

Weekend closings on Chain Bridge

The District Department of Transportation plans to close Chain Bridge on some weekends starting this 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 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 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.

Beltway/Telegraph Road

Work on the Wilson Bridge project is 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.

Gainesville traffic delays

The Virginia Department of Transportation plans to close one of two lanes in each direction on Route 29 in Gainesville between I-66 and Linton Hall Road from 8 p.m. Saturday till 2 p.m. Sunday. One lane in each direction will remain open for the half-mile stretch. Alternatives to Route 29: Use I-66 and Route 15.

Beltway/Little River Turnpike

By midday Friday, the new westbound Little River Turnpike (Route 236) bridge over the Capital Beltway is scheduled to be open, allowing two lanes of through traffic and restoring the merge lane from the inner loop onto westbound Little River Turnpike, the Virginia Department of Transportation said.

Lane closings will continue in the area as workers complete ramps and other structures for the new high occupancy toll lanes.

Baltimore Beltway closings

The Maryland State Highway Administration plans to close ramps and detour traffic from Interstate 95 to the Baltimore Beltway’s inner loop from 11 p.m. Sunday to 5 a.m. Monday.

Overnight travelers on I-95 going to the inner loop (westbound I-695) will be diverted to the outer loop (eastbound I-695) to Exit 9, for Hollins Ferry Road. Travelers will use the Hollins Ferry Road interchange back to westbound I-695.

The temporary ramp closures and detours are part of the highway administration’s project to widen and reconfigure the I-95 ramps to westbound I-695 in southwestern Baltimore County.

Road blocked in Piscataway

The Maryland State Highway Administration is closing off Route 223 (Floral Park Road) where it meets Livingston Road in Piscataway in Prince George’s County. The highway administration said this is being done for safety, and to ease traffic congestion in that area. Traffic will now use Piscataway Road to Livingston Road, which is slighter wider and has lanes compatible for bike use. The Piscataway Road intersection is just south of Floral Park Road.

New travel time signs

Starting Monday, drivers on Interstate 66 will see travel times displayed on electronic message boards between Gainesville and the Capital Beltway, the Virginia Department of Transportation said.

These signs will be similar to the ones that Maryland drivers see on highways. The signs name a destination, then display the mileage and the estimated travel time. The information is easy to take in at a glance and is one of the best uses for the message boards.

VDOT is starting with three signs on I-66 as a two-month pilot project, testing both the system and drivers’ responses. Look for the signs next week at these locations:

— Eastbound I-66, just east of Route 28, showing the time to the Beltway.

— Westbound I-66, just west of Route 50, showing the time to Gainesville.

— Westbound I-66, just west of Route 7100, showing the time to Gainesville.

The signs will operate from 5 a.m. to 9 p.m. weekdays and 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. weekends.

I-70/South Street

The Maryland State Highway Administration plans to shift traffic on eastbound Interstate 70 at South Street in Frederick beginning Wednesday. The following week, the traffic on westbound I-70 will be shifted.

Workers will use barrier walls and new pavement markings to help create the shift onto the shoulders. The highway administration said the shift will provide room for equipment and workers as they build a new through lane adjacent to the right lanes along both eastbound and westbound I-70.

Memorial motorcycle ride

The Sept. 11 memorial motorcycle ride is scheduled to pass through the D.C. region this weekend as the cyclists visit the memorial sites at Somerset, Pa., the Pentagon and New York.

The organizers are anticipating about 3,000 participants, so this is likely to cause heavy traffic congestion in Northern Virginia on Friday afternoon, despite police escorts. Drivers starting a vacation trip on Friday or Saturday should take special note.

These are highlights of the route, with estimated times developed by the organizers, America’s 911 Foundation.

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 Route 110 to Pentagon. [This is the part that’s likely to cause severe traffic congestion for eastbound drivers on the Dulles Toll Road and I-66 inside the Beltway on Friday afternoon.]

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.

Metrobus service Friday afternoon

The transit authority notes that as the motorcycle riders travel to the Pentagon on Friday afternoon, I-66 eastbound from the Beltway to Route 110 and Route 110 southbound from I-66 to the Pentagon will be shut from about 2 to 4 p.m. Metrobuses traveling to or near the Pentagon and Crystal City will probably be delayed.

Route 5A will provide service from all regular bus stops to and from Dulles International Airport. Extra buses will be added to the 5A route to compensate for the delays, but riders should allow plenty of extra time for their trips.

Ridership is likely to be heavier than normal, because Washington Flyer plans to suspend service during the afternoon.

Washington Flyer service

The airport bus service made this announcement:

Service from Dulles Airport will be suspended from 12:15 p.m. Friday to about 6 p.m. Service from West Falls Church Metro station will be suspended from 1:45 p.m. Friday to about 7 p.m.

Fairfax Connector delays

Because of the motorcycle ride Friday afternoon, the Fairfax Department of Transportation anticipates heavy congestion on many of its roadways. The Fairfax Connector service is making temporary adjustments.

West Falls Church Metro station. To transport the most passengers, trips will operate at capacity. About 20 buses will be staged at West Falls Church to begin afternoon service at 3 p.m.

Routes 425 and 427 will operate to and from the Metro south-side bus bays. Routes 505 and 555 will operate a normal route but will make a final stop at the Herndon-Monroe Park and Ride. Routes 950 and 980 will operate a normal route, carrying the balance of Fairfax Connector passengers to Herndon-Monroe Park and Ride, where buses for routes 551, 552, 553, 554, 557, 585, 951 and 952 will be waiting to transport passengers along their normal routes.

A shuttle will operate between Herndon-Monroe Park and Ride and Franconia-Springfield Metro station via the Fairfax County Parkway between 2:30 and 7 p.m.

Crystal City and Pentagon Metro stations. Routes 595 and 597 will not operate Friday afternoon. Passengers can take the Orange Line to West Falls Church, where they can board Route 505 to Reston North Park and Ride.

Route 380D will operate between Franconia-Springfield and Backlick North and Gambrill Road Park and Ride lots.

Vienna Metro Station: Approximately 20 buses will be staged at the Vienna Metro Station to begin afternoon service at 4 p.m. The following nine routes will operate from Vienna Metro Station:

Routes 462, 463 and 466 will operate a normal route with significant delays.

Routes 621, 622 and 623 will use local roads to operate service between the Fairfax County Government Center and the Vienna Metro Station.

Routes 632, 642 and 652 will carry the balance of Fairfax Connector passengers to Stringfellow Road Park and Ride where buses for routes 631, 641 and 651 will be waiting to transport passengers along their normal routes.

Route 644 passengers should board Route 642 buses.

Robert Thomson is The Washington Post’s “Dr. Gridlock.” He answers travelers’ questions, listens to their complaints and shares their pain on the roads, trains and buses in the Washington region.



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