The Washington Post

The weekend and beyond

Travelers in the D.C. area can look forward to a dry and mild weekend, though it will trend cooler by Sunday, the Capital Weather Gang says. As winter sets in, most of our activities will be indoors, but work continues on road projects and resumes on Metrorail.

Here’s a look at how some of that work could affect your local travel plans. Wizards fans heading for Verizon Center on Friday night and Sunday afternoon should pay particular attention to the Metro work schedule.

For road warriors, the main activity is likely to be on Route 29 in Gainesville and at the 11th Street Bridge over the Anacostia River.

Metro weekend maintenance

The transit authority is resuming its weekend track work following the break for the holidays. Here’s the plan for service adjustments, starting at 10 p.m. Friday and continuing through the train system’s midnight closing on Sunday.

Red Line: Trains will share tracks between Dupont Circle and Friendship Heights and between Takoma and Forest Glen. They will leave the ends of the line at Shady Grove and Glenmont every half hour throughout the weekend. But between 9 a.m. and 9 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, extra trains will operate between Fort Totten and Farragut North.

Blue/Orange lines: Trains will share a track between Smithsonian and Eastern Market. They will leave the ends of the lines about every 26 minutes. Through the inner part of the train system, where these two lines join, trains should arrive at platforms about every 13 minutes.

Green Line: Trains will share tracks between Georgia Avenue and Fort Totten and between Naylor Road and Branch Avenue. They will leave the ends of the line about every 15 minutes.

Yellow Line: Trains will operate every 15 minutes to align schedules with Green Line trains, which share a tunnel through the District.

Constitution Avenue

From 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday, expect two lanes in each direction on Constitution Avenue NW to be closed between 17th Street and Virginia Avenue for the National Park Service roadway rehabilitation. Also, two lanes may be closed in each direction at 15th Street for Pepco inspections.

11th Street Bridge

The District Department of Transportation hopes to open the second span of the new 11th Street Bridge this weekend. This will take traffic away from downtown D.C. The new inbound span opened in mid-December.

I’ll have more about the year ahead for the 11th Street Bridge on Sunday’s Commuter page in The Post, but here’s a key thing: Drivers coming from downtown D.C. who are heading to neighborhoods just east of the Anacostia River will need to remember that this new outbound span has a new traffic pattern designed for through traffic, not local traffic.

Until the new local span opens this summer, they will need to use one of several detours:

— Exit the freeway at the Sixth Street SE ramp, continue east on Virginia Avenue SE, turn right on Eighth Street SE, then left on M Street SE and then right on 11th Street SE and onto the old outbound bridge. On the east side, drivers will use new bridges over I-295 and the railroad tracks to reach Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue SE.

— Exit the freeway at South Capitol Street, take the Douglass Bridge over the river, continue to Suitland Parkway, turn left on Firth Sterling Avenue SE, turn right on Howard Road SE.

— Continue on the new outbound freeway river bridge to southbound I-295 and exit at Howard Road SE.

— Continue eastbound on the freeway to Pennsylvania Avenue and take the Sousa Bridge to Minnesota Avenue.

Metrobus detours

Several Metrobus routes will detour between 8 p.m. and 5 a.m. daily through Jan. 27 to accommodate work on the 11th Street Bridge project.

Routes 90, A42, A46, A48, P2, P6 toward Anacostia: Buses will use Howard Road SE from I-295 south to Anacostia station.

Routes B2, U2 toward Anacostia: Buses detour between 17th Street SE and Minnesota Avenue SE and Martin Luther King Jr Avenue SE and Morris Road SE.

Route 92 toward Congress Heights: Buses detour between I-295 south and Howard Road SE and 13th Street SE and Good Hope Road SE.

Route 93 toward Congress Heights: Buses detour between Howard Road SE at I-295 south and Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue SE before resuming regular route on Morris Road SE.

Cleveland Park elevator

The entrance elevator at Metrorail’s Cleveland Park station is scheduled to go out of service Friday for a modernization project that will continue through May.

Shuttle bus service will be provided to or from the Woodley Park station for people who can’t use Cleveland Park without the elevator in operation. Riders also could choose to travel via Metrobus routes L1, L2 or L4 between Cleveland Park and Woodley Park.

Route 29/Linton Hall Road

Avoid Route 29 and Linton Hall Road in Gainesville on Saturday and Sunday. This is the site of a major project in which the Virginia Department of Transportation is separating the roadways and the train tracks to ease a notorious bottleneck.

This weekend, construction crews are scheduled to shift traffic onto the recently completed detour roads. From 7 a.m. Saturday till noon Sunday, just one of two lanes in each direction will be open on Route 29 between Interstate 66 and Virginia Oaks Drive.

Left turns will be prohibited at Route 29 and Linton Hall Road, so drivers will be allowed to make u-turns at Heathcote Boulevard and Virginia Oaks Drive. Police will be there to help with traffic control, but the best thing to do is pick an alternative route in one is available.

To avoid Route 29 through Gainesville, drivers going south could go west on Interstate 66, then south on Route 15. Drivers going north could take northbound Route 15 to eastbound I-66.

Once traffic is moved onto the detour roads at the end of the weekend, construction will begin on two overpasses. One will carry Route 29 over the railroad tracks. The other will take Linton Hall Road and Gallerher Road over Route 29 and the tracks.

The project also will widen Route 29 to six lanes from I-66 to Virginia Oaks Drive. It’s scheduled to be done in the middle of 2015.

Good Hope Road/MLK Avenue

The District is closing the intersection of Good Hope Road and Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue SE and the inbound ramp to Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue from 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. through Jan. 27. The closings clear room to complete signal installations at the intersection.

Drivers heading north on Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue will be detoured onto W Street SE, then to 13th Street SE and onto Good Hope Road east of the closing. Drivers heading west on Good Hope Road will be detoured along 14th Street SE to W Street SE and then to Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue south of the closing.

While the inbound ramp to Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue is closed, drivers will detour to southbound I-295, then onto Howard Road SE and back to Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue.

Third Street Tunnel

The District Department of Transportation plans to close single lanes on the southbound ramp from the Third Street Tunnel to South Capitol Street SE at off peak hours through Thursday. Crews will be working under the Southwest-Southeast Freeway.

The closings will continue from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. each day.

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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