Airline passengers headed to and from Reagan National Airport on Friday evening confronted traffic that they described as nightmarish chaos, amid a planned shutdown of Metro service to the airport.

Auto traffic seemed almost immobile, and passengers stood in seemingly unending lines for the shuttle buses that were to take them to or around the airport.

Frustrated and impatient travelers tried to reach the airport from Crystal City on foot.

“Traffic is gridlocked at the airport due to @wmata’s shutdown of 2 stations, including ours.,” the airport said on its Twitter feed.

It said Metro’s free shuttles were also “facing long wait times.”

Twitter feeds from individual travelers and commuters were even more vivid. “The situation at Pentagon City right now is chaos,” said one Tweet.

Another described goings on there as “bonkers.”

“Just got home from this nightmare,” read another Tweet, “The airport is teeming with stranded passengers. Roads are at a standstill and the sidewalks are filled with folks running from Crystal City to the airport to catch a flight.

The message called Metro’s actions unacceptable.

Metro said a mix of traffic and weather hampered shuttle bus operations. “We apologize,” it said.

Officials are urging travelers headed to Reagan National Airport this weekend to allow plenty of extra time.

There is no Metro service to the airport this weekend because of track work. That, combined with ongoing construction around Terminals B and C, could result in a traffic nightmare for many people.

Did we mention, it’s also a three-day weekend?

By Friday afternoon, there were already reports of heavy traffic in and around the airport. Rainy weather only added to the traffic issues. Airport officials were encouraging drivers to park rather than circle the airport.

The Metro closure means there will be no Yellow or Blue line trains running between the Braddock Road and Pentagon City stations. In addition, the National Airport and Crystal City stations will be closed. Shuttle bus service is being offered. Here are more details:

On Friday and Monday:

  • Blue Line trains will operate in two segments: between Franconia-Springfield and Braddock Road every 12 minutes during daytime hours and between Pentagon City and Largo Town Center every 12 to 16 minutes.
  • Yellow Line trains will operate in two segments: between Huntington and Braddock Road every 12 minutes during daytime hours and between Pentagon City and Mount Vernon Square every 12 to 16 minutes.
  • Buses will replace trains between Braddock Road, National Airport, Crystal City and Pentagon City. Additional Express shuttle buses will operate between Braddock Road and Pentagon City from 5 a.m. to 8 p.m. and between Franconia-Springfield and Pentagon from 5 a.m. to 8 p.m.
  • Blue and Yellow line customers may experience crowding because of less frequent service. Please allow additional travel time.

On Saturday and Sunday:

  • Blue Line trains will operate in two segments: between Franconia-Springfield and Braddock Road every 12 to 15 minutes during daytime hours and between Pentagon City and Eastern Market every 24 minutes all day.
  • Yellow Line trains will operate in two segments: between Huntington and Braddock Road every 12 to 15 minutes during daytime hours and between Pentagon City and Mount Vernon Square every 24 minutes all day.
  • Buses will replace trains between Braddock Road, National Airport, Crystal City and Pentagon City. Additional express shuttle buses will operate between Braddock Road and Pentagon City from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Saturday and from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Sunday.

Metro is recommending the following alternatives:

  • Free shuttle bus service will operate between Braddock Road, National Airport, Crystal City and Pentagon City.
  • Express shuttle bus service will operate between Braddock Road and Pentagon City from system opening until 8 p.m.
  • Express shuttle bus service will operate between Franconia-Springfield and Pentagon City from system opening until 8 p.m. Friday and Monday only.
  • Consider Metrobus or other local bus providers. 
  • Some customers traveling between Virginia and downtown Washington on Friday may want to consider VRE train service between Franconia-Springfield, Crystal City or King Street to L’Enfant Plaza or Union Station.

Metro is upgrading switches outside the National Airport station and has installed new concrete grout pads beneath the rails at the station. The work was originally scheduled to take place Nov. 2 through Monday, but was rescheduled for Veterans Day weekend to reduce the impact on commuters.