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The weekend and beyond

Travelers will enjoy a slight dip in temperatures Friday and Saturday, the Capital Weather Gang says, but the forecast keeps us in the low 90s well into next week. I'm planning to discuss hot Metro cars in Sunday's Dr. Gridlock column, but there are plenty of other traffic and transit issues you should be aware of for this weekend and next week.

Metro weekend delays
Maintenance on tracks, platforms and bridges will slow riders on the Blue, Orange and Red lines this weekend.

Blue/Orange: Riders between Court House and Foggy Bottom on the Orange Line and between Arlington Cemetery and Foggy Bottom on the Blue Line should add at least 40 minutes to their normal travel times from 10 p.m. Friday through the midnight closing on Sunday. Metro is replacing a rail switch at Rosslyn, and trains will share a track around the work zone.

Red Line: Riders between Shady Grove and Twinbrook should add at least a half hour to normal travel times from 10 p.m. Friday through the midnight closing Sunday. Workers will be repairing the deteriorated platform at Rockville, and trains will share a track around the work zone. This is part of the $177 million long-term rehabilitation project along the Red Line approved by the Metro board last year. I'll have more about this on the Commuter page in Sunday's Post.

Also affecting the Red Line is a maintenance project on the elevated tracks near Rhode Island Avenue. Riders should add at least 20 minutes to their normal travel times between New York and Rhode Island avenues from 10 p.m. Friday through the midnight closing Sunday.

On Saturday and Sunday, all Red Line trains will depart about every 15 minutes from Shady Grove and Glenmont, the ends of the line. Passengers between Grosvenor and New York Avenue should see trains arrive about every eight or nine minutes, Metro says.

Nats home this weekend
The Nationals play Friday and Saturday nights at 7:05 and Sunday at 1:35 p.m. in Nationals Park. (Stephen Strasburg is scheduled to pitch Friday night.) That will mean extra traffic around South Capitol and M streets, on the Southeast-Southwest Freeway and on the 11th and 14th street bridges. It also adds passengers to the Green Line, since Navy Yard Station is the closest to the ballpark. Parking at Metro lots and garages is free on Saturdays and Sundays, but Friday night, you pay.

We had a little discussion on the blog about which exit route to take after the game. One commenter made the sensible suggestion that drivers note which route has the most pedestrian crossings near the stadium and avoid that one.

Sunday bike race
The Capital Criterium bike race will close some streets and draw lots of cycling and pedestrian traffic to the downtown area along Pennsylvania Avenue NW on Sunday. The course is along Pennsylvania Avenue between 9th and 13th Street and up to F Street. Here's more about reaching the race on the Capital Criterium Web site.

The event begins at 8 a.m. and should be over by about 3:30 p.m., but some streets will be closed as early as 3 a.m. for the set-up and won't reopen till 5 p.m. These are the streets closed:
-- Pennsylvania Avenue NW from 9th Street to 14th Street.
-- E Street NW from 10th Street to 14th Street.
-- F Street NW from 11th Street to 14th Street.
-- 13th Street NW from Pennsylvania Avenue to G Street.
-- 12th Street NW from Constitution Avenue to G Street.
-- 11th Street NW from Pennsylvania Avenue to F Street.
-- 10th Street NW from Constitution Avenue to E Street.

HOT lane updates
Beltway/Braddock Road: Watch for a new traffic pattern starting Friday night on the Capital Beltway's inner loop near North Springfield. It will take a while for traffic to adjust to this lane shift.

But drivers will have plenty of time to do that: The pattern will remain in effect until late December as construction continues on the High Occupancy Toll lane project, the Virginia Department of Transportation says. Meanwhile, workers will rebuild the pavement between Heming Avenue and Braddock Road. Traffic will shift left into four lanes. The exit lane to the right onto Braddock Road will be shorter once the new pattern is in place.

That is scheduled to start happening at 9:30 p.m. Friday. Workers will begin to re-stripe the pavement and place construction barriers. Three lanes will be closed on the inner loop (I-495 north), leaving one lane open. The new traffic pattern should be in place by 7 a.m. Saturday.

Also beginning at 9:30 p.m. Friday, the Beltway inner loop (I-495 north) exit ramp to westbound Braddock Road (Route 620) is scheduled to close for relocation of utilities. This should last till 5 a.m. Monday. This could cause weekend congestion on the Beltway near the Braddock Road interchange.

Detour: Continue north on the Beltway to Exit 52A (Little River Turnpike west), stay to the right and follow signs for I-495 south (the outer loop). Then take Exit 54A (Braddock Road west).

Route 7/Beltway: Next week, the Virginia Department of Transportation plans to shift westbound Route 7 (Leesburg Pike) traffic onto a new bridge over the Beltway. The eastbound lanes will shift to the old Route 7 westbound bridge. All three lanes in each direction will still be available, but watch for delays approaching the intersection as workers prepare for the lane shift -- probably on Monday.

After the lane shift, overnight work will begin to demolish the old eastbound bridge. That will mean lane closings and detours on weeknights and weekends along Route 7 and on the Beltway starting about 9:30 p.m. Demolition work is likely to continue through mid-August, VDOT says. After it's done, work will begin on a new eastbound bridge and the future HOT lanes connection at Route 7.

Jones Branch Drive: Relocation of a sewer line on Jones Branch Drive is scheduled to begin next week. Jones Branch Drive will be reduced to one lane in each direction just after the Westpark Drive/Jones Branch Drive intersection to the southern entrance to the Gannett building in Tysons Corner.

Traffic stops on Route 7, near Route 9
Watch for daytime traffic stops for up to 15 minutes on Route 7 just west of the Route 9 interchange Monday through Friday. Virginia Dominion Power crews will be pulling wires across roadways during the stops. These are the time frames for the traffic stops: Monday between noon and 3:30 p.m.; Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday between 9 a.m. and 3:30 p.m., Friday between 9 a.m. and noon.

Dominion Virginia Power is building a 12-mile, high-voltage power line from a new substation northwest of Hamilton, near the intersection of Berlin Turnpike and Route 7, to a substation off Cochran Mill Road east of Leesburg. The wires cross state roads 15 times, so drivers will encounter delays through the summer. Here's the schedule from VDOT:
-- Mid-July: Stops on Route 7 near the interchange of Route 9, as noted above.
-- Late July-August: Stops on the Route 7 Bypass between Dry Mill Road and Route 15.
-- August-September: This is likely to be the busiest period for traffic stops. Workers will be stringing lines along Route 7 and the Route 7 Bypass between Route 15 and River Creek Parkway.

Dulles Metrorail
Dulles Access Road: Westbound traffic on the access road is going to be shifted to the right next week to accommodate construction on the Wiehle Avenue station in the median. The eastbound lanes have been shifted away from the work zone. The westbound shift is scheduled to begin overnight Wednesday, but it will be done in phases over two weeks starting at the Wiehle Avenue overpass.

I-66 lane closings: The left lane of eastbound I-66 will be closed between 9:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday, and between 9:30 a.m. and noon Friday.

Antietam Battlefield traffic
A popular destination for tourists from the D.C. area is about to encounter its own little traffic problem. Paving is set to begin next week on the tour roads through the Antietam National Battlefield in western Maryland.

The work, which involves resurfacing not only the roads but also the parking areas and the paved walkways, is scheduled to be done this winter. The National Park Service says the work will be done in phases so not all the roads are under construction at the same time and it will be easier for visitors to get around.

The battlefield park, site of the bloodiest day in U.S. history, will remain open, but some sections may be temporarily closed, the park service said.

New VRE crews
Riders will notice new train crews Monday as Keolis Rail Services America takes over operation of VRE after 18 years of Amtrak. If all goes as planned with the handoff, little else should be different for riders. The trains and schedules will remain the same.

By Robert Thomson  | July 9, 2010; 10:55 AM ET
Categories:  Advisories  | Tags:  Dr. Gridlock, The weekend and beyond  
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So what about the closing of the Dulles Toll Road under the beltway? I know it is not as important as paving a road at the Antietam Battlefield but some people returning from the Nationals game tonight may notice. I got to be surprised Thursday night.

Posted by: rodneyr1 | July 9, 2010 3:39 PM | Report abuse

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