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The week ahead for traffic, transit

Construction updates | Travel tips l Capital Weather Gang

The commute is going to get hotter and stickier over the next several days, with a chance of late thunderstorms today and Tuesday. Despite the declining traffic of the late-August vacation season, travelers will encounter many delays, traffic shifts and lane closings in the D.C. area.

I-66 disruption
All lanes of Interstate 66 will be stopped periodically overnight just west of Gainesville for up to three nights starting tonight, the Virginia Department of Transportation says.

Traffic will be stopped twice for up to 15 minutes each time between 9 p.m. and 4 a.m. Monday and Tuesday nights. The work may be completed by then, but if not, Wednesday night is the backup. The stops will allow Virginia Dominion Power crews to pull wires across the highway. This is a continuing project to build a long-distance power line, so watch for updates about further road closings into September.

New York Avenue
The District Department of Transportation plans to create a new traffic pattern on New York Avenue NE near the Ninth Street Bridge beginning today. The longstanding work zone will shift from the inbound curb lane to the second inbound lane. The second lane will be closed at all times during this phase of the bridge rebuilding project. The curb lane will be open only during the morning rush. Watch for the traffic signs that DDOT will post to guide drivers through the zone.

The second inbound lane should reopen by mid-September. Then the work zone will be shifted to the third inbound lane. The new bridge is scheduled to open in late January. When it's done, the old bridge will be demolished. The entire project should be done by May. See a map.

HOT Lanes
The Oak Street Bridge over the Capital Beltway is reopening and the nearby Idylwood Road Bridge is closing. Oak Street will reopen before Idylwood is closed, which could happen as early as Monday. The two-lane Idylwood Road Bridge will be demolished and rebuilt, a project scheduled to last until late this year or early in 2011. Idylwood Road traffic will be directed to use either Leesburg Pike (Route 7) to Gallows Road or Lee Highway (Route 29) to Gallows Road.

For the next two weeks, Beltway drivers should watch for weeknight and weekend lane closings near the Idylwood Road overpass south of Tysons Corner from 9:30 p.m. through 5 a.m.

The bridges along a 14-mile stretch of the western side of the Beltway in Virginia are being widened to accommodate the four extra Beltway lanes needed for the High Occupancy Toll lane project. See a map.

Foggy Bottom escalators
Half of the Metro station's escalators should be back in action today, according to Metro's schedule. That's progress, considering that all six between the platform and the mezzanine and between the mezzanine and 23rd Street NW were out on Friday. The middle escalator in the bank of three between the street and mezzanine is the one scheduled to be out the longest. It's undergoing a major rehab scheduled to last till the end of August.

SmarTrip card readers
If you notice that it's taking longer to go through the fare gate with a SmarTrip card, it's not the card. It's the card reader in the fare gate. Hold the card against the circular SmarTrip card reader a beat longer than you used to before the orange barriers part. Metro has reprogrammed the readers to allow SmarTrip to do more things, such as allowing you to add the value of a pass, but that means the reader and card take longer to exchange information.

Last week, people who park at some Metro lots and garages reported that they were having difficulty using their SmarTrip cards at the parking exits. Has that happened to you?

Ohio Drive
We're in the second phase of a project scheduled for final completion in late October. This current phase involves work on the outbound lanes. The third phase, now scheduled to start in late August and continue till late September, will tackle the inbound lanes.

During these phases, the morning rush traffic on Ohio Drive will remain inbound only. (Westbound Independence Avenue is closed beyond 17th Street, and traffic is detoured onto 15th or 17th streets.) For the afternoon rush, Ohio Drive is outbound only. From 7 p.m. to 5:30 a.m., there are full closings of the drive.

16th Street NW/Meridian Hill
The National Park Service is repairing the 35-foot wall alongside Meridian Hill Park, creating a 600-foot-long work zone that will spill out into busy 16th Street NW. A lane shift is scheduled to be installed Aug. 23, but drivers should see information signs in the area now. Repairs are scheduled to take three months.

Beltway/Eisenhower Avenue
On Monday night, work on the new ramp from the Capital Beltway's outer loop to Eisenhower Avenue will require lane closures on the Beltway. The outer loop will narrow down to one lane and the inner loop to two lanes. The lane closings will start at 9 p.m. and all of them will be in effect by 10 p.m. This work is part of the Wilson Bridge project.

Beltway/Telegraph Road
Paving for the Telegraph Road interchange project will require the closing of the ramp from the inner loop's Local lanes to Telegraph Road North/Pershing Avenue starting at 9 p.m. Friday and continuing through 5 p.m. Saturday. This also is part of the Wilson Bridge project.

DC 295 bridge
The District Department of Transportation has opened the new pedestrian bridge over D.C. 295. The bridge over the highway provides a link between Anacostia High School and the Anacostia pool and fitness center.

At the same time, the transportation department ended its temporary shuttle service between the school and the center.

Route 50 repairs
The Maryland State Highway Administration is patching nine miles of Route 50 (John Hanson Highway) between the Anne Arundel County line and the Capital Beltway in Prince George's County. This section of the highway carries an average of 210,000 vehicles a day, and the pavement is cracking. The patching is scheduled to be done by Labor Day.

SHA is closing one or two lanes overnight, which will cause traffic delays even with the lighter overnight volume. The HOV lane restrictions will be lifted during work hours only.

-- Westbound Route 50: single lane closures overnight Mondays through Fridays between 9 p.m. and 5 a.m., with double lane closures between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m.
-- Eastbound Route 50: single lane closures Sundays through Thursdays between 9 p.m. and 5 a.m., with double lane closures between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m.

Continuous double lane closures are scheduled for the weekends of Aug. 20 and Aug. 27.

By Robert Thomson  | August 16, 2010; 5:59 AM ET
Categories:  Advisories  | Tags:  Dr. Gridlock, The week ahead  
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Next: Georgia Ave blocked in Silver Spring


"Last week, people who park at some Metro lots and garages reported that they were having difficulty using their SmarTrip cards at the parking exits. Has that happened to you?"

No, but at West Falls Church on Thursday and Friday the exit gates were up, allowing everyone to exit the garage for free. Perhaps this was due to SmarTrip problems?

Posted by: FeelWood | August 16, 2010 8:39 AM | Report abuse

Nice try, but all escalators at Foggy Bottom continue to be out as of this morning. At around 8am, took me 10-15 minutes just to get out of the station with the long lines queued up to hike up the non-working escalators. Now, while the best answer is for metro to get its act together and fix at least one of these the meantime folks, when it's like this have a little common courtesy, ok? If you see that people have actually lined up and are proceeding in an orderly manner, know that it's going to p**s some of us off if you just decide to avoid all that, walk up to the front of the line and shove your way in. You know who you are. Not cool.

Posted by: vickistired | August 16, 2010 9:31 AM | Report abuse

As long as you wusses let them cut, they'll cut.

Metro's so-called "workers" will just stand there and laugh.

Posted by: jiji1 | August 16, 2010 9:42 AM | Report abuse

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