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The week ahead for traffic, transit

fourth lane Oct 29 2010.jpg
Drivers on I-95 in Northern Virginia have a new southbound lane. (Mike Salmon/VDOT)

Construction updates | Travel tips l Capital Weather Gang

It may be November, but there are still plenty of traffic and transit changes coming for commuters in the D.C. area. I-95 in Northern Virginia is wider, the timing of the reversible lanes is different, Metro is planning another big weekend shutdown. Here are some of the highlights.

I-95 lane opens
The fourth lane on southbound Interstate 95 is open from the Fairfax County Parkway to Route 1, although there will still be overnight lane closings in that area for milling and paving, says Mike Salmon, a spokesman for the Virginia Department of Transportation's Megaprojects office.

Reversible lane schedule
Beginning today, the Virginia Department of Transportation is making these changes to the scheduled for the I-95/395 reversible lanes:

Southbound lanes open until midnight: The reversible lanes will remain open to all southbound traffic until midnight Mondays through Thursdays. This pattern, put in place in July to ease delays from summer traffic and construction, is now permanent. VDOT says its traffic engineers determined that this schedule will continue to benefit motorists. The reversible lanes will re-open for northbound traffic at 2 a.m.

Northbound lanes open until 11 a.m: The reversible lanes will close at 11 a.m., instead of 10 a.m., Mondays through Fridays and will re-open to southbound traffic at 1 p.m., rather than noon. The schedule had been altered over the summer, because of the I-95 widening project.

There is no change to the HOV-3 schedule, which remains in effect from 6 a.m. to 9 a.m. and from 3:30 p.m. to 6 p.m., Mondays through Fridays.

Ohio Drive
The planned completion of the Ohio Drive reconstruction near the Lincoln Memorial has been pushed back two weeks, to Nov. 15.

Work on the middle of the drive is scheduled to be done next week, with the exception of the final asphalt and striping, the National Park Service says. The old traffic pattern is schedule to resume after the center phase is complete. At that point, the morning rush hour pattern will have both inbound and outbound traffic, with all lanes open. The afternoon pattern will return to four lanes outbound.

After completion of the center phase, the final asphalt and striping will be placed. So watch for full closures in both directions from 7 p.m. to 5:30 a.m. nightly. Work will consist of milling 1 to 2 inches of asphalt off the roadway that leads toward the
Kennedy Center. The final placement of asphalt and road markings is scheduled for the weekend of Nov. 12- 15, weather permitting.

Prince William signals
VDOT says motorists should notice smoother traffic flow on several major roads in eastern Prince William County where 75 signals have been adjusted to minimize delays. The signal network is updated every two years to keep pace with changing traffic patterns and demand.

The 75 signals are located along Prince William Parkway, Minnieville Road, Dale Boulevard and Smoketown Road which provide access to I-95, Potomac Mills and other retail, residential and office developments. Signals have four timing plans for weekdays -- morning rush, midday, afternoon rush and off-peak -- and four for weekends. Signal times for Saturdays are different than those on Sundays.

In addition to the traffic signals, engineers also rechecked and updated pedestrian timings at each intersection, VDOT says.

Rock Creek lane closings
Watch for off-peak lane closings this week along Rock Creek and Potomac Parkway from Calvert Street NW to Virginia Avenue NW and along all roads within Rock Creek Park. The closings, for guardrail inspections, are scheduled for 9:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Wednesday through Nov. 10, but they won't occur over the weekend.

Hunter Mill Road
Drivers who use Hunter Mill Road in the Reston area will experience significant delays overnight this week.

The road is scheduled to be closed at the Dulles Toll Road between 11 p.m. and 5 a.m. each weeknight.

During the closings, workers on the Dulles Metrorail project will install decking for a bridge that will carry tracks for the new Metrorail line in the median of the Dulles Toll Road over Hunter Mill Road.

Drivers going south on Hunter Mill Road will need to detour by turning right onto Sunset Hills Road, left onto Wiehle Avenue, then left onto Sunrise Valley Drive to reconnect with Hunter Mill Road.

Drivers heading north on Hunter Mill Road will be directed to turn left onto Sunrise Valley Drive, right onto Wiehle Avenue, then right on Sunset Hills Road to reach northbound Hunter Mill Road.

Metrorail weekend closing
The transit authority has scheduled another extensive shutdown on the Orange and Blue lines for this weekend.

The Orange Line's Minnesota Avenue, Deanwood, Cheverly, Landover and New Carrollton stations will be closed from 10 p.m. Friday through 5 a.m. Monday, Nov. 8. There will be no rail service in that zone. At the same time, no Blue Line trains will operate between Stadium-Armory and Benning Road. The Benning Road Station will remain open. Service should return to normal when the system reopens, although trains may operate at reduced speeds in portions of the work zone. See more details on the weekend work.

Ride On schedule changes
Montgomery County's Ride On bus system has announced a new schedule for Veterans Day, Nov. 11, as well as Martin Luther King Jr. Day on Jan. 17 and Presidents' Day on Feb. 21.

Because of county budget cuts and reduced ridership on those holidays, Ride On will provide fewer bus trips during the day on most routes but will maintain service on all routes.

Thirteen routes will not be affected by the special modified schedule and will operate on a regular weekday schedule with no changes. These are Routes 3, 4, 7, 32, 36, 44, 52, 63, 66, 67, 81, 93 and 98.

Chat about local travel

Join me at noon today for our weekly chat about traffic and transit issues in the D.C. area.

By Robert Thomson  | November 1, 2010; 9:15 AM ET
Categories:  Advisories, Commuting, Congestion, Construction, Metro  | Tags:  Dr. Gridlock, The week ahead  
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