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Posted at 7:45 AM ET, 11/29/2010

The week ahead for traffic, transit

By Robert Thomson

Construction updates | Travel tips l Capital Weather Gang

Commuters in the D.C. area will be sharing the roads today with many drivers returning from their Thanksgiving holidays, those who couldn't stand to deal with the Delaware toll plaza or other obstacles on Sunday. The region's highway departments will gradually put the orange cones back in place and the road work will resume. Join me at noon for our weekly online chat, and we'll review the holiday getaway and look forward to what December has in store.

Meanwhile, here's a look at some of the issues commuters will face this week.

L'Enfant Metro entrance
Metro has temporarily closed the L'Enfant Plaza Station entrance at Ninth and D streets SW through Dec. 8. There's a rehabilitation project in the promenade area adjacent to the entrance. Meanwhile, the entrances at Seventh Street and Maryland Avenue SW and Seventh and D streets SW remain open.

Lane shifts on H St.
The District Department of Transportation plans to shift lanes at the intersection of H and 8th streets NE beginning today to accommodate the reconstruction of the roadway and the installation of streetcar tracks along H Street.

The lane shifts will be in effect for about nine weeks. The 8th Street traffic across H Street will be maintained throughout this work, although it is likely to be slowed somewhat by the lane restrictions, DDOT says.

Traffic restrictions at the H Street intersection with 6th Street, originally scheduled to start last week, have been reset for Monday and Tuesday. From 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. each day, the 700 block of 6th Street, which is one-way northbound, will be available only to local residential traffic. Drivers can use 5th Street as an alternative.

Park and ride shrinking
Parking at Reston East Park and Ride on Wiehle Avenue north of the Dulles Toll Road is shrinking because of construction connected to the Dulles Metrorail project, which includes a station at Wiehle Avenue and Route 267.

The park and ride, which will be the site of a garage for the station, is scheduled to lose 200 of its 820 spaces in December.

This is just the preliminary utility work. By the time construction begins in earnest in March, all the spaces will be eliminated until the 2,300-space garage is done. The station is scheduled to open in 2013.

Rock Creek Parkway
The latest from the National Park Service about the reconstruction project: Access from the Calvert Street ramp to the southbound parkway is limited to the morning rush period. There is no access at all to the southbound parkway from the Cathedral Avenue ramp.

Road construction continues behind jersey barriers in the northbound lane of Shoreham Drive from Cathedral Avenue NW to Calvert Street NW. Between 6:45 a.m. and 9:30 a.m. Monday through Friday, traffic will be able to enter the Shoreham Drive/Calvert Street ramp (adjacent to the Shoreham Hotel) from southbound Connecticut Avenue at Calvert Street, and go south Rock Creek Parkway toward downtown Washington.

The Shoreham Drive/Calvert Street ramp will be closed to southbound traffic at all other times. Police will be present in the construction zone at all times to assist with traffic direction.

Starting at 9:30 a.m., traffic direction will be reversed to northbound on the Shoreham Drive/Calvert Street ramp. During all other times of the day, traffic will be able to
proceed northbound only on the ramp.

Cathedral Avenue: After 9:30 a.m., traffic will be able to go northbound only onto
Cathedral Avenue NW to Woodley Road and Connecticut Avenue, NW. There will be no access to the Shoreham Drive/Calvert Street ramp and the parkway from southbound Cathedral Avenue at all times during this phase of construction.

Ohio Drive
All traffic lanes have been reopened, and the old traffic pattern has resumed. The morning rush now has both inbound and outbound traffic with all lanes open and the afternoon rush now has four lanes outbound.

But work continues near the Lincoln Memorial. The National Park Service says that a problem was discovered with the traffic detectors near 23rd Street. They will need to be reinstalled. Also, pavement striping and installation of the raised pavement markers continues on Ohio Drive. Single daytime lane closings will occur between 10 a.m. and
3 p.m.

Shopper traffic
The Virginia Department of Transportation customizes signal timing plans at 16 shopping centers in Northern Virginia during the holiday shopping period.The goal is to give adequate time for drivers entering and exiting shopping centers while reducing traffic queues and keeping the main roads moving. Maryland uses a different system in which signals respond to current demand throughout the year. Still, the signals can't manufacture time and must be red for someone, so there will be periods when they are overwhelmed by holiday volumes.

There are many hot spots in the D.C. area for seasonal traffic. Besides Tysons Corner, Potomac Mills and Fair Oaks in Virginia -- to name just a few -- Maryland has Rockville Pike, Landover Road near the Boulevard at the Capital Centre, the Baltimore-Washington Parkway and Route 100 near Arundel Mills and I-295 and I-95 near National Harbor.

Beltway delays ahead
This weekend, the Woodrow Wilson Bridge project plans to narrow the Capital Beltway's inner loop from the Route 1 exit to just after Telegraph Road. This is likely to create a lot of congestion, and it would be best to take another route between Friday night and Sunday afternoon.

At 9 p.m. Friday, one of the two THRU lanes and one of the two LOCAL lanes in the area will be closed, leaving one THRU and one LOCAL lane open. Also, the inner loop exit for Telegraph Road South and the Telegraph Road South ramp to the inner loop will close.

Also worthy of note: The ramp from Telegraph Road North to the inner loop is set to close Friday night and remain closed for two weeks to allow work on an interchange bridge.

Burroughs Avenue project
The District Department of Transportation has broken ground for its latest Great Streets Project. This one will be along Nannie Helen Burroughs Avenue NE. The project, funded by federal stimulus money, includes reconstruction of the roadway and new sidewalks, traffic signals, streetlights and trees. Construction will start at Minnesota Avenue and proceed east toward Eastern Avenue. It should be done by March 2012.

Beltway/Little River Turnpike
From 11 p.m. Friday to 5 a.m. Monday, the Little River Turnpike (Route 236) westbound ramp to the Capital Beltway's inner loop (I-495 north) will close for installation of a water main. This is part of the High Occupancy Toll lanes construction project.

Detour: Continue west on Little River Turnpike, over I-495 and take the exit ramp onto I-495 south, stay to the right and follow the ramp around onto Little River Turnpike east back over I-495 and exit onto I-495 north.

Drivers on Little River Turnpike may encounter delays approaching the Beltway interchange, especially during peak day and evening hours

By Robert Thomson  | November 29, 2010; 7:45 AM ET
Categories:  Advisories, Commuting, Construction, Driving, Metro  | Tags:  Dr. Gridlock, The week ahead  
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I got to the Calvert Street ramp to Rock Creek Parkway by around 9:10 this morning, and it was already closed off to southbound traffic. The Park Service either needs to stop telling people that it's open until 9:30am or have the police officers keep it open until 9:30am. For now the two are not matching up.

Posted by: moni70 | November 29, 2010 10:31 AM | Report abuse

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