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Posted at 5:05 PM ET, 12/ 6/2010

The week ahead for traffic, transit

By Robert Thomson

Construction updates | Travel tips l Capital Weather Gang

[This post has been updated]

There's some cold holiday shopping and commuting coming up over the next week, but there's not much chance of precipitation. D.C. commuters will warm to boiling on Thursday afternoon, because of the congestion around the National Tree Lighting.

Many homes put up some spectacular holiday displays this past weekend, but don't let them distract your attention from the road ahead. The Capitals will crowd the Gallery Place area for 7 p.m. games at Verizon Center on Monday, Thursday and Saturday. The Wizards will be there on Friday night. Here are other potential sources of congestion.

Slug line returns
"Bob's Slug Line," one of the oldest of the informal carpooling centers in Northern Virginia, have moved back to its old spot at the north end of the new Park and Ride lot at 7039 Old Keene Mill Road, Springfield. The Park and Ride lot has 277 spaces. Fairfax County hopes that the property can eventually be redeveloped to include a 1,000-space commuter parking garage.

Pennsylvania Avenue SE
The District Department of Transportation has been shifting traffic patterns on Pennsylvania Avenue SE between 27th Street and Branch Avenue for paving work that is part of the city's Great Streets project.

Starting at 9:30 a.m. Monday, traffic will shift to the south side. One lane will be open in each direction until 3:30 p.m., when there will be two in each direction.

Madison Drive NW
The National Park Service rehabilitation project continues along Madison Drive on the north side of the National Mall. All the old asphalt has been removed and a new base has been put down. For now, all lanes are open to traffic and parking, but when the final layer of asphalt is put down, there may be occasional daytime closings of the entire drive for short distances. The work schedule will depend on the weather, but the Park Service hopes to have the project done by the middle of the month.

Prince William road work
The National Park Service has begun a rehabilitation project in Prince William Forest Park, north of Quantico. The first phase of construction involves single-lane closings on Scenic Drive and Oakridge Road through Friday, Dec. 10. The lane closings should occur between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m.

L'Enfant Metro entrance
The L'Enfant Plaza Metro station entrance at Ninth and D streets SW is closed through Wednesday. 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.

National Tree lighting
The National Christmas Tree Lighting, the one that each year destroys the holiday spirit of hundreds of D.C. commuters who get stuck in the resulting congestion during rush hour, is scheduled for 5 p.m. Thursday on the Ellipse, south of the White House.

Most drivers don't want to be anywhere near the area, but for those with tickets to the ceremony, the best bet is to take Metrorail to McPherson Square, Farragut North, Farragut West, Federal Triangle or Metro Center.

Ohio Drive
All traffic lanes have been reopened, and the old traffic pattern has resumed. 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. There will be overnight lane closings, between 9 p.m. and 5:30 a.m., and single lane closings between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. weekdays.

Beltway lane closings
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, Dec. 10, and Sunday afternoon, Dec. 12.

At 9 p.m. Friday, Dec. 10, 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, Dec. 10, and remain closed for two weeks to allow work on an interchange bridge.

Metrorail riders will encounter several delays this week as the transit agency conducts repairs and installs new equipment. Here's a roundup of what to expect:

Red Line
-- For travel between Shady Grove and Twinbrook stations add at least 30 minutes to your travel time after 10 p.m. each night through Thursday. Trains will be single-tracking as crews continue repairs to the deteriorated platform at Rockville Station.
-- Between Fort Totten and Silver Spring stations add at least 30 minutes to your travel time after 10 p.m. on Monday and Wednesday nights as crews conduct repairs beneath the rails. Trains will be single-tracking. Add 30 minutes between Takoma and Silver Spring stations on Thursday.
Blue Line
-- Between Stadium-Armory and Addison Road add at least 30 minutes after 10 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday as Metro replaces supports beneath the rails. Trains will be single-tracking.

Blue and Orange Lines
-- Between Eastern Market and Stadium-Armory add at least 30 minutes after 10 p.m. Monday and Tuesday as crews weld new rails onto the tracks. Trains will be single-tracking.

Orange Line
-- Travelers between Clarendon and Ballston stations should add at least 20 minutes to their trips after 10 p.m. Monday through Thursday as crews install cables to expand cellphone service in the Metrorail system. Trains will be single-tracking.

You can help us track cellphone performance in the Metrorail system by reporting your experiences on our map.

Report your Metrorail cellphone experience

By Robert Thomson  | December 6, 2010; 5:05 PM ET
Categories:  Commuting, Congestion, Construction, Driving, Metro, Transit  | Tags:  Dr. Gridlock, The week ahead  
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Dr. Gridlock,

The inner loop lanes of the beltway have been reduced to 2 lanes from 930am till 4 or so since Monday at the Telegraph Road Interchange. Why doesn't have any information on this on their website and why don't you know about it?

Posted by: vance1167 | December 8, 2010 3:18 PM | Report abuse

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