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Posted at 9:10 AM ET, 01/12/2011

Big weekend project on Va. Beltway

By Robert Thomson

If you're going to be traveling in the D.C. area this holiday weekend, you may well have heard about Metro's big program of track work. But drivers also will face a significant snag on the Virginia side of the Capital Beltway at Telegraph Road.

This work belongs to the Wilson Bridge project, which is rebuilding the Telegraph Road interchange. This weekend's construction schedule will require the complete closing of Telegraph Road at the Beltway, as well as the closing of several Beltway ramps and the left-most lane of the Beltway's outer loop (I-95/495 North). This will start at 9 p.m. Friday and continue through 5 a.m. Monday, which is Martin Luther King Day.

The closings are likely to have a big impact on highway and local traffic in that area. The project says the extensive closings are necessary to clear the way for demolition of the old Beltway bridge over Telegraph Road during a single weekend, so the long-term effects on travelers and on the project's neighbors are limited.

Drivers are not the only ones affected. Metro's Blue Line runs under Telegraph Road, so the trains will need to share a single track this weekend between Van Dorn Street and Braddock Road. Blue Line riders should add 40 minutes to their normal travel time through that sector.

For many drivers, the best bet is to find an alternative route avoiding the Telegraph Road interchange. If it's a long-distance trip from one side of the D.C. area to the other, consider using the western and northern parts of the Beltway, crossing the Potomac River via the Legion Bridge.

Details on closings
For Telegraph Road North and its Beltway interchanges:
* Telegraph Road North between the Eisenhower Avenue access ramp and Pershing Avenue will be closed completely.
Detour: Turn right onto the Eisenhower Avenue access ramp to Stovall Street then go straight on Stovall Street and left on Pershing Avenue to get back to Telegraph Road Northbound.

* The ramp from Telegraph Road North to the inner loop will be closed.
Detour: Drivers approaching from Telegraph Road and North Kings Highway should take Huntington Avenue East to Route 1 North to reach the inner loop. Drivers approaching from westbound Huntington Avenue can take the Eisenhower Avenue access ramp to Eisenhower Avenue, then go left on Eisenhower Avenue and left on the Eisenhower Avenue Connector to reach the inner loop.

For Telegraph Road South and its Beltway interchanges:
* There will be no direct access to Telegraph Road from Duke Street. Travelers approaching Telegraph South from Mill Road will be able to reach the inner loop only. The ramp from Telegraph Road South to the outer loop will be closed.
Detours: Duke Street East travelers should continue to Route 1 South. Traffic bound for the Beltway should use the ramps from Route 1. Traffic bound for Telegraph Road South can continue south on Route 1, turn right onto Huntington Avenue West and rejoin Telegraph Road South.

Duke Street West travelers will be directed to Van Dorn Street South to the Beltway. Traffic bound for Telegraph Road South can travel via the inner loop to the exit to Telegraph Road South (Exit 176A).

* The ramp from the inner loop to Telegraph Road South will be closed.
Detour: Variable message signs will notify motorists to exit at Route 1 South to Huntington Avenue West and back to Telegraph Road South.

For the Beltway's outer loop:
The left most lane will be closed beginning at the Beltway bridge over Telegraph Road and extending into the THRU lanes split. Two lanes will remain open to Beltway traffic. Use the left lane to reach the THRU lanes. Both lanes will provide access to the LOCAL lanes.

All other Beltway ramps will remain open.

By Robert Thomson  | January 12, 2011; 9:10 AM ET
Categories:  Capital Beltway, Congestion, Construction, Driving  | Tags:  Dr. Gridlock, Wilson Bridge  
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