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Posted at 6:00 AM ET, 01/ 3/2011

The week ahead in traffic, transit

By Robert Thomson

Construction updates | Travel tips l Capital Weather Gang

We often talk about the commuting surge known as September Shock. Is there such a thing as January Shock, a mini-surge this week as many travelers go back to work after their vacations and students return to school? One shock for commuters will be the 25- cent toll increase at the main plaza on the Dulles Toll Road. Across the region, the orange cones and barrels will be back in place as road work resumes. Drivers along the New York Avenue corridor should be particularly attentive for new work. Here are some highlights.

Dulles Toll Road
Commuters returning to work Monday will find they are being charged an extra 25 cents at the main plaza on the Dulles Toll Road. As of New Year's Day, the fee for cars is $1.25. The car toll at the ramps remains 75 cents.

The tolls are one of the methods being used to finance construction of the new Metrorail line to Dulles International Airport and into Loudoun County. The Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority, which operates the toll road and is building the new rail line, plans to increase the tolls at the plaza by another quarter in 2012.

H Street NE
The District Department of Transportation plans to close the curb lane on the north side of H Street NE between 13th and 14th streets starting Tuesday. The closing, to last about four months. will make room for underground work connected with the H Street reconstruction project.

Two traffic lanes in each direction will remain open during peak hours. Curbside parking on the north side of H Street will be banned, but parking on the south side will not be affected.

New York Avenue Bridge
New York Avenue commuters should watch for a new traffic pattern between Florida Avenue and Penn Street.

In the first phase, through the winter and spring and into the summer, one of the six lanes along this half-mile stretch of New York Avenue will be taken away by construction. At rush hours, there will be three lanes in the peak direction and two in the other direction. Then, starting in the summer, two lanes will be taken away for about two years. This will leave two lanes open in each direction, and project managers think it will result in traffic delays of 15 to 30 minutes.

The change also will affect pedestrian and bike traffic. The bridge sidewalks will be closed and walkers and cyclists should follow detour signs to Fourth Street, then back to New York Avenue on the other side of the railroad tracks.

Ninth Street Bridge
The ramp to the Ninth Street Bridge from westbound New York Avenue NE is scheduled to close today. The old bridge is going to be demolished before construction of a new ramp.

Replacement of the old Ninth Street Bridge, which carried about 26,000 cars and trucks daily, has been one of the department's major projects. The bridge, built in 1941 and showing its age, connected New York and Rhode Island avenues over the railroad tracks on the north side of New York Avenue. Construction of the replacement began last year, and the entire project, including the ramp, is scheduled to be done early this summer.

As of 9 a.m. Monday, ramp traffic will be directed to a detour that will remain through May, according to the District Department of Transportation. To reach the bridge from westbound New York Avenue, travelers will follow signs directing them along Penn Street and Brentwood Parkway.

Glenmont garage
Construction of a 1,200-space parking garage is scheduled to start this week on the west side of the Red Line's Glenmont Station. The west Kiss & Ride parking lot will be closed after today to accommodate the construction. Motorists who normally use that Kiss & Ride can use the Kiss & Ride lot on the east side of the station.

Construction is scheduled to continue for at least a year, the transit authority says. The opening in early 2012 will put the total number of parking spaces available at this end of the line station at nearly 3,000.

Escalator improvements
The transit authority says it is trying to speed up the modernization of four escalators at the busy Gallery Place and Union Station Metro stations. Metro said last week that it hopes to get the rehabilitation projects done in eight weeks rather than the usual 12 by working repair crews in two shifts rather than one. The effort is scheduled to begin early this month and continue through February.

The escalators at Gallery Place are at the Seventh Street entrance. The ones at Union Station are near the First Street entrance.

Metro police checkpoints
Tonight, the public will get its first chance to discuss Metro's new bag inspection policy at a special meeting of the Metro Riders' Advisory Council at 6:30 tonight on the lobby level of Metro headquarters, 600 Fifth St. NW, in the District. The council has invited the transit police to explain the policy, imposed on riders last month.

By Robert Thomson  | January 3, 2011; 6:00 AM ET
Categories:  Commuting, Driving, Metro  | Tags:  Dr. Gridlock, The week ahead  
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Next: Green and Yellow lines delays cleared


Is there an update on the repaving (or not) of 23rd Street near Constitution? Inbound has been half repaved but with steel plates remaining and the outbound side of 23rd was left for dead 3 weeks ago. It is an axle breaking mess! Also, any updates on the Memorial Bridge road work? We've heard nothing and after a summer of N. Ohio Dr. construction it is a bit much. Any information would be helpful.

Posted by: llVA | January 3, 2011 1:41 PM | Report abuse

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