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Posted at 10:53 AM ET, 01/ 7/2011

The weekend and beyond

By Robert Thomson

Construction updates | D.C. area travel tips | Going Out Guide

On the first full weekend of the new year, road crews and transit workers will be busy, despite the cold weather. They won't let up in the coming work week, either. Shake off that holiday lethargy and get ready to deal with the renewed energy of the crews that will be blocking lanes and closing stretches of track. Here are some highlights of what's ahead.

Metro weekend delays
This is nothing compared to what's coming next weekend, the long Martin Luther King Jr. Day weekend. Still, look for delays on the Blue and Red lines during this weekend's maintenance work.

Blue Line: Add half an hour to the normal travel time between Stadium-Armory and Addison Road from 10 p.m. Friday through the midnight closing Sunday, Jan. 9. Workers will be replacing concrete slabs underneath the rails.

Add half an hour for a ride between Braddock Road and Van Dorn Street from 11 p.m. Friday through the Sunday closing. Trains will share a single track to get around a Wilson Bridge project work zone at the Telegraph Road interchange.

Red Line: Add 20 minutes to a trip between Friendship Heights and Van Ness from 10 p.m. Friday through the Sunday closing. Workers will be replacing fasteners and repairing tunnel leaks.

Add at least 20 minutes to a trip between New York Avenue and Rhode Island Avenue from 10 p.m. Friday through closing Sunday. Workers will be engaged in track and station improvements in the area.

Saturday and Sunday, trains will leave the ends of the Red Line at Shady Grove and Glenmont about every 15 minutes. From 9:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. each day, trains will operate about every eight minutes between Van Ness and New York Avenue.

Fairfax Parkway/Route 50
Avoid the area around the interchange at Route 50 and the Fairfax County Parkway this weekend, or get stuck in what's likely to be a big traffic delay. The Virginia Department of Transportation is rebuilding an older portion of the parkway in Fair Lakes, and these weekend lane closings are part of that $69.5 million project, partially funded by the federal stimulus.

VDOT's contractor plans to drive piles that will add a pier so the parkway bridge can be widened to three lanes over Route 50. The pile driving will be done between 7 a.m. and 9 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

From 11 p.m. Friday through 11 p.m. Sunday, weather permitting, many lanes will be closed to accommodate the pile driving schedule.

VDOT says it typically allows its contractors to close lanes only at night or on weekdays between rush hours, but this work requires at least 10 hours of uninterrupted construction, which would be possible on a weekday without affecting rush hour traffic. And the work can't be done at night, because Fairfax County's noise ordinance prohibits pile driving during certain hours. The work was postponed till after the Christmas holidays to minimize the impact on nearby shopping traffic, VDOT says.

Here's a list of the lane and ramp closings planned:
* On westbound Route 50, three lanes will narrow to one lane from West Ox Road to just west of the parkway. Lanes will shift to the right through the work zone under the Fairfax County Parkway bridge.
* On eastbound Route 50, three lanes will narrow to two lanes and traffic will shift to the right about 300 feet before the Fairfax County Parkway. All three lanes will be open east of the bridge.
* Two ramps will be closed: northbound Parkway to westbound Route 50, and southbound Fairfax County Parkway to eastbound 50. Traffic headed north on the parkway will turn left on Rugby Road to Route 50. Traffic headed south on the parkway will be detoured left on the Fair Lakes Parkway, and left on West Ox Road to Route 50.
* On the Fairfax County Parkway over Route 50, one of two lanes in each direction will be closed.

New York Avenue
To accommodate construction related to the rehabilitation of the New York Avenue Bridge between Florida Avenue and Penn Street NE, the westbound lanes on New York Avenue are scheduled to be narrowed from 6 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday. The District Department of Transportation said it will close two lanes in the morning, because traffic is typically lightest on weekend mornings.

Still, this is likely to cause serious traffic delays, and it would be best to use an alternative route.

Upper Marlboro bridge
The Maryland State Highway Administration has closed the Old Marlboro Pike Bridge over Federal Spring Branch to begin the demolition phase of the bridge reconstruction project in Upper Marlboro. Traffic was shifted to a temporary road next to the bridge.

11th Street Bridge
Anacostia Drive SE between Good Hope Road and Nicholson Street is scheduled to close from 6 p.m. Monday to 6 a.m. Tuesday so girders can be moved into position for placement into the new 11th Street Bridge over the Anacostia River.

The closings on Anacostia Drive will continue each night through Jan.15. All traffic from Howard Road SE will have to exit the park at Good Hope Road during the closings.

Maryland bridge inspections
The Maryland State Highway Administration is continuing its bridge inspection program in the D.C. area. Here's the schedule:

Saturday: At Cherry Hill Road over Interstate 95 in Prince George's County, watch for double left and double right lane closures on northbound I-95 from 5 a.m. to 12 p.m.

Sunday: At Industrial Drive over I-370 in Montgomery County, watch for double left and double right lane closures on eastbound I-370 from 4:30 to 11:30 a.m.

Monday: On I-70 over the Norfolk Southern Railroad tracks in Frederick County, watch for a single right lane closing from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Tuesday: On westbound I-70 over Antietam Creek in Frederick County, watch for a right lane closure from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Wednesday: At Bower Avenue over I-70 in Frederick County, watch for left and right lane closures from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Thursday: At westbound I-70 over Catoctin Creek in Frederick County, watch for a right lane closure from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Chain Bridge
The District Department of Transportation plans to close an inbound lane on Chain Bridge daily between 10 a.m. and 2:45 p.m. Monday through Friday. The lane closings are needed so that construction equipment used during the bridge rehabilitation can be removed. One lane will remain open in each direction for traffic crossing the bridge.

Telegraph Road/Beltway
Next weekend, construction related to the Wilson Bridge project will require the complete closure of northbound and southbound Telegraph Road, as well as several Capital Beltway ramps at the Telegraph Road interchange. This is scheduled to start at 9 p.m. Jan. 14, and continue through 5 a.m. Jan. 17.

A complete closing is necessary so that the old Beltway bridge over Telegraph Road can be demolished during a single weekend. Project managers strongly advise that travelers plan on using alternative routes while the work is underway.

By Robert Thomson  | January 7, 2011; 10:53 AM ET
Categories:  Congestion, Construction, Driving, Metro, Weekend Work  | Tags:  Dr. Gridlock, The weekend and beyond  
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