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Posted at 9:10 AM ET, 01/15/2011

The weekend and beyond

By Robert Thomson

MV switch replacement.jpg
Track workers on an earlier switch replacement project at Mount Vernon Square. (Thomson)

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

This long holiday weekend includes two major transportation projects that will affect both transit users and drivers. Metro needs to replace four track switches at the Foggy Bottom Station, a big project that will require closing the station for the entire weekend. Meanwhile, drivers should avoid the Capital Beltway's Telegraph Road interchange, where lanes and ramps will be closed as part of the Wilson Bridge project.

Through it all, the Capital Weather Gang says, travelers will encounter moderating temperatures and partly cloudy skies, with a chance of a wintry mix late on Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Here's a look at some of the obstacles you'll face as you travel the D.C. area.

Metro's weekend projects
Blue and Orange lines
No service between Rosslyn and Farragut West stations. Foggy Bottom will be the only station shut down. This will be in effect from 10 p.m. Jan. 14 through the rail system's midnight closing Jan. 17.

Virginia riders headed into the District should consider using the Yellow Line to avoid the track closure, then transfer to Blue and Orange Line trains at L'Enfant Plaza. Metro will operate extra Yellow Line trains between the Huntington and Mount Vernon Square stations between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. Jan. 15 and 16, and from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Jan. 17.

If the Yellow Line dodge doesn't work, you can board one of Metro's free shuttle buses. They will operate between North Moore Street at the Rosslyn Station, 23rd Street at Foggy Bottom and 17th and 18th streets at Farragut West. If you have to close the train service gap via bus, build in an extra 40 minutes to your travel time.

That Rosslyn-Farragut West disruption, cutting the lines in two, is the big one for Orange and Blue Line riders, but not the only one that weekend. Trains will be sharing one track in two areas: Orange Line trains will share a track between West Falls Church and East Falls Church. Meanwhile, trains will share one track between Van Dorn Street and Braddock Road.

Red Line
Red Line trains will share a track between Friendship Heights and Van Ness, and also between New York Avenue and Rhode Island Avenue. The single-tracking in those areas will make room for more work on several of Metro's long-term rehab efforts on the line. Add 20 minutes to your regular travel time.

On the Saturday, Sunday and Monday, trains will leave about every 15 minutes from the ends of the line at Shady Grove and Glenmont. From 9:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. each day, there will be more frequent service -- about every seven to eight minutes -- between Van Ness and New York Avenue, to accommodate riders on the most crowded part of the Red Line.

The most challenging part of the project for riders, says Hughes, is remembering the Friday night part of the Blue and Orange Line disruption. On Friday nights, the transit system remains open till 3 a.m., but the disruption will start at 10 p.m. on the Friday of MLK weekend. People who made a trip earlier that evening without any disruption may want to find another way to get back home that night.

Beltway/Telegraph Road
The Wilson Bridge project plans to completely close Telegraph Road at the Beltway, as well as 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.

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.

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.

Saturday at Warner Theatre
Parking and driving are restricted through 6 a.m. Sunday around the Warner Theatre at 513 13th St. NW in downtown Washington because of a BET awards ceremony on Saturday night. See more details.

H Street NE
For about four weeks starting Tuesday, the 700 block of 12th Street NE from H Street south to G Street NE will be restricted to south-bound traffic only as part of the H Street rehabilitation project. The usual two lanes of traffic on 12th Street will be reduced to one lane. This will allow the contractor to install streetcar tracks on H Street and complete work across the intersection.

Northbound motorists can use 11th Street or 13th Street as alternatives.

Meanwhile, the District Department of Transportation plans to close the south side of the 8th Street intersection with H Street during the day next Friday and Saturday, Jan. 21 and 22, to accommodate streetcar track work in the intersection.

The work will be done from 7:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on Jan. 21 and from 7:30 a.m to 4 p.m. on Jan. 22. The 700 block of 8th Street, just south of H Street, will be open to local residential traffic only.

Beach Drive
Contractors for D.C. Water will close the northbound lane of Beach Drive at the Rock Creek and Potomac Parkway from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday. Traffic delays are likely, the National Park Service says.

Workers will direct northbound and southbound traffic around the closing. The adjacent recreational trail will not be affected.

Ohio Drive
Minor work continues on Ohio Drive near the Lincoln Memorial, the National Park Service says. A problem with the traffic detectors near 23rd Street was discovered. The detectors will need to be reinstalled, but that can't be done till spring, when the weather warms up.

All the traffic lanes have been reopened, but some brief single lane closings will occur from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. The morning rush traffic pattern has both inbound and outbound traffic with all lanes open. The afternoon rush pattern has four lanes outbound.

Chain Bridge
The District Department of Transportation plans to close a single inbound lane on Chain Bridge between 10 a.m. and 2:45 p.m. daily from Tuesday through Friday, weather permitting.

The lane closings will clear room for removal of cable from the rigging equipment that was used during the rehabilitation of the bridge, the transportation department said. One lane will remain open for traffic in each direction.

By Robert Thomson  | January 15, 2011; 9:10 AM ET
Categories:  Blue Line, Capital Beltway, Congestion, Construction, Metro, Orange Line, Red Line, Weekend Work  | Tags:  Dr. Gridlock, The weekend and beyond  
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Next: No MARC or VRE service Monday


Getting in and out of DC coming from Falls Church this weekend has been so miserable I've started walking short parts of it instead of standing around and waiting 19 minutes as I did last night for just ONE stretch of it. I got off the shuttle bus at Farragust West Sunday morning to walk the rest of the way to the mall but was held up at Lafayette Park because of a presidential motorcade. You can't win.

Posted by: swissmiss150 | January 16, 2011 9:52 AM | Report abuse

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