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Posted at 6:00 AM ET, 03/ 7/2011

The week ahead for traffic, transit

By Robert Thomson

Construction updates | Travel tips l Capital Weather Gang

The free ride is over on Maryland's Intercounty Connector. Metro service on the Blue and Orange lines was scheduled to return to normal today following the weekend shutdowns for maintenance. The D.C. area's weather should be back to normal, too, after Sunday's intense rain. Travelers will find daytime temperatures in the 50s all week, with the chance of rain best on Thursday.

Intercounty Connector
Electronic tolling started after midnight. Passenger vehicles and light trucks pay $1.45 during peak hours (6 to 9 a.m. and 4 to 7 p.m. weekdays), $1.15 off-peak (5 to 6 a.m., 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and 7 to 11 p.m. weekdays; 5 a.m. to 11 p.m. weekends) and 60 cents overnight (11 p.m. to 5 a.m. daily).

There are no toll booths. When vehicles without E-ZPasses drive under the toll gantries, a camera will take a photo of the license plate, and the vehicle owner will get a bill for the toll. Starting at midnight April 5, the Maryland Transportation Authority will add a $3 service charge for those license plate photo bills.

During the free test drive period over the past two weeks, drivers have enjoyed their quick trips on the new highway, but have reported congestion at some points on the Olney and Shady Grove sides of the connector. Maryland transportation officials will be watching to see if some of that eases on its own starting today, as drivers decide they've had their fun and don't want to pay the $1.45 toll at rush hour.

Whatever route drivers were taking to reach the Shady Grove Metro station before the ICC opened is still free. Drivers heading east on I-370 should watch carefully for the right-hand exit to the Metro station. There's a variable message board that reminds drivers to keep right for this exit. See my Driver's Manual for the connector.

Beltway/Telegraph Road
The Woodrow Wilson Bridge project plans to continue daytime closings this week of the Telegraph Road ramps to the Capital Beltway's outer loop (I-95/495 North). Closings are scheduled to occur 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday, and 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday. The ramp closings will continue through the end of April.

Detours: Drivers heading north on Telegraph Road should make a right on eastbound Huntington Avenue to northbound Route 1 to the outer loop. Drivers heading south on Telegraph Road should take the ramp over Telegraph Road onto Huntington Avenue and then to northbound Route 1 and the outer loop.

Tysons Corner/Beltway
The Capital Beltway lane closings at Route 123 in Tysons Corner are scheduled to resume tonight through Friday, from 11 p.m. to 5 a.m. each night. This work for the Dulles Metrorail project is likely to continue through March. It leaves only one lane open on the inner loop, so congestion is likely.

Workers are using these overnight hours to build the bridges that will take the new Metrorail line over the Beltway. When the lanes are closed overnight, crews also close the exit ramps from the outer loop to Route 123.

This is the closing pattern:
9:30 p.m. to 10 p.m. Crews begin tapering for the closing of the right lane, about a half-mile before the Route 7 exit. The exit ramps at Route 7 are not affected by the rail project work.
10:30 p.m. Workers begin to close the second right lane near the Route 7 bridge and the third lane before the Route 123 interchange. The ramps to and from Route 123 also will close at this time.
5 a.m. All lanes and exits to Route 123 will be reopened to through traffic.

The closings of the ramps to Route 123 results in this detour for Beltway drivers:
Continue north, exit at Georgetown Pike (Route 193), turn around at Georgetown Pike and enter the outer loop (southbound I-495), then use the Route 123 exits from the outer loop.

Maryland lane closings
Highway crews will be conducting routine bridge inspections Saturday, and that will close some lanes: Look for alternating double left and double right lane closings on southbound I-270 at Falls Road from 4:30 to 11:30 a.m. Also, watch for similar lane closings on the Beltway's inner loop at Riggs Road from 5 a.m. to noon.

Route 202 road work
The Maryland State Highway Administration will be working on the Route 202 bridge over the Beltway from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. weekdays. Expect single lane closings there.

Beltway HOT lanes work
Workers on the High Occupancy Toll lanes project are rebuilding interchanges and bridges along 14 miles on the western side of the Beltway between Springfield and the Dulles Toll Road. Most of the lane closings are done overnight, but watch for single lane closings from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on weekdays.

11th Street Bridge project
Overnights Monday through Thursday, the District Department of Transportation plans to close lanes and periodically stop traffic in one direction at a time on Interstate 295/DC 295 (Anacostia Freeway) between Pennsylvania Avenue and the 11th Street Bridge to set new bridge girders over the highway.

Most of the activity will occur between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m., but single lane closings could begin as early as 8 p.m. The traffic stoppages could last up to 40 minutes at a time. If either side of the highway is closed, signed detours will be posted.

By Robert Thomson  | March 7, 2011; 6:00 AM ET
Categories:  Commuting, Congestion, Construction, Metro, Transit  | Tags:  Dr. Gridlock, Intercounty Connector, The week ahead  
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Next: Orange Line delays cleared


so if you stradle two lanes as you drive under the toll gantries, do the camera's miss your liscense plates?

Posted by: MarilynManson | March 7, 2011 12:08 PM | Report abuse

ATHe ICC is exactly what we need more ignorant, overweight Americans driving their large automobiles using Saudi and Venezualan petrol.

Posted by: kenk33 | March 7, 2011 12:47 PM | Report abuse

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