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Get There: June 4, 2006 - June 10, 2006

New Wilson Bridge Opens

Post staff writer Sandhya Somashekhar reports that the new Woodrow Wilson Bridge opened to traffic at 9:45 tonight. It's one lane of one span, but it's open. She said the people waiting in the line of traffic knew what was happening and were very excited, realizing they were about to make local history....

By Robert Thomson  |  June 10, 2006; 10:14 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Wilson Bridge  
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Wilson Bridge Traffic: Field Report

Post staff writer Sandhya Somashekhar, who is part of our team covering the Wilson Bridge work today, just reported in. She said she drove on I- 95 from Lorton and got off onto Franconia Road. She said traffic was moving 55-60 mph. It was getting congested approaching the Springfield Interchange, but that was about normal for the area. She urges drivers to be cautious, though. The cars are going pretty fast considering how close together they are and how many decisions they have to make in that area. Then she got onto the Capital Beltway from Van Dorn Street and got off at Telegraph Road. At the Amoco station on Telegraph, near the Beltway, she talked to Steve Sprague, 55, of the Alexandria section of Fairfax County. She asked him if he had any intention of crossing the Wilson Bridge today. "Not on your life," he said. Mike Gordon, 27,...

By Robert Thomson  |  June 10, 2006; 12:13 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Wilson Bridge  
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Bridge Weekend: Mid-Morning Report

A survey of the traffic cameras from the Wilson Bridge back down the Capital Beltway's outer loop and onto I-95 Northbound shows that traffic still is flowing well, despite the squeeze down to one lane at the bridge as crews do the paving required to open the new span. Looks like a combination of sophisticated travelers who knew what to expect and motorists just following the posted detours that are taking them to alternate routes across the Potomac this morning. You can see for yourself by going to our Web site's traffic page. We'll have some eyewitness reporters later on from our staff writers Karin Brulliard and Sandhya Somashekar....

By Robert Thomson  |  June 10, 2006; 10:48 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Wilson Bridge  
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So Far, So Good at Wilson Bridge

As Washington wakes up, the traffic along the Capital Beltway and on I-95 in Virginia looks pretty good, under the circumstances. Those being that a massive amount of work is going on at the Woodrow WIlson Bridge this weekend. There's a steady stream of single-lane traffic heading across the bridge from Virginia to Maryland. Farther back on the outer loop, it looks like the warnings and detours are having the desired effect of keeping traffic away. At the Potomac crossing, the main event involves preparations for the opening of the first of the two new spans. That's supposed to happen today. But to make that happen, crews had to narrow down the traffic on the outer loop to one lane, so there are severe restrictions on northbound travel. If drivers in the Washington area and long-range travelers do not heed the warnings that project managers have been issuing, that would...

By Robert Thomson  |  June 10, 2006; 8:26 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Wilson Bridge  
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Stay Away From the Wilson Bridge!!!!

Whatever you do tonight and for the rest of the weekend, stay away from the Wilson Bridge. Starting tonight at 8 o'clock, the outer loop of the Beltway is going to be narrowed to one lane so workers can get busy redirecting the highway toward a new bridge. The backups will extend at least four miles and could go much further if people don't steer clear of the area. Additionally, drivers on northbound I-95 will not be allowed to cross the bridge. They will be diverted at Springfield, either to the western half of the Beltway or up I-395 through the District. At some point Saturday afternoon the outer loop will be redirected to the new bridge, the first of two six-lane spans that will replace the existing bridge, but traffic will still be limited to a single lane so workers can finish realigning the Beltway. Project managers promise that...

By Washington Post Editors  |  June 9, 2006; 10:14 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Wilson Bridge  
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Bad Commuter Week, Part 3: The Lane Hogs

I don't know about you, but it seems to me that more and more drivers can't commit to one lane. They straddle both lanes and in many cases drive right on down the road that way for miles. And you know what? It drives me CRAZY!!!! The worst cuplrits for this sort of behavior seem to be taxi drivers. They've got those big cars and they're going slow and they're looking this way and that for fares and inevitably they seem to end up going about 13 miles an hour in two lanes. Or maybe they do it on purpose to hog the road so they monopolize fares or because they think they own the road, or whatever. I don't mind the slowness and the search for fares, but they gotta pick a lane. This has a lot to do with you too, SUV drivers. Whatever people think of SUVs...

By Washington Post Editors  |  June 8, 2006; 11:01 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Commuting  
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Environmental Group Says Toll Highways Okay

We take a break from bad commuter week to share an interesting development in the transportation world. The advocacy group Environmental Defense has come out in favor of using public-private partnerships to build tolled highways. Their support, as you might imagine, came with a couple caveats. They prefer tolls to be added to existing lanes with minimal widenings and for some of the revenue to be used to fund public transit and to protect the environment. If highways are done in this way, Environmental Defense sees winners all around. Taxpayers don't have to pay for most of the fixes, drivers gain more capacity and more assurance, transit options are increased and the environment is protected. In the real world this means that they do not think that the intercounty connector is a good idea because it is a brand new highway that brings with it a number of environmental concerns....

By Washington Post Editors  |  June 7, 2006; 11:15 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
 
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Bad Commuter Week, Part 2

Today we talk Metro etiquette. Most people -- at least most who join this blog and my Web chats -- seem to think that everyone on the Metro is rude, inconsiderate or a brainless tourist. They don't care about getting over to the right on the escalator, they hug the poles on the trains and they talk loudly on their cell phones about what went wrong with their date last night. (Hint: You and your mindless chatter.) One of our posters, known only to us as "Metro rider," pretty much agrees with all that. The rider's twist is that he or she thinks this is just the way it should be. To wit: "1. ESCALATORS ARE NOT STAIRS. They are designed for standing, NOT walking (left, right, or center); continued walking weakens the structure & causes accidents. Either leave a few minutes earlier or utilize the staircases (yes, I know,...

By Washington Post Editors  |  June 6, 2006; 11:07 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Commuting  
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The Loathing of the Left Laners

I almost made it through the comments without getting mad. And then "Me" posted this: "MD Driver is right. There is no "passing lane" in Maryland. It's just a lane, and the left-laners can stay there if they so choose. Sorry." This pretty much sums the left laner 'tude. I can stay there if I want and there's nothing you can do about it. I reckon that's so, whether there's a "passing lane" law or not. But the fact that you can totally misses the point. We can do lots of things in life that we choose not to do because they fall into that vast and undesirable category of "not cool." The question is WHY do you want to stay in the left lane. You know you shouldn't be there. You know it causes backups. You know it makes the highway less safe. And yet you persist, simply because...

By Washington Post Editors  |  June 5, 2006; 4:31 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Commuting  
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Bad Commuter Week

Good day to all ye commuters out there and welcome to Bad Commuter Week, where we spend the whole week discussing all the things we hate about the guy in the lane next to us or standing next to us on the subway. You know who I mean: The dude going 56 miles an hour in the left hand lane. Or the one jabbing you in the midsection while he talks loudly on his cell phone. I'll kick it off with a few thoughts on the left laners of this world. First, let me say with all due respect, that you people bite. Get out of the left lane already!! It's not your own little private street to do with what you will. It's not even the fast lane, as so many driving instructors -- and the Eagles -- have tried to tell you. It's the PASSING lane. As in,...

By Washington Post Editors  |  June 5, 2006; 11:47 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Commuting  
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