The Weekend and Beyond
Many riders will encounter slow going this holiday weekend because of single-tracking around the repair work underway at Metro Center. Passengers, especially those bound for events at Verizon Center, should build in at least a half an hour extra travel time from 10 o'clock tonight through Monday night. The second half of the project, which will fix the bridge that takes the Red Line tracks over the Blue and Orange Line tracks, is scheduled for President's Day weekend. (Here's a link to Lena H. Sun's story about the project.)
Metro Center Station will remain open. The Shady Grove side of the Red Line platform will be closed. Trains will use the other track. Blue and Orange Line riders will find their platform open. They will see the areas above both tracks where the Metro crews are replacing sections of hard rubber called bearing pads to better support the Red Line track and platform above.
Up on the Red Line, passengers can see -- if they look real closely -- a section of platform that dips slightly. If you're not looking for it, you could walk over it without noticing, and you can certainly ride over it without noticing. Metro says the station is safe, but it needs to do this work to keep it that way.
Tip for Red Line riders: If you're leaving Verizon Center after one of the games this three-day weekend, walk over to Judiciary Square Station rather than using Gallery Place, even though that's closest. If you're heading back in the Glenmont direction, you'll be beyond the single-tracking zone. If you're heading toward Shady Grove, you'll still have to pass through the single-tracking area, but at least you'll avoid some of the platform crowding at Gallery Place.
Georgia Avenue Shift
Watch for traffic shifts scheduled to start Tuesday jan. 22 on the busy commuter route just north of Norbeck Road in Montgomery County. This is part of the intercounty connector construction. The northbound lanes will be shifted into the newly widened median starting at Thistlebridge Drive, then move back into the old track about a quarter of a mile beyond that, just south of Bachelors Forrest Road.
The traffic shift, which will be in effect about two years, will allow for construction of a Georgia Avenue bridge over the connector.
Everybody can buy them again. Metro General Manager John B. Catoe Jr. has reversed a decision that ended token sales for all but students and paratransit riders.
Metro would love to move riders away from tokens and cash and toward the use of the electronic SmarTrip cards. Toward that end, the transit authority handed over 50,000 free SmarTrip cards to social service agencies. "However, we have since heard from many charitable organizations and social service agencies, which distribute tokens to the needy, that eliminating them is too burdensome," Catoe said in a statement.
Tysons Work Underway
While it's still unclear whether the U.S. Department of Transportation will sign off on a $900 million federal contribution to the Dulles rail project, utility work connected to the Tysons Corner portion of the project is underway. Washington Gas crews are working in the service road south of Route 7 east of Gosnell Road in front of Business Bank. As they progress, they will move east toward Route 123.
Short sections of one lane of the Route 7 service road will be closed for the work. Traffic will be eastbound only in the section where the crews are working. The closed lane will reopen after construction is completed. Meanwhile, access to all businesses will be maintained.
Eventually, the service roads will be eliminated and Route 7 will be widened to four lanes in each direction. The new Metrorail line, if it wins the federal financing, will run Route 123 and then swing into the middle of Route 7, where a median will be created for the elevated rails.
DASH Route Changes
Alexandria's buses are changing some schedules as of Sunday.
The AT2 route will be split into two separate routes, with the AT2 route operating on the current alignment between Braddock Road Metrorail Station and Lincolnia Road. The new AT1 route will operate on the current AT2 alignment between Seminary Plaza and Eisenhower Avenue Metrorail Station.
Weekday midday AT7 service between King and Royal Streets and the Lee Center will be eliminated. The midday AT4 route will be extended from City Hall to the Lee Center. Saturday AT4 service between the King Street Metro Station and the Lee Center will be eliminated, but the Saturday AT4 route will be extended from City Hall to the Lee Center.
P Street Repairs
The District plans to begin roadway and sidewalk repairs on P Street NW between Dupont Circle and Logan Circle on Tuesday. Work hours are 7 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. weekdays, but vehicles and pedestrians will have access to the area throughout the repair work, which is scheduled to be completed by the end of March. The roadway will be resufaced in the spring.
There may be minor delays on various Metrorail lines over the next three weeks as Metro goes through a periodic ultrasound safety check of the rails. If a worn rail is identified for replacement, a Metro crew would first make a temporary fix, and trains would be required to slow down through that area. Then the rail would be replaced overnight, when the system is shut down.
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