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The Weekend and Beyond

Here's some travel advice for the holiday weekend and on into the summer.

Road Work
You won't see much of it this weekend. Maryland and Virginia pull up the orange barrels at their short term work sites for high-traffic holiday weekends. Don't take it as a sign of the summer to come. There will be plenty of construction, so stay alert in the work zones, which can be as dangerous for motorists as they are for construction crews.

Rolling Thunder
Some streets in Washington will be closed Sunday for the annual Rolling Thunder motorcycle parade, part of the Memorial Day weekend commemorations.

The event is from noon to 3 p.m. Most of the street closings end as the procession rolls on. Here's a map of the route. It starts at the Pentagon parking lot, goes over Memorial Bridge and around the national mall.

Memorial Day Parade
On Monday, watch for congestion around the national mall in conjunction with the holiday parade. The D.C. police announcement describes the parade route, street closings and parking restrictions.

The switch replacement project at Mount Vernon Square is suspended for this weekend, so it won't cause delays on the Green and Yellow lines as it has for the past two weekends. It starts up again for May 30-June 1 and finishes up on June 6-8.

This weekend, the Metro menu calls for maintenance and testing on the Red, Blue and Green lines, creating delays as trains take turns sharing one track to get around the work.

Memorial Day Transit
Metro's Web site lists the level of service available on the region's transit systems for the Monday holiday.

A Warning For Drivers
Officials at the U.S. Department of Transportation tell me you'll see greater enforcement of safety laws this summer. Don't get a ticket: Police programs across the nation are targeting seat belt use, aggressive driving, speeding in work zones and unsafe motoring around trucks.

In many states, there's a new emphasis on protecting public safety and emergency personnel along highways. Many states now have "Slow Down, Move Over" laws, meaning they want you to move away from stopped emergency vehicles and if that's not possible, slow down.

Fort Belvoir Gate
The inbound lane at Fort Belvoir's Telegraph Gate (Telegraph Road at Beulah Street) is closed this weekend for construction of security enhancements. Motorists may use the J.J. Kingman Gate off the Fairfax County Parkway to enter the post. The gate will reopen at 5 a.m. Tuesday.

D.C.Bridge Repair Postponed
The start date for repair of Southwest Washington's 11th Street Bridge over D Street, the railroad and approach roadways has been rescheduled, the District Department of Transportation says. The new date is June 2. The 12th Street SW tunnel ramp will remain open until then. (This 11th Street Bridge is in the L'Enfant Plaza area. It's not the Anacostia River crossing that many of you commuters are familiar with.)

Wilson Bridge
This will be the big story of next weekend: Workers will be fiddling with the inner loop so those lanes can be redirected across the new span. By June 2, if the schedule holds, inner loop traffic will be using that span, the north one, while outer loop traffic continues to use the south span, the one that opened two years ago.

It's a big deal, because it means that the entire new bridge will be open, but the immediate impact on traffic congestion will be limited. The main thing drivers will notice is that some of the highway bending will be gone, and the merge from I-295 onto the inner loop should be a lot easier.

But the main thing you need to know is that the inner loop will be extremely congested next weekend when the lanes are being shifted onto the new span. Don't go there.

By Robert Thomson  |  May 23, 2008; 6:30 AM ET
Categories:  Advisories  
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Next: Va. Commuter Route Under Repair


Interesting that you bring up the "Move Over" rules...I'm surprised these haven't caught on here in the Northeast. They made a big deal about it in NC when they implemented those laws. NC's law states that you must move over 1 lane from the emergency vehicle (leaving 1 lane buffer). If that is not possible, you must slow to 20 below the speed limit when passing the emergency vehicle.

I too would love to see crackdowns of laws that actually affect safety. Speeding 2 MPH over the limit does not affect safety. Running red lights, tailgating, refusal to yield, aggressive driving...that does affect safety. I wish they would increase the fines for doing those things so there is more incentive for cops to get people for that than speeding a few MPH over the limit.

Posted by: Woodley Park | May 23, 2008 11:54 AM | Report abuse

What would you rather do, write a ticket or eat a donut? Case closed.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 23, 2008 12:40 PM | Report abuse

Appalling but true - too many people do NOT use their turn signals thereby creating unnecessary safety hazards. Do you have any idea what their problem is????

Congestion is relieved IF and WHEN people pause for ten seconds to allow a person to make a left turn into a LONG line of cars.

Posted by: Anonymous | May 24, 2008 9:32 AM | Report abuse

It appears that a lot of people are staying in town this week. At the intersection of Georgetown Pike and Old Dominion Drive in Great Falls, VA, both Georgetown Pike and Old Dominion were backed up today as far as Towlston Rd (for Old Dominion) and River Bend (for Georgetown Pike). Even when the lights turned green, no traffic moved because the people who were lined up in order to wait to enter Great Falls National Park were lined up to the south and east of the Old Dominion/Georgetown Pike intersection.

One suggestion... can the National Park Service buy some of the land in the 9000 block of Old Dominion (where the plant nursery used to be) to build a Welcome Center. At both the Welcome Center and over the Web, people should be able to sign up and "take a number" so they can leave and be notified via email/text message when their turn comes up and it's time for them to return. This would be much better than forcing everyone to make the massive traffic jam today.

Posted by: Great Falls | May 25, 2008 8:45 PM | Report abuse

turn signals are for losers, and the free left on red is awesome

Posted by: Anonymous | May 27, 2008 1:25 PM | Report abuse

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