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Plans Still Evolving for Thursday Closures

The road closings around the Pentagon on Thursday are now scheduled to begin at 3 a.m. They will be lifted at 1 p.m. if conditions permit, Arlington police say.

Drivers today should be seeing alerts about Thursday's commute on the variable message signs along I-95/395 and the Capital Beltway, among other places.

Pentagon Memorial.jpg Click to see latest map. (Arlington Police Department)

The street closures, which will be done to provide security and access for the the invitation-only dedication of the Pentagon Memorial on Thursday morning, are quite extensive and will occur in a sector of I-395 that is congested even under normlal circumstances during rush periods.

Police and Virginia traffic managers are advising commuters to avoid the area, especially between 8:30 and 10:30 a.m. Metrorail is a better option than driving through the zone. All stations will be open. The trains will be running on their regular schedule Thursday morning.

Buses are a different story: All Metrobuses that normally serve the Pentagon Transit Center, the largest transfer station in the Metrobus system, will move to the Pentagon City Metro station from 2 a.m. to 1 p.m. Thursday.

It will be a grand day for telecommuting.

While drivers should expect significant delays around the Pentagon and Crystal City, this isn't an alert for Northern Virginia drivers only. For example, drivers from Maryland who come in on New York Avenue or I-295 and head for the Southeast-Southwest Freeway in the District to reach the 14th Street Bridge are very likely to encounter extra congestion along those routes.

On Thursday, they may be better off using the Capital Beltway and the Wilson Bridge to exits in Alexandria and points south toward Springfield. Or park at Metro's Greenbelt, Largo and Branch Avenue stations to take the train.

I asked Lt. Don Grinder, Arlington police spokesman, to address some of the questions raised by readers on Monday.

-- "I ride my bike to work in DC along the trail around the Pentagon down to Memorial Bridge. Will that be closed as well on Thursday morning?"

The bike trail along Washington Boulevard will be closed.

-- "Does this mean there will be no access from Washington Blvd. to the 14th street bridge? My commute is on the GW Parkway from Spout Run to the 14th St. Bridge."

You can use the George Washington Parkway to reach I-395, but you must take the parkway south to the Humpback Bridge. (There's no construction at the Humpback Bridge during rush periods.)

Northern Virginia's Traffic Operations Center will be doing a simulation of Thursday morning's drill today. Early Thursday morning, VDOT will be monitoring the traffic patterns that develop from the road closings and will be prepared to adjust the highway message boards or the timing on traffic signals in the area.

Here's the Arlington police list of the roads to be shut down at 3 a.m.:

Washington Boulevard eastbound at Interstate 395 and Columbia Pike and westbound at Memorial Bridge, I-395 and Hayes Street; southbound I-395 to the Pentagon south parking lot; and Columbia Pike from Joyce Street to the Pentagon south parking. I-395 northbound HOV will have no access to Washington Boulevard.

Also: South Fern Street from Army Navy Drive to the Pentagon; South Eads Street from Army Navy Drive to the Pentagon; Rotary Road throughout Pentagon south parking; and the north-south connector road at the Pentagon. Traffic heading north on the I-395 HOV lanes won't have access to Eads Street and must exit at Army Navy Drive.

Sluggers: No HOV/slug traffic will be allowed into South Parking Lot. The Pentagon Reservation Commuter Slug Drop-off will be relocated to Army Navy Drive.

Parking will not be available at the Pentagon. The planners of the memorial ceremony suggest guests arrive by Metro at the Pentagon stop, on the Yellow and Blue lines. When they get to the Pentagon Station, they should go to Pentagon South Parking. The nearest public parking is at Pentagon City Mall.

By Robert Thomson  |  September 9, 2008; 8:42 AM ET
Categories:  Advisories , Commuting , Events  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Afternoon Alerts for Commuters
Next: Montgomery Unveils 'Road Diet'


Do you have any info on why there were so many police officers at the Silver Spring Metro Station today? (Sept. 9) I asked one of the officers, and he gave me a very pre-packaged sort of answer: just being "proactively cautious" in preparation for 9/11. I rode the train from Silver Spring to Ballston, and I didn't see this level of police presence at any of the other stations. Silver Spring had heavily armed officers and police dogs.

(my WaPo username is n_mcguire)

Posted by: Nancy McGuire | September 9, 2008 11:24 AM | Report abuse

Thanks for getting the information about access to the bike trail.

Posted by: LionelMandrake | September 9, 2008 11:53 AM | Report abuse

Could you provide a map of the closures?

Posted by: Anonymous | September 9, 2008 12:33 PM | Report abuse

From Dr. Gridlock: Arlington police have revised the map showing the closures. I'll post that this afternoon on this same entry.

But you also can see it now if you scroll down to yesterday's posting about Thursday traffic. Click on the map you find there and you'll get a larger image.

Posted by: Robert Thomson | September 9, 2008 1:25 PM | Report abuse

I was thinking about taking Metrorail on Thursday, but the news about shifting the buses to Pentagon City has changed my mind. I have to pick up a shuttle bus at that station, and if it has to compete with buses it will be a total zoo.

Posted by: peej | September 9, 2008 3:02 PM | Report abuse

I think I may have to work out of the Golf Course Office on Thursday.

I notice the revised map eliminates references to "POTUS." I guess someone with the Secret Service was none too pleased that the old version indicated which ramps the president's motorcade would use!

Posted by: Rich | September 9, 2008 3:11 PM | Report abuse

This is too vagueL "southbound I-395 to the Pentagon south parking lot"

Are you discussing the RAMP from I-395S to Pentagon South Parking? No Problem

Are you saying I395S is closed AT the Pentagon South Parking exit? BIG PROBLEM!!

Posted by: Dr. Velocity | September 9, 2008 3:56 PM | Report abuse

I'm still looking for confirmation on what this is going to do to traffic on the GW Parkway. If Wash. Blvd. is closed, will some of that traffic be coming down Spout Run instead? Traffic was backed up almost to Lorcam Lane this morning at 8:30. I wish I could telecommute, but my office doesn't allow it.

Posted by: Arlington, VA | September 9, 2008 4:03 PM | Report abuse

Shouldn't this be done on a weekend? If not, why we just called a holiday for 9/11 then?

Posted by: WTF | September 9, 2008 4:19 PM | Report abuse

WTF, do you really think POTUS would do this on any day other than 9/11? I wouldn't mind the mess this was going to cause (as much) if it was a public event. What really upsets me is it's invitation only, so screw the many thousands of workers (including Fed employees and contractors) so Bush can have his moment.

Last December, I made the mistake of trying to take Constitution to the Wilson Bridge one night when the approach to the 14th St. bridge was horribly backed up. Took me nearly an hour 'cause some genius decided lighting the National Christmas Tree was more important than keeping Constitution Avenue open in the middle of rush hour.

The Feds, in the current administration at least, couldn't care less about the needs of the local commuters. They're more about the pomp than the consequences.

Posted by: Arlington Gay | September 9, 2008 7:27 PM | Report abuse

ROOSEVELT bridge, is what I meant of course.

Posted by: Arlington Gay | September 9, 2008 7:29 PM | Report abuse

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