The Weekend and Beyond
Weekend Metrorail Delays
Blue Line riders between Stadium-Armory and Addison Road should add at least 20 minutes to their usual travel times because Metro workers will be replacing a floating slab that supports the tracks. Trains will be sharing a single track to get around the work zone from 10 p.m. Friday through the system's closing at midnight Sunday.
Metrorail Opening Early Saturday
It's for the Help the Homeless Walkathon, which begins at 9 a.m. So the trains will start running at 6 a.m. to accommodate the crowds.
The annual walk takes place between 7th and 14th streets NW on the mall and around the Tidal Basin. Best station exits: L'Enfant Plaza on the Blue, Orange, Yellow and Green lines; Archives-Navy Memorial Station on the Green and Yellow lines; Smithsonian Station on the Blue and Orange lines; Gallery Place-Chinatown Station
on the Red, Yellow and Green lines.
Station parking: Because it's the weekend, parking is free at the lots and garages operated by Metro.
Speed Enforcement on Beltway
Drivers on the Capital Beltway between Springfield and the Wilson Bridge should pay close attention to the speed limit signs during the day on Monday and Tuesday. This will be the first full day test of Virginia's Variable Speed Limit program in that zone.
The program, designed to maximize the safe flow of traffic through the Telegraph Road work zone, started over the summer, but operated mostly at night, so many commuters are still unfamiliar with it.
Watch for electronically displayed speed limit signs that can vary the speed limit depending on the degree of congestion ahead of you. State police will be watching them, too.
While your holiday trip may go slowly, it won't be because of construction and maintenance projects around Washington. The region's highway departments won't set up construction work zones during the peak travel periods this week.
Metro plans to suspend its usual track maintenance for the holiday weekend, so the trains won't be delayed.
D.C. Bridge Project
The District has just begun an extensive rehabilitation of the 9th Street and 10th Street SW Bridges over I-395.
The project, scheduled to last a year, has closed the 9th Street Bridge. The 10th Street Bridge and the two ramp bridges from the 9th Street tunnel to I-395 will remain open during most of the construction, but some temporary closures may be necessary, the District Department of Transportation says. Sometimes, the lane configurations in the 9th Street tunnel will be changed.
Among other things, the concrete bridge deck on the 9th Street Bridge will be replaced, and a new walkway and staircase will be built to Frontage Road at L'Enfant Plaza. The 10th Street Bridge's beams will be repaired. Drivers also will see new roadway lighting and a new surface on the bridges.
Metrochek Program Ending
After next week, employee commuter benefits will no longer be issued in the form of paper Metrocheks. Employees who use the electronic SmarTrip fare cards can have their benefits transferred directly onto the SmarTrip cards.
Those employees whose transit services don't accept the SmarTrip cards can receive their benefits in the form of SmartBenefitsÖ vouchers. Those vouchers come in $1, $10 and $30 denominations.
HOT Lanes Project
The Virginia Department of Transportation has begun nighttime demolition work on the Route 29 bridge over the Capital Beltway, a project that will take about three more weeks to complete. This is one of several segments of work underway to build the high occupancy or toll (HOT) lanes on the western side of the Beltway in Virginia.
Fairfax County Parkway
Ground was broken on Oct. 31 for the final two-mile section of the Fairfax County Parkway through the Engineering Proving Ground. When construction on the first two of the project's four phases is done in 2010, drivers will have a direct route from Route 1 to Route 7.
Drivers have noticed several developments in the construction of the intercounty connector highway across Montgomery and Prince George's counties.
The Maryland State Highway Administration is working on a highway bridge over Shady Grove Road between I-370 and Route 115. This segment of the six-lane connector highway project stretches from I-370 to east of Georgia Avenue and is scheduled to open late 2010 or early 2011.
Along Interstate 95, southbound traffic between Sandy Spring Road and Calverton Road was shifted to prepare the way for construction of an intercounty connector interchange. This zone of the connector highway project stretches from Route 29 to I-95 and is scheduled to open in late 2011 or early 2012.
Traffic on Rockville Pike at Montrose Parkway and Randolph Road has been shifted to a newly constructed temporary roadway. The temporary road, which has the same number of lanes as the pike, was created to allow construction of a new interchange.
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