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Get There: December 21, 2008 - December 27, 2008

The Weekend and Beyond

Happy Holidays, everyone. Here's a look at what's coming up that may affect your travels. No Track Work There are no scheduled maintenance projects to slow your travels on Metrorail this weekend or next. Paper Transfers Ending Metro and many of the suburban bus systems will end the use of paper transfers next Jan. 4. Our Commuter page for Jan. 4 will focus on the consequences for riders, but basically, a free bus-to-bus transfer will be available only by using the SmarTrip electronic fare card during a three-hour window after the first fare is paid. Also starting Jan. 4, train and bus riders will notice that they get the same 50 cent discount whether transferring from rail to bus or bus to rail. Greenway Tolls Increasing On Thursday, the basic toll will increase by 40 cents to $3.40 for two-axle vehicles at the Mainline Plaza/Route 28, Ox Road and Loudoun...

By Robert Thomson  |  December 26, 2008; 8:42 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
Categories:  Advisories  
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Advice for Holiday Driving

The region's transportation departments have suspended their highway work for the holidays. The Virginia Department of Transportation ended its scheduled lane closures today on Interstate 95. They will not resume until 9:30 a.m. Monday. Interstate lane closures will be lifted again between Dec. 31 and Jan. 5. The Maryland State Highway Administration has no scheduled lane closures today through Sunday, and again Dec. 31 through Jan. 4. Many of you will be traveling far and may encounter difficult driving conditions, perhaps for the first time this winter. Some things to remember: Driving on ice is trickier than driving on snow. Even a four-wheel drive doesn't do particularly well. Maintain safe speeds and distances. Road conditions can change very quickly, especially at bridges and overpasses, going from wet to icy to snowy. Keep a safe distance from snow clearing and salting machines. Give the snow plow drivers plenty of room to...

By Robert Thomson  |  December 23, 2008; 2:00 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Getaway  
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Holidays at Motor Vehicles Offices

If you have end of the month business with the motor vehicle offices in our region, note the limited schedules. All the offices in Maryland, Virginia and the District are closed on the Christmas and New Year's holidays. But the Maryland and Virginia offices take other days off as well. VirginiaAll Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles customer service centers will be closed Wednesday through Saturday this week and reopen on Monday, Dec. 29. Then they will be closed beginning at 1 p.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 31, New Year's Eve. The offices will remain closed on Thursday, Jan. 1 and Friday, Jan. 2. Maryland The MVA offices and VEIP (emissions test) stations also will be closed Friday, Dec. 26, and Friday, Jan. 2. The District The DMV offices follow their normal schedules all week, with the exception of the Christmas holiday. Same for next week, with the exception of the New...

By Robert Thomson  |  December 23, 2008; 12:02 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Advisories , Driving  
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Twitter Users React to Water Main Break

A massive water main break at River Road this morning has prompted chatter on the micro-blogging service Twitter. Here's a sample of the Tweets: gregsblog: is watching the wall of water cascading down River Road...amazing scene. Thank goodness no one was killed. kangkanglanlan: It's kinda ironic the water rescue happened on "River" Road... It really looked like a flood. Glad everyone got rescued now! organicmania: Thinking how strange to see my town in Twitter trending topics...now I know why my water pressure is so low! yaniksilver: crazy 5 foot+ water mane break 5 min from our house. See the stream of local tweets. Live Video | Helicopter Rescues | Artery Blocked...

By Washington Post Editors  |  December 23, 2008; 10:26 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
 
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Main Break at River Road Disrupts Traffic

Update, 11:25 a.m.: WSSC reports it will require 2-3 hours to isolate the water main break and possibly an additional 4 hours to re-pressurize water in Montgomery County. Water quality has not been impacted. Original post: At 9 a.m., River Road is closed to all traffic around Fenway Drive near the village of Potomac because a large main ruptured and poured out a torrent of water for several blocks onto the roadway. This will disrupt travel for a long time. River Road is a major east-west commuter route, linking the Maryland suburbs with the Capital Beltway and the District. The problem is near River Road's intersections with Bradley Boulevard to the west and Seven Locks Road to the east. The Congressional Country Club is on the south side of River Road in this area. This is a link to our story. Our Traffic page has updates on congestion, as well...

By Robert Thomson  |  December 23, 2008; 9:05 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Advisories , Driving  
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Water Main Break on River Road Traps Drivers in Cars

A major water main break near River Road has left several vehicles stuck in the flooding water. See live footage of the water rescue here. To read more on the water rescue check out this WTOP story. River Road is currently closed between Bradley Boulevard and Seven Locks Road. For live traffic updates see the traffic alert page....

By Washington Post Editors  |  December 23, 2008; 8:37 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (8)
 
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Ride On Plans Bus Service Cuts

Montgomery County is making cuts to close a fiscal 2010 budget gap that's expected to be $250 million, and the county's bus service is one of the targets. The county will hold a public hearing about the Ride On cut proposals on Jan. 13, starting at 6:30 p.m., at the Executive Office Building Auditorium, 101 Monroe St., Rockville. These are the proposed cuts. Route 4: Eliminate weekday midday - 10 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Route 6: Eliminate weekday midday - 10 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Route 18: Reduce weekday midday frequencies between Takoma Park and Langley Park from 15 to 30 minutes. Route 26: Eliminate Saturday and Sunday service to Trolley Museum Route 43: Reduce weekday midday frequencies from 20 to 30 minutes between 10 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. Route 63: Abbreviate midday service, with service to the County Health Department on Piccard Drive maintained. Route 75: Weekday service will...

By Robert Thomson  |  December 23, 2008; 6:56 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  transit  
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Delays on I-270 SB After Tractor-Trailer Accident

Update, 4:32 p.m.: All accident activity has been moved to the right shoulder. Delays are brief. Update, 3:32 p.m.: The left lane is now getting by at the scene. All northbound lanes are open. Original post: All southbound lanes of Interstate 270 near Route 121 were closed as of 3:05 p.m. today after a tractor-trailer overturned, Montgomery County authorities said. The accident occurred shortly after 2 p.m., said Capt. Oscar Garcia, a spokesman for the Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service. The driver's injuries were thought to be serious, and it took rescue workers about 45 minutes to get him out of the truck. "He's talking to us," Garcia said. No other vehicles were involved. Rescue workers were working to clean diesel fuel that spilled from the truck, Garcia said. See live traffic updates. -- By Dan Morse...

By Mike McPhate  |  December 22, 2008; 3:26 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Advisories , Commuting , Congestion , Driving , highways  
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Metro Needs to Know Results of Card Giveaway

Last winter, amid concerns about the impact of bus fare increases and the eventual elimination of paper transfers, the transit authority decided to give 50,000 SmarTrip cards to government social service agencies, which would in turn hand them out to local social service groups that people in need. As the Metro board of directors looked ahead last week to the Jan. 4 end of the paper transfers, it decided to give out another 50,000 cards to the agencies. The cards have a value of $5 each. [See second item in Lena Sun's transit notebook.] The giveaway is a good idea. I joined many others in saying so last winter. But Metro needs to know that those cards are getting to the intended recipients. And so far, it doesn't. The intended recipients include low-income people who take at least two buses to get to work. Many have paid the first fares...

By Robert Thomson  |  December 22, 2008; 8:14 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (8)
Categories:  Metro  
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