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Avoid Wilson Bridge Traffic This Weekend

inner loop Thru.jpg
The Thru lanes on the inner loop are scheduled to open by Monday. (Thomson)

The effort to open the bridge's Thru lanes on the Capital Beltway inner loop is scheduled to begin tonight and continue into Sunday. This is likely to cause severe congestion on the inner loop in Maryland.

The striping and sign posting to open the new lanes on the outer loop was done last weekend. Project managers say they are encouraged about by the positive impact that had on traffic flow, particularly during the afternoon peak periods when congestion on the Virginia side can be severe.

This weekend's work involves a more difficult setup for the lane openings. Starting at 9 o'clock tonight, the inner loop will shrink to a single lane from west of Branch Avenue (Route 5) to west of Telegraph Road, a stretch of about nine miles. That will continue until about noon on Sunday. Cold temperatures can slow the striping work, or even force postponement till next weekend.

Ramps to the inner loop from Interstate 295 South, National Harbor and northbound Telegraph Road also are scheduled to be closed. However, drivers leaving National Harbor after Cirque du Soleil and other activities will be able to use ramps until 11 p.m.

Ramps from the inner loop to National Harbor, Church Street and Route 1 in Alexandria also will be closed.

In addition to opening the inner loop's Thru lanes, the weekend work should result in opening new ramps to those Thru lanes from Route 210 North in Maryland and Route 1 in Virginia.

This map shows what's happening on the Maryland side.

This map shows what's happening on the Virginia side.

The closures could cost drivers three hours in backed up traffic. When the bridge project does one of these two-weekend jobs, the outer loop program is easier to manage than the inner loop version, because long distance I-95 traffic can be diverted west at Springfield so it crosses the American Legion Bridge instead. There's no similar diversion possible on the inner loop, though long distance drivers heading south would be well advised to take the Legion Bridge or Route 301's Nice Bridge across the Potomac.

Wilson Bridge Map.jpg

By Robert Thomson  |  December 12, 2008; 10:04 AM ET
Categories:  Advisories , Wilson Bridge  
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