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Get There: February 1, 2009 - February 7, 2009

The Weekend and Beyond

Here are some suggestions about your weekend travels and upcoming transportation issues. Metro Delays Red Line riders between Silver Spring and Forest Glen should add at least 20 minutes of travel time this weekend. Between 8 o'clock tonight and midnight Sunday, crews will be replacing the rail fasteners that stabilize tracks. So trains from both directions will take turns on a single track to get around the work zone. Pentagon Station Closing Next Weekend Over the President's Day weekend, Metrorail riders who normally go through the Pentagon Station on the Blue or Yellow lines will encounter a disruption. The transit authority plans to rebuild a rail switch, and the project will completely close the station from 10 p.m. Friday, Feb. 13, through midnight Monday, Feb. 16. Metro will operate a free shuttle bus service between the Pentagon City, Pentagon, and L'Enfant Plaza Metrorail stations to get riders around the closure....

By Robert Thomson  |  February 6, 2009; 9:45 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (5)
Categories:  Advisories  
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Columbia Pike WB Reopened After Gas Leak

Update, 4:30 p.m.: Westbound lanes have been reopened. All eastbound lanes are also open. Original post, 2:30 p.m.: Columbia Pike westbound is closed from South Glebe Road to South Monroe Street because of an outside gas leak. Fire officials are on the scene. Police are assisting with traffic control. The shutdown is expected to last less than an hour. See live traffic alerts....

By Mike McPhate  |  February 5, 2009; 2:30 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Advisories , Congestion , Driving , Safety  
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Crime Scene Closes I-270 Exit in Germantown

The Father Hurley Boulevard exit on I-270 is closed this morning while police investigate a body found early Thursday morning, according to a NewsChannel8 report. Traffic remains slow on I-270 and commuters should allow for extra time, according to the traffic alert page. Commuters in Northwest D.C. are also experiencing slowness around MacArthur Boulevard because of a water main break....

By Washington Post Editors  |  February 5, 2009; 7:14 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
 
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Water Main Break Blocks MacArthur Boulevard

Work crews address a water main break in the 4700 block of MacArthur Blvd. (Gerald Martineau/Post) Update, 4:24 p.m.: The westbound lanes of MacArthur Boulevard remain closed between 47th Place NW and Reservoir Road. One eastbound lane is open. Work crews are at the scene, but repairs are not expected to be completed before the afternoon rush hour. Original post, 6:11 a.m.: A broken water main shut down MacArthur Boulevard in Northwest Washington last night and the disruption continues this morning. Right lane traffic gets by while all of the outbound lanes are blocked. Commuters are being directed to turn right onto 47th Place and make a left on Reservoir Road to get back to MacArthur. Another break in Southeast on Benning Road between C Street and East Capitol Street is also blocking traffic, according to a NewsChannel8 report. Check the traffic alert page for live commuter updates....

By Washington Post Editors  |  February 5, 2009; 6:11 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Advisories  
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Icy Streets Could Endanger Motorists

Icy conditions in Loudoun County last week. (Tracy A. Woodward/Post) With possible snow showers lingering into the evening, District officials are warning drivers to brace for slippery roads. The city's snow team will deploy with 100 plows to treat roadways, bridges, overpasses and ramps at 7 p.m., officials said. Officials are offering the following reminders: -- Driving on ice is much more treacherous than driving on snow. -- Use extreme caution and maintain safe speeds and distances from other vehicles. -- Even a 4-wheel drive SUV does not perform well on ice. -- Be aware of black ice which can give drivers' a false sense of security on the road. -- Watch for slippery bridge decks, even when the rest of the pavement is in good condition. Bridge decks will ice up sooner than the adjacent pavement. -- Keep a safe distance from emergency and snow vehicles and use caution...

By Mike McPhate  |  February 4, 2009; 5:06 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  Advisories , Driving  
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Hearing Thursday on Crosstown Bus Routes

It's a very active time for the region's bus route planners. There's a public meeting Thursday night about the future of the popular but challenged D lines that take people east-west across Washington. The routes serve many areas that are not near Metrorail stations. At the meeting, Metro plans to share its preliminary findings and listen to comments on its "D" Routes Study, about how to improve service on the D1, D2, D3, D4, D5, D6 and D8 lines. The transit authority has developed a good pattern in evaluating its bus services: Listen to riders and bus drivers about what needs fixing. The Thursday meeting, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m., is on the lobby level at Metro headquarters, 600 5th St. NW. It's near the Gallery Place and Judiciary Square stations, as well stops on Metrobus routes D1, D3 and D6. People can also submit comments and suggestions online or...

By Robert Thomson  |  February 4, 2009; 12:46 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Metro , transit  
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Metrobus Handing Over Some Routes

The District and Fairfax County are planning to take over some lines that have been operated by Metro and convert them to local bus routes. So the transit authority has scheduled hearings on discontinuing its version of the service. The District Metro will hold a hearing on Thursday, Feb. 19, about ending its N22 service between Union Station, Eastern Market and Navy Yard. That line, which provided an alternative way of reaching Nationals Park last baseball season, would be taken over by the District's Circulator bus on March 29. The public hearing will begin at 6:30 p.m., at Metro's headquarters, 600 5th St. NW. Fairfax County The Fairfax Connector plans to take over Metrobus routes 2W, 12A-S and 20F-Y. The transit authority has scheduled a public hearing on ending the Metrobus operations for Wednesday, Feb. 18. The will start at 7 p.m. in the Centreville Public Library, 14200 Saint Germain...

By Robert Thomson  |  February 4, 2009; 11:23 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
Categories:  Metro , transit  
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Midday Delays on Route 50 in Fairfax

Expect delays on Route 50 in Fairfax County through 3 p.m. The Virginia Department of Transportation says crews are filling potholes in both directions between Route 28 and Interstate 66. They use a truck they call the "Pothole Killer" to do the patch jobs. The work involves closing a single lane if the patching is being done in the right or left lanes. But if the crew is in the middle lane, then two lanes will be closed. VDOT says they'll be done before the evening rush starts. Because we're in the middle of winter, a lot of the road work across the region now consists of these small projects, like pothole patching. The crews doing these jobs often are not working behind the relative safety of concrete barriers. Sometimes, they've just got some orange cones between them and oncoming motorists. So please be extra careful. Here's a map showing...

By Robert Thomson  |  February 4, 2009; 11:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  Advisories  
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Is Winter Courtesy So Hard?

Looks like we're in for nasty weather. It's not a major storm, but some of you may see an inch of snow on Tuesday. (See Capital Weather Gang.) Damage done when packed snow slid off roof of van in next lane. (Photo courtesy of Karen Henry) I've received several letters since last week's snow and ice storm noting a widespread inability to remove percipitation from anything other than the front windshield. Here's a perfect example of the dangers, along with the illustration the letter writer submitted. Dear Dr. Gridlock: My husband, father-in-law and twin 3-year-olds were driving south on Interstate 95 on their way home after spending a nice morning at the Baltimore B&O Railroad Museum, when a large chunk of ice-packed snow blew off of a minivan roof from the next lane over. My husband knew he couldn't swerve right or left for fear of hitting another car, and...

By Robert Thomson  |  February 2, 2009; 3:40 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (9)
Categories:  Weather  
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Construction: DC Closing Lanes on I-395

Demolition work on the 9th Street SW Bridge near L'Enfant Plaza will require lane closings on Interstate 395 starting tonight, says the District Department of Transportation. The left and center lanes under the bridge on the southbound side of the freeway will be closed from 8 p.m. to midnight each night. And on Thursday and Friday, there also will be single-lane daytime closures on northbound I-395 under the bridge. The far left lane will be closed from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on both days. Watch for the variable message signs that will direct traffic around the lane closures. This is part of a year-long project that began in November. DDOT is rehabilitating the 9th and 10th Street bridges. Here's a map of the area. View Larger Map...

By Robert Thomson  |  February 2, 2009; 2:25 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  Advisories , Construction  
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Metro Alert: McPherson Reopens After Smoke Report

Update, 12:46 p.m.: McPherson Square station has reopened after a cable burned out in an ancillary room, releasing smoke into the station, officials said. Trains are single-tracking on the Orange and Blue lines between Farragut West and Federal Triangle stations. Original post, 12:00 p.m. Metro closed down McPherson Square station on the Blue and Orange line at 11:48 a.m. because of a report of smoke coming out of an auxillary room at the station, officials said. Trains are turning back at Farragut West and Federal Triangle, and shuttle buses have been requested. Delays are expected in both directions. Fire and emergency officials arrived on the scene just before noon. Blue and Orange line trains are also not stopping at Metro Center. -- Lena Sun...

By Mike McPhate  |  February 2, 2009; 12:00 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (3)
Categories:  Advisories , Commuting , Metro  
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Traffic Alert: Suitland Parkway Reopens After Accident

Update, 11:53 a.m.: Suitland Pkwy SE has fully reopened. Original post, 11:03 a.m.: All eastbound lanes are closed between Firth Sterling SE and Stanton Road SE after a traffic accident. See live traffic updates....

By Mike McPhate  |  February 2, 2009; 11:03 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Advisories , Congestion , Driving  
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Demand for Gas Continues Decline

January, with its bad economics and bad weather, was a slow month for gasoline use, according to AAA's regular survey. Citing the Federal Highway Administration, AAA said people in this country drove fewer miles for the 13th consecutive month. That decline in demand is likely to continue in February. The price of gas nationwide was $1.85 a gallon, according to AAA's weekly report. It held pretty steady after three straight weeks of slight increases. In the Washington area, the average price last week was $1.84, up from $1.81 the previous week, but not bad considering that a year ago it was $2.95. AAA-MidAtlantic notes that the U.S. Department of Energy reported gasoline demand down 1.7 percent from last January, with inventory going up. "The recent strength in the prices of both oil and gasoline remain somewhat surprising to industry analysts and American drivers," John B. Townsend, AAA Mid-Atlantic's manager of...

By Robert Thomson  |  February 2, 2009; 8:31 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (3)
Categories:  Driving  
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Traffic Alert: D.C. Street Closings for Parade

Watch for traffic congestion in downtown Washington this afternoon. The Chinese New Year parade starts at 2 p.m. in the 500 block of I (Eye) Street NW and ends in the 600 block of H Street NW. (See map.) Police will close streets in the blocks around the parade route. The nearest Metro station is Gallery Place, on the Red, Green and Yellow lines. (The Capitals have a game at Verizon Center, above Gallery Place Station, starting at 12:30 p.m.)...

By Robert Thomson  |  February 1, 2009; 11:41 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Advisories  
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