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The Weekend and Beyond

Here are some suggestions for your President's Day weekend planning and advice about upcoming transportation issues. Use this link to see The Post's status report on traffic, transit and parking for the holiday

Metrorail Disruption
The transit authority will use the long weekend to replace a switch at Pentagon Station. The station will be shut completely from 10 o'clock tonight through midnight Monday, when the rail system closes. No trains will go through.

This will have a big impact on people riding the Blue and Yellow lines between the District and Virginia, because they will have to get off the trains and board shuttle buses to get around the closed station.

See more details in this statement from Metro, and in this earlier posting on Get There. Note that Metro's Trip Planner, normally a very useful tool for plotting out a transit trip, doesn't account for disruptions like this.

There is no service Monday on either of the commuter train lines, because of the holiday.

Route 29 in Gainesville
Route 29 under Interstate 66 in Gainesville will be shut for extended periods over the next two weeks to allow safe removal of the bridge beams over the roadway.

This is the pattern of closures this coming week.
Southbound: Closed at Heathcote Boulevard from 5:30 a.m. Tuesday through 5 p.m. Friday.
Northbound: Closed under I-66 from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. each day, Tuesday through Friday.

Here's the status of the Gainesville interchange ramps during the week's closures:
Route 29 North to I-66 East: Open at all times.
Route 29 North to I-66 West: Closed. Follow detours.
I-66 West to Route 29 South: Open at all times.
I-66 West to Route 29 North: Open at all times.
I-66 East to Route 29 South: Open at all times.
I-66 East to Route 29 North: Closed. Follow detours.

This page on VDOT's Web site has more information, including the detour directions.

Braddock Road/Beltway Interchange
Drivers will see a new traffic pattern next week at the Braddock Road/Capital Beltway interchange, as Virginia continues the construction that will create the high occupancy or toll (HOT) lanes.

The work is scheduled to start Wednesday. The westbound Braddock Road bridge over the Beltway will be demolished and traffic will be shifted to what has been the eastbound bridge, which will have two lanes in each direction.

To make room for that additional lane, the Virginia Department of Transportation says, the sidewalk will be demolished. Pedestrians will be directed to the Wakefield Park Bridge over the Beltway. Here's a map of the detour. Watch for new traffic signals coming off the Beltway ramps once this work starts.

Beltway Work
Look for lane closures along the Capital Beltway between Landover Road and Central Avenue as part of he project to turn Arena Drive into a full time interchange, rather than one used just for special events at FedEx Field. The closures can occur from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday and from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. Sunday through Thursday.

Metrorail Next Weekend
Next weekend, Red Line riders between the Silver Spring and Forest Glen should plan on adding at least 20 minutes of travel time. Workers will be replacing rail fasteners that stabilize the tracks, so trains will share a single track to get around the work zone from 8 p.m., Friday, Feb. 20, to midnight Sunday, Feb. 22.

New Express Bus
The transit authority has been tackling some of the toughest routes in its bus system, trying to figure out how to speed commuters and ease congestion. The 16 Street Line, the third most heavily traveled among the Metrobus lines, is notorious for its erratic schedule and for bunching up the buses so three arrive at the same time.

By the end of March, riders will have a new option: a rush-hour express service called the S9 will run between Silver Spring and downtown Washington.

Instead of making 82 stops from the Silver Spring Metro station to Federal Triangle or Potomac Park, the express would make 16 stops between Silver Spring Station and McPherson Square. Buses would be scheduled to arrive every 10 minutes during morning and evening rush hours. That should save six to eight minutes on travel times over the entire route.

Bus Hearings
Metro will hold public hearings in the coming week on two plans that involve canceling Metrobus routes and turning that service over to local jurisdictions.

A hearing will be held Wednesday on the proposed elimination of Metrobus routes 2W, 12A-S and 20F-Y in Fairfax County. The plan is to shift service to the Fairfax Connector. The hearing will begin at 7 p.m. at the Centreville Public Library, 14200 Saint Germain Dr., Centreville.

On Thursday, Metro will hold a hearing on the proposed elimination of Metrobus route N22, the shuttle linking Union Station, Eastern Market and the Navy Yard. The District's Circulator bus would take over that service. The hearing will begin at 6:30 p.m. at Metro's headquarters, 600 5th St. NW in the District.

MARC Tickets
The Maryland Transit Administration says Amtrak Quicktrak Ticket Vending Machines are scheduled to be installed at most MARC train stations by the end of March. The ticket machines will accept debit and major credit cards only for daily, weekly or monthly tickets. They won't take cash or vouchers.

By Robert Thomson  |  February 13, 2009; 10:22 AM ET
Categories:  Advisories  
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Next: Confess Your Commuter Sins


Anybody know if you have to pay to get back into the Metrorail system after taking the shuttle bus around Pentagon?

Posted by: ianswank | February 13, 2009 10:43 AM | Report abuse

Dear Dr G: Metro's statment says a lot about the trains but virtually nothing about the buses. Will Ride-On and Metrobuses in DC and VA be running on a regular weekeday schedule on Monday? Will the Pentagon Bus Terminal be opened for business as usual on Monday?



Posted by: KilmarockCommuter | February 13, 2009 11:55 AM | Report abuse

Dr. G,

"Next Weekend's Track Work. It's scheduled to begin at 10 p.m. Friday, Feb. 27, and continue through midnight Sunday, March 1."

That is the weekend after next. Next weekend is the 20th-22nd.

Posted by: UMDTerpsGirl | February 13, 2009 1:01 PM | Report abuse

From Dr. Gridlock: Thanks for the catch, TerpsGirl. February is a short month, but as you noted, not that short.

Posted by: Robert Thomson | February 13, 2009 1:11 PM | Report abuse

From Dr. Gridlock: Kilmarock, click on this link to an earlier posting that I hope will answer your bus questions:

Posted by: rtthomson1 | February 13, 2009 1:35 PM | Report abuse

I find it extremely frustrating that metro is shutting down the PENTAGON station during presidents weekend - till TUESDAY no less! I know of so many friends and family coming into town this weekend and will be significantly inconvenienced as their first time experience using metro from Reagan to DC will now be a rail-bus-rail chaos. This is ridiculous. Can they not run single track to at least accommodate visitors in a major metropolitan city? And metro wonders why they have poor customer service issues... and low PR perception.

Posted by: hype1 | February 13, 2009 2:29 PM | Report abuse

hype1--I don't think that's really fair. Unfortunately there is no good time to do track repair work, but our Metro system is woefully under-maintained. No matter what they do, they will inconvenience someone and they pick weekends because the ridership is significantly lower then vs weekdays. A 3-day weekend gives them an extra day of work to do longer maintenance work. If they single track, they will not get nearly as much work done as if they close the stations. It's a necessary evil unfortunately. But obviously, Metro can't win no matter what they do. They can't shut down parts of the system to do necessary work without getting complaints and if they don't, there are system failures or accidents which are always popular.

Posted by: DadWannaBe | February 13, 2009 5:56 PM | Report abuse

It's worth mentioning that New York City does the same thing when they need to do major maintenance. Despite their multi-track layout that commenters on this blog love to hype, they still shut down portions of lines on weekends to do track work.

Posted by: stuckman | February 14, 2009 7:44 PM | Report abuse


The difference is the NYC public transportation system is far more dense.

If they shut down one junction in the MTA system, then you could walk not too many blocks in another direction and pick up a train elsewhere (or a bus, or even just flag a cab).

Shutting down the Pentagon - a major hub for the two lines that originate south of the Beltway - doesn't really compare.

Yes, maintenance needs to be done. But if you're bringing up MTA, let's note that they run 24x7. Metro does not, and has inherently more time for maintenance. What they lack, is the skill.

Posted by: Chasmosaur1 | February 16, 2009 10:10 AM | Report abuse

It's a conspiracy. There is no repair-work. Jack Bauer or Chuck Norris just had some big blow-out end-of-the-world fight-to-the-death down there beneath the Pentagon and they're covering up. ;-)

The sad part is, that Jack & Chuck probably saved the country and we'll never really know. I propose that we scrap "Presidents' Day" and replace it with "Violent-Patriotic-Action-Hero" day to honor J&C.

Posted by: m1232 | February 16, 2009 5:29 PM | Report abuse

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