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Get There: May 24, 2009 - May 30, 2009

Traffic Alert: Slow Going on 14th Street Bridge

Workers are setting up the northbound span for the year-long rehab scheduled to start on Monday. The slow traffic that drivers are encountering right now may well be a preview of the travel experience for much of this year. 14th St. Bridge Project      • Work Overview    • Live Bridge Cam    • Project Twitter Feed    • Full Coverage Right now, traffic coming up I-395 toward the bridge's regular northbound lanes (not HOV) is being pushed over to the left by a string of orange cones. This is causing a slowdown back to the 3B ramp, as drivers figure out how to merge before reaching the bridge. The HOV lanes look fine. Cars coming up from the northbound George Washington Parkway onto the northbound bridge are having no trouble right now. What they encounter is a new concrete barrier on their right, which is blocking off the old right lane on...

By Robert Thomson  |  May 30, 2009; 2:16 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  14th street bridge  | Tags: 14th street bridge  
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Weekend Delays Likely at Beltway/Telegraph Rd.

Stay away from the Capital Beltway at Telegraph Road this weekend. There are some good things happening with new ramps opening, but in the process there are plenty of lane closures from Friday night into Monday morning. Click for larger image of Telegraph Road ramp improvements. (Wilson Bridge Project) The inner loop's Thru and Local Lanes will go down to one lane each and the ramp from Telegraph Road north to the inner loop will close till 5 a.m. Monday. Ramp detour: Continue north past the ramp, turn right on Pershing Avenue, right on Stovall Avenue, right on Eisenhower Avenue, right onto Mill Road and right onto Telegraph Road South to the inner loop. Meanwhile, the ramp from the outer loop to Telegraph Road south will be closed till 10 p.m. Saturday. Detour: Take the Telegraph Road North exit, go right on Pershing Avenue, right on Stovall Avenue, right on...

By Robert Thomson  |  May 29, 2009; 3:51 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (6)
Categories:  Advisories , Congestion , Construction , Driving  
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The Weekend and Beyond

The Capital Weather Gang says it will be a decent weekend for traveling around the Washington area. Here's some advice for the weekend and the near future. Metrorail Delays Orange Line: Add at least a half hour to a normal trip time between Stadium-Armory and Cheverly this weekend. Crews will be working on the tracks outside Cheverly and will be doing maintenance on the rail bridge outside Minnesota Avenue. Trains in both directions will share a track around the work zones until the midnight closing on Sunday. Telegraph Road Interchange While Capital Beltway drivers continue to struggle with the construction bottleneck at Telegraph Road, there are signs of progress this weekend on this last part of the Wilson Bridge Project. The interchange will have two new ramps from the outer loop that should smooth travel for many of the 46,000 motorists who use the area each day. The elevated ramps...

By Robert Thomson  |  May 29, 2009; 10:56 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  Advisories  
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Transit Alert: Escalators Back at Glenmont

8:34 a.m. update: Escalators back online, Metro says. Earlier this morning: Metro says all the escalators at the Red Line's Glenmont Station are out of service this morning. Metro also lists the station elevators as out of service. (See the systemwide list here.) The station is still open, and you can use the escalators as stairs, but be careful, because they're not really designed for that. Shuttle bus service has been established, Metro says....

By Robert Thomson  |  May 29, 2009; 6:51 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Commuting , Metro  
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Traffic Alert: I-66 West Ramp to Southbound Rt. 29 Blocked in Va.

The I-66 westbound ramp onto U.S. 29 in Va. is blocked by a jackknifed tractor trailer....

By Washington Post Editors  |  May 29, 2009; 6:24 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Advisories  
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Metro Board Puts Aside Food Vendor Issue

Board members asked the transit authority staff this morning to come back with more information to address their concerns about the station vending plan, but they said they don't want to see a proposal that includes food sales. (See previous entry.) They do want to see a retail vending plan that focuses on small businesses. Some more specific information about the design of the vendor setups and about station locations would be welcome, they said. They expressed concerns about trash removal, as well. Opposition to the food vendor portion of the vending plan was overwhelming among the riders that I heard from. They just said no. It exposed the underlying problem: Riders don't trust Metro to enforce its most basic rules. They also don't trust each other to obey the rules. The board members clearly heard what the riders were saying, but many also had their own strong views against...

By Robert Thomson  |  May 28, 2009; 10:48 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (11)
Categories:  Metro  
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Now: Metro Considering Station Vendor Plan

Metro Assistant General Manager Nat Bottigheimer presented the plan to Metro board members at the transit authority's downtown headquarters. He says the problem when Metro asked for vendor proposals three years ago is that food was excluded. It's the most lucrative opportunity for vendors, so only three proposals were received and none was satisfactory. That's why the staff is coming back today with a plan that includes food sales. He said the staff is well aware of the concerns you've raised about the food issue and will return to the board to review the plans when the vendor proposals come in. David Alpert of the Riders' Advisory Council said to the board's customer service committee just now that he's personally optimistic about the plan. He said he hopes the staff will cast a wide net to find a variety of vendors. RAC members expressed concerns about more eating and drinking...

By Robert Thomson  |  May 28, 2009; 10:10 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
Categories:  Metro  
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GW Parkway Project Starts Next Week

The park service plans to begin a construction project next week on the northbound side of the George Washington Parkway, near the Spout Run Parkway split, and on Spout Run Parkway. You should be fine during peak periods. Look for lane closings between 9:30 a.m. and 2:45 p.m. weekdays. There may be work on weekends, too. During construction, one lane will remain open at all times, the park service says. The project, which is scheduled to be done by late summer, will secure the rock slope on the left side of the northbound lanes of GW Parkway near the split to Spout Run. Workers also will repair the Spout Run Bridge and culvert....

By Robert Thomson  |  May 28, 2009; 9:31 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Construction , Driving  
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Traffic Alert: SB Kenilworth Ave. Backed Up in SE

Southbound Kenilworth Ave. in Southeast D.C. is facing delays at Pennsylvania Ave. because of an accident that has been moved to the shoulder. The accident is also causing back ups on the Baltimore-Washington Pkwy. beginning after Rt. 450. Westbound 50 also slows after Rt. 410 to Kenilworth Ave....

By Washington Post Editors  |  May 28, 2009; 9:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Advisories  
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14th Street Bridge Update: Lanes Open For Commute

14th St. Bridge Project      • Work Overview    • Live Bridge Cam    • Project Twitter Feed    • Full Coverage The VDOT traffic camera on the south side of the Potomac shows that traffic is flowing as usual across the northbound span. All lanes are open till 10 a.m. At that point, crews are scheduled to close a single lane until 2:30 p.m. Through the weekend, the roadway will be undergoing preparation for the first phase of the year-long rehabilitation. The preliminary work includes restriping of the lane markers and placement of concrete barriers for the upcoming lane shifts. Only the regular traffic lanes northbound are affected by this work. Once the work starts today, be particularly careful if your drive takes you northbound on the George Washington Parkway and onto the northbound bridge. You'll likely find more congestion than you normally would at midday as you maneuver left to...

By Robert Thomson  |  May 28, 2009; 6:51 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Commuting , Driving  | Tags: 14th street bridge  
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Commuter Alert: Metro Blue Line Delays at Van Dorn St.

Metro's Blue Line is delayed in both directions at Van Dorn St. because of a track malfunction....

By Washington Post Editors  |  May 28, 2009; 6:22 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Advisories  
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Report From 14th Street Bridge

Noontime traffic was light approaching the northbound work zone. (Thomson) It wasn't so bad, at noon on this first day of the year-long rehab of the northbound span. I was in the midday work zone at noon. Traffic was light on I-395. It slowed considerably as we got right onto the span, but continued to move well. This was my main concern: The signs leading up to the work zone are not attention-getting. See the "Keep Left" photo with this entry. There were a couple of other orange rectangles on either side of the roadway and an overhead message board that looked like puzzle pieces, but actually had words on it. "Keep Left" sign near bridge. (Thomson) This was the scene: A truck blocked the right lane and workers were placing orange cones from south to north. Drivers coming up I-395 had no problem with this. Drivers coming up...

By Robert Thomson  |  May 27, 2009; 12:57 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  Congestion , Construction , Driving  | Tags: 14th street bridge  
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Metro Posting Signs For 'Next Bus' Return

A lot of the old signs were still visible at many bus stops, but Metro says it's posting thousands more as it prepares to relaunch the Next Bus system on July 1. Look for stop and phone number. (Metro photo) It's a relaunch because last time the thing didn't work. The system is supposed to show people when the next couple of buses are scheduled to arrive at their stop, but it wasn't accurate enough, so Metro GM John B. Catoe Jr. had it taken down for retooling in 2007. If this works, it will be a huge breakthrough for regional transit. There are few moments longer than those spent standing at a bus stop, looking down the road for a sign of hope that the bus is approaching. We do have some bus services now that operate every 10 minutes. That's great, but most riders aren't near those routes....

By Robert Thomson  |  May 27, 2009; 10:40 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (8)
Categories:  Metro , transit  
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Metro Board to Consider Food Vendor Proposal

Dear Dr. Gridlock: I use the Metro system often, boarding at the Silver Spring Station. It has become more and more obvious that the "no food/drink" policy is being ignored. Riders of all ages routinely board the Metro carrying food and drink. And while not all eat or drink while riding, I have witnessed at least one person doing so every time I have been on the Metro this year. Wrappers, gum on the floors/carpets, and stains attest to the disregard of the policy and fellow passengers. To make things worse, the free newspapers available at the stations add to the mess. Food vendors at the Metro stations? No! Paul H. Parent Silver Spring I'm no fan of eating and drinking on the trains. (Reading is okay, as long as people take the papers with them.) But I think it's possible we have our cake and not eat it till...

By Robert Thomson  |  May 27, 2009; 9:55 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (11)
Categories:  Metro , transit  
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Traffic Alert: The Ramp From I-495 SB to I-66 W Closed

The ramp from I-495 SB to I-66 W in Fairfax County will be closed for the next 30-60 minutes as police clear a three-car accident....

By Washington Post Editors  |  May 27, 2009; 8:06 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Advisories  
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Traffic Alert: Accident Cleared on I-495 SB at Telegraph Rd.

An accident and a stalled vehicle blocking three lanes on the inner loop of the Beltway at Telegraph Rd. have been cleared. Delays begin at Rt. 210. The outer loops slows from Van Dorn St....

By Washington Post Editors  |  May 27, 2009; 7:44 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Advisories  
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Traffic Alert: Major Construction Begins on 14th Street Bridge at 10 a.m.

14th St. Bridge Project      • Work Overview    • Live Bridge Cam    • Project Twitter Feed    • Full Coverage Work is scheduled to begin at 10 a.m. today on a major rehabilitation project for the 14th Street Bridge. Throughout this project, DDOT will maintain four lanes of traffic on the northbound bridge during commuting periods, but temporary off-peak lane closures will be necessary. From Wednesday, May 27, to Friday, May 29, crews will close a single lane on the northbound bridge, between 10:00 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. Crews will spend the next five days, including the weekend, preparing the roadway for the first phase of the year-long bridge project. This preliminary work will include restriping and installing barriers for the lane shifts required to maintain traffic, as well as work on the bascule span of the bridge and the operator's tower. In addition, the following lane closures will be...

By Washington Post Editors  |  May 27, 2009; 6:37 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (3)
Categories:  Advisories  | Tags: 14th Street Bridge  
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14th Street NW Reopens After Fire

Update, 3:33 p.m.: 14th Street NW has been reopened after a fire was put out, officials say. Original post, 3:00 p.m.: D.C. officials are warning motorists to avoid the area of 14th Street NW and S Street NW because of a fire. 14th Street NW is blocked and other nearby streets may also be closed....

By Mike McPhate  |  May 26, 2009; 3:00 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Advisories , Driving  
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Traffic Alert: Beltway Lane Closures in Virginia

The Wilson Bridge Project reports that the two far left lanes of the Beltway's inner loop at the Cameron Run Bridge, immediately west of the Telegraph Road Interchange, are temporarily closed to fix potholes. The continuing congestion at Telegraph Road was on the mind of a traveler today during my online discussion. Telegraph Road is the biggest bottleneck remaining in the Wilson Bridge construction project. It won't be done until 2013....

By Robert Thomson  |  May 26, 2009; 2:16 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Advisories  
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SB Fairfax County Parkway Reopens

Update, 11:39 a.m.: The southbound lanes of Fairfax County Parkway from Lee Highway to Popes Head Road are now open. Original post: 10:03 a.m.: The southbound lanes of Fairfax County Pkwy. have been closed by a large diesel fuel spill. The parkway is closed from Lee Highway to Popes Head Road until VDOT arrives with absorbent. Fire and police crews are on the scene. The area is extremely hazardous and vehicles are sliding on the roadway. The northbound lanes of Fairfax County Parkway are open....

By Washington Post Editors  |  May 26, 2009; 10:03 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Advisories  
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Join Me For Noon Discussion

The holiday bumped our usual Monday chat to today at noon. We can talk about all your traffic and transit concerns, whether it's finding a best route, picking a place to live or sharing information about a travel concern. Maybe you just want to complain about that knucklehead who splashed you with water this morning. All venting is welcome in our forum. To read the discussion, use this link. To submit a question or comment in advance, use this link....

By Robert Thomson  |  May 26, 2009; 9:30 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
 
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The Week Ahead For Highways and Transit

The weather is likely to have the most widespread impact on local travelers this shortened work week. The forecast shows stormy days, though today is probably the worst day. But if the 14th Street Bridge rehab project gets going on schedule Wednesday, its effects may well ripple out across the region. When the District shut the Douglass Bridge on South Capitol Street for a summertime rehab, I noticed this: Despite weeks of publicity, it was obvious from the head smacking and trick driving on Suitland Parkway and I-295 that many drivers had no idea what they were getting into that first day. It's quite likely we'll see a repeat performance among drivers who use the 14th Street Bridge. Work is scheduled to begin on the northbound span on Wednesday, though this weather could affect that. The District Department of Transportation says that crews will spend the first three days working...

By Robert Thomson  |  May 26, 2009; 9:10 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Construction , Driving , Metro  | Tags: 14th Street Bridge  
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Weather Alert: Heavy Rains Close Roads, Cause Flooding

Heavy rains and thunderstorms are causing flooding and accidents throughout the region this morning. Eastbound Rhode Island Ave. NE is closed between 4th and 9th St. because of flooding. Earlier, rescuers had to pull drivers from cars trapped in water beneath the Metro overpass there. Beach Drive NW is also closed by flooding between Blagden Ave. and Ross Dr. Roads are also closed by water in D.C. at Mt. Olivet Road, NE from West Virginia Avenue to Trinidad Ave., and in the 700 block of 13th Street, NE. The rain is also causing slow traffic on major arteries around the region. Heavy showers will continue this morning and the National Weather Service has issued a flash flood warning. Many roads have standing water and large puddles. Drivers should use caution....

By Washington Post Editors  |  May 26, 2009; 9:06 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (4)
Categories:  Advisories  
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Weather Alert: Flash Flood Warning Issued for Much of Region

The National Weather Service has issued a flash flood warning for much of the D.C. Metro area until 11:15 a.m today. Heavy rains throughout the night have caused anywhere from 2-3 inches of water accumulation in various parts of the warning area. An additional 1-2 inches of rain can be expected until 11:15 a.m today. High waters can be expected on the roadways and in low lying areas. Motorists are urged to use caution on the roadways and to NOT drive through high waters....

By Washington Post Editors  |  May 26, 2009; 7:51 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  Advisories  
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Advice on Driving in Heavy Rain

Here's what traffic experts say about navigating in the stormy weather we're having this week. -- Slow down. (You need an expert to tell you this?) Not only is it more difficult to see, but also it takes more time to stop. You may not be able to calculate your stopping distance in particular situations. -- Turn your lights on so other drivers get a better look at you. -- Do your check list: Make sure the car windows and lights are clear before you start driving. Tires good? Wipers doing their job? Got jumper cables? You want to minimize the chances you'll be pulling over and spending a lot of time out of your car in this weather. -- If your car has anti-lock brakes, don't pump them to slow down. Just apply stead pressure and let them do their job. (Another good reason to slow down and maintain...

By Robert Thomson  |  May 26, 2009; 7:40 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (3)
Categories:  Driving  
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