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Traffic Alert: Disruptions in 14th Street Area

Update, 7:57 p.m.: 14th Street has reopened at Constitution Avenue but remains blocked at Independence Avenue. Traffic has eased on Constitution but still is heavy on Independence.

Outbound traffic is reaching 14th St Bridge southbound via Wallenberg Place.

Original post, 2:12 p.m.: This is a major disruption in traffic, as a consequence of police action following the shootings at the Holocaust Museum. Avoid the 14th Street area around the Mall, whether you're leaving the District or heading toward it. There's a lot of police activity, and streets are likely to be closed through the afternoon rush.

Use either the 9th Street or -- better -- the Third Street tunnel under the Mall to reach the Southeast-Southwest Freeway (I-395) and then either I-295 or the 14th Street Bridge, or take the Roosevelt Bridge to I-66 and the northbound George Washington Parkway. [5:45 p.m. update: U.S. Park Police say GW Parkway is closed between Route 123 and Spout Run.] Drivers might also take South Capitol Street to the Douglass Bridge over the Anacostia River to reach I-295.

But don't expect an easy trip anywhere downtown. It appears that many people are leaving their offices early and contributing to the traffic congestion.

"Our traffic operations folks report New York Avenue and most major arterials are backed up and congested," John Lisle, spokesman for the District Department of Transportation, said at 3 p.m. "We are seeing a tremendous traffic surge on all corridors. We have gone to rush hour timing plans on all major corridors and we have 12 TCOs [traffic control officers] deployed around the closures to help detour traffic."

The 14th Street Bridge northbound, which had been closed, has reopened, but traffic cannot use the exit for 14th Street. Vehicles can go to the Southeast-Southwest Freeway and reach downtown Washington that way. Also, 14th Street downtown is closed between Constitution Avenue and D Street. Traffic on Constitution is jammed heading west toward the Roosevelt Bridge, as well as east toward 14th Street.

Other streets to avoid:
-- Independence Avenue from 15th to 12th Streets SW
-- 15th Street from Maine Avenue to Independence Ave SW

Commuter Buses
Maryland Commuter Bus riders: Delays are expected on many Commuter Bus routes this afternoon. The Maryland Transit Administration recommends bus numbers 907, 909, and 922. Riders who use Independence at 14th, 12th, and LEnfant should move to the stop on Independence between 7th & 6th until the roadways reopen.
OmniRide: Buses will operate on the Emergency Service Plan this afternoon. Passengers returning to the eastern side of Prince William County should ride Metro to the Franconia-Springfield Metro station, where OmniRide buses will be waiting to pick them up. Those traveling to the Manassas area should ride Metro to the West Falls Church Metro station and meet the PRTC buses there. All OmniRide and Metro Direct fares this afternoon will be free. (Metro fares are in effect.)

These Metrobus lines are being detoured: 30's, 50's and the V7.

The shootings also prompted Metro to deploy transit police to Smithsonian Station, the closest Metrorail station to the Holocaust Museum, to "secure it" and help with any panicked tourists, a Metro transit police source said. The station remains open.

Here's a map of the area.

View Larger Map

Road Essentials:  Incident Map  |  Traffic Cams   |   Key Routes

By Robert Thomson  |  June 10, 2009; 2:12 PM ET
Categories:  Commuting , Congestion  | Tags: Holocaust Museum shootings, traffic congestion  
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Why is a MAJOR bridge closed because a road almost a mile away is the site of an incident???

There's absolutely no excuse to close a primary link across the Potomac because of an incident at the Holocaust museum. At the very least, the could close access to 14th street from both northbound spans, which would still allow traffic across the bridge and onto the Southeast/Southwest Freeway. This closure is simply ABSURD, and further solidifies the fact that officials in this area ALWAYS overreact to incidents!

Posted by: Russtinator | June 10, 2009 2:29 PM | Report abuse

Your right this completely makes no sense. I'm watching the traffic now. This is a definite overreaction. The perp is already in custody.

Posted by: roger_arlington | June 10, 2009 2:53 PM | Report abuse

The media frenzy is blocking the roads. They don't want people driving in on 14th Street and backing up on the bridge when the run into CNN.

Posted by: NTMel | June 10, 2009 3:40 PM | Report abuse

Are they letting people turn left onto 15th northbound from Independence?

Posted by: j-man1 | June 10, 2009 3:42 PM | Report abuse

As long as you're reporting on commuter buses: PRTC OmniRide buses are not serving DC this evening. Buses are running on the Emergency Service Plan. Riders should go to the Franconia-Springfield Metro Station for service to eastern Prince William County and the West Falls Church Metro Station for service to the Manassas area.

See for details.

Posted by: nevermindtheend | June 10, 2009 3:46 PM | Report abuse

From Dr. Gridlock: Thank you,nevermindtheend, I added PRTC into the posting.

Posted by: rtthomson1 | June 10, 2009 4:00 PM | Report abuse

Dr. Gridlock and fellow commenter, please learn the difference between your and you're.

Posted by: lcox2 | June 10, 2009 4:21 PM | Report abuse

where can we find out the detour routes for the 30 buses?

Posted by: DaniGeo1 | June 10, 2009 6:36 PM | Report abuse

I think they may close it in part to keep sightseers away. They would just clog up the area otherwise. Give them the benefit of the doubt.

Posted by: Bitter_Bill | June 10, 2009 7:58 PM | Report abuse

BTW, Independence going across 12 to 15th was more of a breeze than usual. Thanks for scaring everyone off!!

Of course, I got mine back on the Whitehurst freeway. Not one, but three cars decided to stop on the roadway for problems--one unclear, the other a pair involved in a rear-ender. Can't you struggle up to the gas station folks?

Posted by: ah___ | June 10, 2009 8:53 PM | Report abuse

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