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The Weekend and Beyond

If you venture out on what the Capital Weather Gang says will be a hot, sticky first weekend of August, here are some suggestions to guide your travels, plus some guidance for next week's commuting.

Metrorail Delays
Track maintenance is scheduled at various points on all the lines this weekend. Metro recommends adding a half hour to the time it would normally take to get through the work zones. Look here for the full list.

McCartney Concert
Paul is at FedEx Field for a concert scheduled to start at 7:30 Saturday night. During Monday's online chat, the question came up about whether the Arena Drive interchange on the Beltway will be open for the concert. No, says Chuck Gischlar, a spokesman for the Maryland State Highway Administration, the reconstruction of the interchange is still underway. That should be done in the fall.

Tennis on 16th Street
The week-long Legg Mason Tennis Classic starts today at the Carter Barron Center on 16th Street NW. The annual event creates traffic and parking issues in the upper Northwest Washington neighborhoods near Rock Creek Park. See this entry for more details.

Nats and United
The Nations and D.C. United are away. No games this weekend at Nationals Park or RFK.

Telegraph Road Interchange
Parts of the Capital Beltway/Telegraph Road interchange are scheduled to close to all traffic Tuesday and Thursday from 11 p.m. to 5 o'clock the following morning. During those hours, workers will be placing steel girders. Traffic backups are very likely, and it would be best to avoid the area.

All ramps between the Beltway and Telegraph Road will be closed with these exceptions: the ramps from the inner loop to Telegraph Road north and from the outer loop to Telegraph Road south. Drivers coming from Eisenhower Avenue and Mill Road will be able to reach the inner loop via Telegraph Road. This work is part of the Wilson Bridge project.

Bay Bridge Traffic
For everyone traveling to the Eastern Shore this month, the best times to cross the Chesapeake Bay Bridge are: before noon on Fridays, from 10 p.m. Fridays to 7 a.m. Saturdays, from 5 to 10 p.m. Saturdays, from 7 to 11 a.m. Sundays and after 10 p.m. Sundays.

If you travel during peak periods, at least have an E-ZPass to get through the toll plaza. Traffic is often very heavy in both directions on Saturdays between noon and 4 p.m. Current traffic conditions are available by calling 877-BAYSPAN (229-7726) or by looking online at

Closing Sales Offices
Metro will close three sales offices at Metrobus garages after today (Friday). They weren't drawing enough customers. Meanwhile, Metro has greatly expanded the number of sales outlets at supermarkets, pharmacies and other commercial enterprises.

The sales locations closing Friday are at the Landover Bus Garage in Hyattsville, Four Mile Run Bus Garage in Arlington and Royal Street Bus Garage in Alexandria. Another one, at the Western Bus Garage in the District, is scheduled to close Aug. 23.

But now, fare card and SmarTrip card sales sites are scattered across the region. Also there now are locations where riders can add value to their SmarTrip cards without waiting in lines at the Metrorail stations. Metro has a look-up page for all the sales locations on its Web site.

Route 301 Bridge Project
The Maryland State Highway Administration is fixing a bridge on southbound Route 301 over Route 214 (Central Avenue) in Bowie. The project is scheduled to be done next summer. Watch for a lane shift on southbound Route 301 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Gainesville Interchange
Off-peak lane and ramp closings will occur Monday through Friday during the daytime this week at the Interstate 66/Route 29 interchange. This is part of the Virginia Department of Transportation's program to widen I-66 for two miles from the Route 234 Bypass to Route 29 in Gainesville. The project is scheduled to be done next summer.

Making Change on MARC
As of Monday, MARC conductors will no longer accept bills larger than $20 to pay for tickets aboard the trains. MARC wants commuters to use the Self-Service Ticketing kiosks that have been placed at most stations to buy the daily tickets -- the ones that also can be bought on trains -- as well as weekly, monthly, and senior/disability discount tickets. The machines accept all major credit and debit cards, but not cash.

By Robert Thomson  |  July 31, 2009; 9:33 AM ET
Categories:  Advisories  | Tags: Dr. Gridlock, The Weekend and Beyond  
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Chain Bridge open this weekend then? (I'm assuming since it is not mentioned)

Does anyone know a website that actually posts on Thursday or Friday whether the bridge will be closed that weekend? I could not find anything on the DCDOT website.

Posted by: KS100H | July 31, 2009 3:50 PM | Report abuse

Holy crap! I was wondering who could possibly be performing at FedEx tonight to cause the ungodly traffic jam I passed on the Inner Loop at 6:30 PM Saturday. I was on the outer loop so I felt pity for those poor souls trapped in that 12+ mile jam (actually, I have no idea how much further it extended past I-95 in College park because that's where I headed north, but it extended a few miles up I-95 as well). There's no way anybody near the back of that jam reached FedEx Field before 8:30 - forget about 7:30.

Posted by: GreenMeansGo | August 1, 2009 9:40 PM | Report abuse

I was in part of that same backup back at University Blvd - WTOP said it extended in stretches all the way back to VA.

This is why I never ever never ever never go to anything at FedEx, even if people offer me tickets for free.

Posted by: vtavgjoe | August 1, 2009 11:16 PM | Report abuse

McCartney came on at about 9:10; rumor has it that the traffic situation on the Inner Loop factored into the delay in taking the stage (if so, good for him for respecting the fans in that way; Springsteen did the same last year when a truck overturned on the New Jersey Turnpike).

Outer Loop moved OK, speeds down a bit due to the rain and due to debris in the road in the Local lanes at the I-295 exit. But I never take the Metro out there because of how long it takes--we got home in half an hour (from the time we got into the car to the time I pulled into the garage at home) whereas it would have been at least an hour and a half via the Metrorail assuming the trains were on time with no problems.

Posted by: 1995hoo | August 2, 2009 2:47 PM | Report abuse

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