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The Week Ahead in Traffic, Transit

This should be a relatively quiet week for the Washington region's drivers and transit users -- because so many of their commuting colleagues are on vacation. But there are a couple of hot spots.

Watch for Tysons Detour
This is the first morning that many commuters will find the ramp from the Beltway to Route 123 northbound (toward McLean) closed for the HOT lane construction project. The closing is scheduled to last through September.

The detour route posted by the Virginia Department of Transportation will get southbound drivers off the Beltway before they get to the Route 123 junction. They will use exit 45B for the Dulles Access Road, stay to the left and get onto the access road very briefly before taking exit 19B to Route 123 north toward McLean or exit 19A to go south toward Tysons. Drivers already on the access road would use those same exits to reach Route 123 rather than get on the Beltway and head south to the now-closed exit.

Couple of related points: Drivers following the detour route are not getting themselves into a tolled zone or an HOV zone. Also, at Route 123, the rest of the Beltway interchange is still open. It's just the one ramp that's closed.

Tysons Metrorail Work
The median of Route 7 at Marshall's Drive is now closed permanently. No left turns from Route 7 to Marshall's Drive or Frontage Road. Also, watch for detour signs at Route 123 south to Route 7 east. No left turns from the Route 123 south ramp to Route 7 east. Use International Drive.

Metrorail Delays
Every night this month starting at 10 p.m., Red Line trains will share the same track between Fort Totten and Takoma stations, because of the track circuit repairs to fix the problem involved in the June 22 train crash. Metro continues to recommend adding at least a half hour to normal travel times on the Red Line.

Red Line trips can be slower than normal at any time of day because the trains continue to go one at a time through the Takoma-Fort Totten zone where the crash occurred. That can backup trains all along the line.

Sundays through Thursdays this month, starting at 10 p.m., there will be no Blue Line service between Rosslyn and King Street. Yellow Line trains will share the same track between Braddock Road and L'Enfant Plaza. Metro recommends adding at least 45 minutes to normal trip times through the area.

Nats Back
There will be baseball at Nationals Park at 7:05 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, so watch for traffic congestion around M and South Capitol streets. Also, the Green Line and the transfer stations at L'Enfant Plaza and Gallery Place also are likely to have some extra crowding. There's a game Sunday at 1:35 p.m.

RFK Game Saturday
D.C. United will be playing the Los Angeles Galaxy at RFK at 7:30 p.m. Saturday. The Orange and Blue lines take fans to Stadium-Armory Station.

By Robert Thomson  |  August 17, 2009; 6:51 AM ET
Categories:  Advisories , Commuting , Construction , Driving , Metro , transit  | Tags: Capital Beltway, Dr. Gridlock, HOT lanes, Metrorail delays, Red Line crash, Tysons  
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Next: Route 123 Northbound Ramp Closed in Tysons


I cannot believe the state of VA thinks it's a good idea to inconvenience virtually EVERY commuter in the area so we can some day have the "opportunity" to pay for roads that are now free.

We should be paid for lost time Every Dam Day!

Posted by: filfeit | August 17, 2009 7:39 AM | Report abuse

The Redskins also play Saturday night at 7:30. While it's preseason, they'll still pull in a big crowd, and the LA Galaxy (read: David Beckham) generally draw DC United's biggest crowd of the year. So on Saturday night you have the Nationals, United, and the Redskins all starting home games within half an hour of each other, meaning that Dr. Gridlock's comment about the Metro crowding takes on added significance, especially at L'Enfant Plaza where you'll have extra crowding in all directions at once rather than in the typical one direction.

Posted by: 1995hoo | August 17, 2009 9:17 AM | Report abuse

I would like to congratulate VDOT yet again on having the most atrocious signage in the region. I know the area well, so I understood it, but, the changeable message signs on the shoulder of the Outer Loop said "495 SB EXIT 46B CLOSED...STAY ALERT"

Well, tell some poor soul from out of state how to stay alert for signs that barely exist... There's no reference to the fact that the detour is a left exit on the sign, either. There's just one tiny sign for 123NB under the overhead sign for the Dulles Connector exit.

May I propose instead, for the signs:


Posted by: vtavgjoe | August 17, 2009 9:28 AM | Report abuse

"vtavgjoe," you've hit on the #1 problem with VDOT's signage habits. VDOT seems to put up signs on the premise that people know where they're going and that the signs act as confirmation of what they already know, when the better practice is to put up signs for the drivers who DON'T already know the area and who need signs to guide them.

Posted by: 1995hoo | August 17, 2009 9:48 AM | Report abuse

Signs are supposed to be geared towards people from out of town who do not know the area, according to the Federal Highway Administration.

I can understand one or two "flashy" signs with "local lingo" to get the attention of those who are normal commuters, because this is a change to a traffic pattern. But the signs that are there are not helpful to locals or people from out of town...I drove past all of them on my way into the office this morning.

I understand that it is difficult to squeeze the signs into limited sized areas within a construction zone. But I think VDOT can do better than what they have out there now.

And also, just a reminder to everyone, you will NOT have to pay to drive on the original 4 lanes of the Beltway. Those lanes were free, are free, and always will be free. So current commuters don't lose anything. If you are in a bus or HOV, you will be able to use the new lanes for free as well.

Posted by: thetan | August 17, 2009 12:04 PM | Report abuse

Hi, I work in Frederick periodically and usually try to work until 6pm-6:30 to avoid traffic. However, I recently noticed that almost all lanes of 270 south are closed for a construction project. I ran into this 2 weeks ago approx. 7:15pm near Germantown and noticed them setting up last night approx. 6:30pm. Is there any set schedule for this evening construction and lane closures on 270 southbound? thanks in advance.

Posted by: 111me | August 18, 2009 5:16 PM | Report abuse

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