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The Weekend and Beyond

Here are some advisories about your weekend travels and some longer range tips. The traffic highlight of the weekend will likely be congestion around FedEx Field on Sunday afternoon, but note that there are likely to be slowdowns on Metrorail all weekend.

Metrorail Weekend Delays
You know there are daily delays on the Red Line, because Metrorail sends one train at a time through the June 22 crash zone between Fort Totten and Takoma. There also may be speed restrictions in any part of any line if Metro is checking the track circuit in that area. (You can see a list here.)

But in addition to those safety slowdowns, you will encounter delays on the Red and Orange lines this weekend because of track maintenance projects. Trains will share a single track through those work zones, and the delays could add a half hour to your regular travel time, Metro says. See the full details here.

See a more detailed look at upcoming Metro delays. See also an additional announcement about late night and weekend disruptions on the Red Line as track circuits are replaced in the June 22 crash zone.

Soccer at FedEx
D.C. United will play Real Madrid at 3 p.m. Sunday in FedEx Field. The Landover stadium was the center of a huge traffic jam last Saturday night for the Paul McCartney concert. Many people were stuck in the traffic for several hours. The road network around FedEx is limited. The Arena Drive/Capital Beltway interchange, which has been closed for construction, will be opened temporarily at 11 a.m. Sunday to handle traffic to and from the game. The Landover Road and Central Avenue interchanges are the other main highway access points, but of the two, the Maryland State Highway Administration recommends the Central Avenue connection to minimize delays.

Here's a page that will help with driving and Metrorail directions. I think Metro's Blue Line to Morgan Boulevard Station is the best bet. From the station, you walk a mile north on a sidewalk to reach the stadium. Parking at Metro lots and garages is free on weekends. Metro says it will have extra trains on standby to relieve any crowding after the game.

Baseball Traffic
The Nationals are at home this weekend, so expect traffic congestion near Nationals Park at South Capitol and M streets. There also will be extra crowds on the Green Line and at the L'Enfant Plaza and Gallery Place transfer points. The games are at 7:05 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and at 1:35 p.m. Sunday.

Tysons Traffic Change
The Dulles rail project is moving ahead with construction of the Tysons Central 7 station and the tunnel between Route 7 and Route 123, and that's going to result in a traffic pattern change this weekend. The median of Route 7 (Leesburg Pike) and Marshall's Drive/Frontage Road will be closed overnight from 11 p.m. Friday (Aug. 7) till 5 a.m. Saturday (Aug. 8). Workers will alter the traffic patterns at Route 7 and Marshall's Drive/Frontage Road. Flaggers and police will direct traffic.

When that overnight work is done, the intersection will reā€open to Route 7 traffic eastbound and westbound. These are the permanent changes:
-- Traffic exiting Marshall's Drive and Frontage Road on to Route 7 will be allowed
to turn right only at these intersections.
-- Drivers will not be able to turn from Marshall's Drive to westbound Route 7, or from
Frontage Road to eastbound Route 7.
-- Drivers will not be able to cross Route 7 from Marshall's Drive to Frontage Road, or from Frontage Road to Marshall's Drive.

Capital Beltway Bumps
The Maryland State Highway Administration is resurfacing the Capital Beltway between the Legion Bridge and Interstate 270. Drivers expressed concern about enduring a rough ride during the project, which includes ramp repaving at interchanges, drainage improvements, curb and gutter replacement, and median repair and is scheduled to be done by late next spring or early summer.

David Buck, spokesman for the highway administration, said work on the Beltway lanes will be tackled first. That milling, paving and drainage work could be done by the end of this October.

But like any highway project, this one needs decent weather to stay on schedule. Summer thunderstorms can slow things down. And when the temperature eventually drops below 50 degrees, it will be too cold to pave.

The Beltway needs to be in good shape for the winter, Buck noted. Can't leave lanes milled and uneven for months. Crews will mill a limited amount of lane space before resurfacing that section and moving to the next, in case any of that work needs to be finished in the spring.

Change in HOV Flow
The Virginia Department of Transportation has changed the weeknight schedule on the Interstate 95 HOV lanes in Northern Virginia to give southbound drivers three extra hours to use them. The lanes now are open to all southbound traffic until midnight Mondays through Thursdays. They re-open to northbound traffic each morning at 2 o'clock.

The extended southbound hours should help accommodate an increase in summer traffic leaving the Washington area on weeknights, VDOT said. The extension also takes into account the lane closings that are part of the I-95 widening project in Fairfax and Prince William counties. The new schedule will remain in effect at least through Labor Day.

Where to Wait
Metrorail is making much better and more frequent announcements to passengers about where to stand when the trains pull into the stations. But if you spend time watching the trains go by, as I do, you notice this pattern: The least crowded cars are the first car of any train and the last two cars of an eight-car train. The most crowded cars tend to be the last two of a six-car train.

Despite the announcements that all trains will pull to the front of the platforms, people still are waiting too far back and have to hustle to catch the last cars of a six-car train.

Point of Rocks Platform
MARC train commuters at the Point of Rocks station are now using the east end of the new platform on the track 1 side. The construction has moved to the west end of the station platforms.

Bethesda Parking
Montgomery County says it has noticed a greater demand for short term parking in Bethesda, so it is reconfiguring the ground floor and first floor of the Bethesda-Elm Parking Garage to allow for more short-timers. The garage, at 4841 Bethesda Ave. is getting 51 more parking spaces with two-hour meters and 163 new four-hour meter. That's accomplished by reducing the number of long-term parking spaces on the upper floors. The county says it will evaluate how that's working in about three months.

Veirs Mill Road Project
Milling and paving are scheduled to begin this week on Veirs Mill Road between Norbeck Road and the Rock Creek Bridge in Rockville. Watch for single lane closings at off-peak hours on weekdays.

By Robert Thomson  |  August 7, 2009; 10:30 AM ET
Categories:  Advisories  | Tags: Dr. Gridlock  
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Next: Line by Line: Bracing for Metro Delays


From Friday's Post:

> The $7.4 million project, funded with the help of federal stimulus money, will reduce traffic to a single lane between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. on weekdays, as well as overnight between 10 p.m. and 5 a.m. Sundays through Thursdays.

I'm hoping this is a misprint. I can't imagine all but one lane of the Beltway in either direction at any time without an enormously long backup!

Posted by: GWGOLDB | August 7, 2009 6:25 PM | Report abuse

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