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Beltway Interchange Opening Full Time Today

Maryland and Prince George's County officials are holding a ceremony at 1 p.m. to mark the opening -- the full-time opening -- of the Capital Beltway interchange at Arena Drive in Landover.

Until now, this interchange was of use mostly to football fans on their way to FedEx Field. It could be used for special events but not for everyday use by the neighborhoods around there because of a safety problem. It's very close to the Landover Road and Central Avenue interchanges so there would be a lot of fast merging going on as people entered and exited at the three interchanges.

Prince George's officials say the benefit of full-time use, and the Maryland State Highway Administration began a project to open it up. The interchange already was there, so most of the work in the $24 million project involved building lengthy collector-distributor lanes on the right-hand side of both loops to ease the merging.

Drivers have been dealing with that new configuration for some months now, and it hasn't always been easy for them. In this area, it's real clear that three through lanes remain to the left. But the two lanes on the right were divided from the others by a solid white line, and some drivers caught in those lanes thought they would have no choice but to exit, so they would swerve back across to reach the left three lanes.

This isn't necessary. Drivers can stay in those extra lanes on the right and still continue on the Beltway.

This project was scheduled to be completed in the spring, but all that rain we had earlier in the year slowed down construction. Still, this is a welcome improvement for residents of Prince George's County.

By Robert Thomson  |  September 18, 2009; 11:51 AM ET
Categories:  Construction , Driving  | Tags: Arena Drive, Capital Beltway, Dr. Gridlock, FedEx Field, Maryland State Highway Administration, Prince George's  
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And they provided me with a laugh on my way to Goddard this morning. The electronic sign on the outer loop informing drivers about the new exit actually talked about "EGZIT 18" or whatever the number is.

EGZIT...still makes me laugh.

Posted by: TheMatt | September 18, 2009 3:24 PM | Report abuse

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