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Get There: November 8, 2009 - November 14, 2009

Headaches on the horizon

Paving on Brentwood Road: Crews will be milling and paving Brentwood Road between T and W streets, and 9th Street from Brentwood Road to T Street The work is scheduled to begin at 7 a.m. Saturday and end Sunday afternoon. Traffic will be limited to a single lane in each direction within the work zone during the operation. HOT lanes work: Beginning at 9:30 p.m. Friday, VDOT is scheduled to close the Braddock Road (Route 620) eastbound exit ramp to I-495 South until 5 a.m. Monday so workers can install a new waterline. Detour Route: Continue east on Braddock Road, over I-495 and take the exit ramp onto I-495 north and follow ramp around onto Braddock Road West back over I-495 and exit onto the I-495 South. If the weather delays the waterline work, the ramp closure will be rescheduled for Nov. 20-23. Road Essentials:  Incident Map  |  Traffic Cams   |   Key Routes...

By Robert Thomson  |  November 13, 2009; 7:14 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Advisories  | Tags: Dr. Gridlock, Headaches on the Horizon  
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The weekend and beyond

This gloomy weather is going to lighten up a bit for the weekend. We have the usual weekend delays on Metrorail and some sporting events that may slow your travels. Also, there's some construction work on major routes this weekend and into next week. And you VRE riders should pay special attention to the note about Monday service on the Fredericksburg Line. Metrorail weekend delays Orange Line riders between East Falls Church and Ballston should add at least 20 minutes to their normal travel times from 8 p.m. Friday to 10 a.m. this Sunday. Red Line riders between Friendship Heights and Van Ness also should add at least 20 minutes to normal trip times from 9:30 p.m. Friday the midnight closing on Sunday. Weekend games Here are the ones I think may cause traffic congestion, or Metro station crowding, or both. -- At 7 p.m. Friday: Caps play the Minnesota...

By Robert Thomson  |  November 13, 2009; 9:07 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Advisories  | Tags: Dr. Gridlock, The Weekend and Beyond  
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Inner loop lane closures again this morning

Update, 9:28 a.m.: Traffic cameras along northbound I-495 at Braddock Road and Route 50 continue to show delays. Update, 7:40 a.m.: Traffic cameras show that the traffic on 495 North -- at 66 and leading up to it; at Route 50 and leading up to it -- is abysmal and barely moving. Original post, 6:35 a.m.:: Beltway commuters traveling through Northern Virginia, a reminder: I-495 North at Arlington Blvd. will still see delays stemming from the water main break yesterday morning. Repairs are continuing into this morning's rush and VDOT officials warned against using the inner loop in that area. Two lanes are closed: the north right center lane and right outside lane. Road Essentials: Incident Map | Traffic Cams | Key Routes...

By Mark Berman  |  November 13, 2009; 6:35 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Commuting  
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Headaches on the horizon

Metrorail weekend delays start Friday night: Orange Line riders between East Falls Church and Ballston should add at least 20 minutes to their normal travel times from 8 p.m. Friday to 10 a.m. this Sunday. Red Line riders between Friendship Heights and Van Ness also should add at least 20 minutes to normal trip times from 9:30 p.m. Friday to the midnight closing on Sunday. Inner Beltway Ashley Halsey III reports that the Virginia Department of Transportation is again advising drivers to avoid using the inner loop of the Beltway near Falls Church Friday morning after Thursday morning's water main break. VDOT officials say only three of the five lanes would be open to traffic during the Friday morning rush. Route 249 The Maryland State Highway Administration has closed Route 249 from the bridge at St. George Island south. The road is barricaded and officials are letting only the local...

By Robert Thomson  |  November 12, 2009; 7:00 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Advisories  | Tags: Dr. Gridlock, Headaches on the Horizon  
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Tips for travelers on their way home

It just keeps raining. Your drive, or transit ride or walk this evening will be nasty. See the list of problems below. Advice John B. Townsend II at AAA Mid-Atlantic has some good advice: "Motorists should slow down and increase their following distance. When rain falls at this pace, motorists in our area tend to drive too fast or slow down too much." These are some basic rules for the wet road: -- When driving on pothole-filled roads, hold the steering wheel firmly to avoid losing control. Just a few of inches of water can turn your vehicle into a boat. -- Slow down and increase following distances. Visibility is reduced and braking distances increase in the rain. On dry pavement, a safe following distance permits 2 to 3 seconds for stopping; that should be increased to 8 seconds on slippery roads. -- Train your eyes farther down the road...

By Robert Thomson  |  November 12, 2009; 4:19 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  Commuting , Weather  | Tags: Dr. Gridlock, tips for travelers  
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Hiker-biker bridge moving forward in Montgomery

Montgomery County drivers passing by the scene on Veirs Mill Road in Aspen Hill may think they're looking up at a new interchange for the Intercounty Connector. But no, it's the ramp for a still-incomplete bridge that will take the Rock Creek Hiker-Biker Trail over the roadway. Click here to see what the finished product should look like. But we're not there yet. If weather permits this weekend, the Maryland National Capital Park and Planning Commission will close one lane in each direction on Veirs Mill Road at Aspen Hill Road from 8 p.m. Friday through 5 a.m. Monday. If bad weather delays this, it will be done the following weekend. While the lanes are closed, workers will use two cranes to lift and position four 37-ton, curved steel beams over Veirs Mill Road. The eventual result will be a 605 foot-long bridge for hikers and bikers on the 15-mile-long...

By Robert Thomson  |  November 12, 2009; 10:30 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  Biking , Driving , Weekend Work  | Tags: Dr. Gridlock, hiker-biker trail  
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DC innovates on 15th Street bike lane

Justin Wilson of D.C. makes his way south on new 15th St. lane. (Gerald Martineau/Post) During my online chat Monday, I got a comment about the new bike lane the District Department of Transportation is installing along 15th Street NW. The lane is designed to allow bikers to travel southbound in a protected area on what otherwise is a one-way street northbound. This is the reader's comment: 15th Street, NW, Washington, D.C.: The 15th street contraflow bike lane is an absolute disaster. Traffic has not slowed. It's still as dangerous for cyclists. Street cleaners cannot get to the curb or they will rip off the reflective covers that indicate the bike lane. Cyclists are going the wrong way. Cars are parked in the lane. 15th street does not feel part of the neighborhood. There are misspelled words like "yield" in the bike lane. Please tell me this is not...

By Robert Thomson  |  November 12, 2009; 9:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (16)
Categories:  Biking , Safety  | Tags: DDOT, Dr. Gridlock, contraflow bike lane  
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Weather Slows Morning Rush

Inner Loop traffic stalls between Route 50 and I-66 exits. (Gerald Martineau/Post) THIS POST HAS BEEN UPDATED [Have a commuting problem this morning? Going to change your pattern going home, either by taking a different route or leaving early? We've got a discussion about the weather conditions and the commute on our Taken for a Ride forum.] Seemingly neverending rain, increasingly strong winds (in the 15-30 mph range) and overall bad weather all mean one thing for your commute: delays. There are reported delays all over the region, with plenty more expected as more and more people hit the road. Here's a roundup of what's going on right now, with more to be added throughout the morning. And please post your own traffic experiences below, to help your fellow commuters! VIRGINIA -- I-495 North at US-50 has lane closures due to standing water. -- I-395 South at Duke Street,...

By Mark Berman  |  November 12, 2009; 6:50 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Weather  
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Inner loop lane in Va. closed by water main break; Evening commute snarls possible

* Region walloped by rain; Va. emergency declared * * Forum: Share your rainy day traffic tales * Update, 12:50 p.m.: A lane on the Inner Loop at Rt. 50 in Fairfax County remains closed by a water main break that snarled the morning commute in the area, according to Fairfax County. Officials report repairs will continue through late this evening and possibly into the Friday morning rush, which could cause major delays. Original post, 6:30 a.m.: Inner Loop traffic stalls this morning between Rte. 50 and I-66 exits. (Gerald Martineau/Post) Weather-related delays for Beltway commuters this morning. Standing water on I-495 North at Arlington Boulevard has caused two lanes (the north right center lane and right lane) to be closed. Road Essentials: Incident Map | Traffic Cams | Key Routes...

By Mark Berman  |  November 12, 2009; 6:30 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
 
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Headaches on the horizon

Metrorail weeknight delays: Riders should add at least 20 minutes to a half an hour onto normal trip times through Thursday between 9:30 p.m. and the midnight closing each night on the Red, Blue, Orange and Yellow lines. Here are the specifics: Red Line: Between Medical Center and Grosvenor, add at least 20 minutes. Blue Line: Between Stadium-Armory and Addison Road, add at least half an hour. Yellow Line: Between Huntington and Braddock Road, add at least half an hour. Beltway HOT lanes construction: Drivers will encounter these conditions. -- Bridge work will close I-495 south (outer loop) completely at I-66 tonight and Thursday night from 11 p.m. to 5 a.m. -- Intermittent closing will occur at the Springfield Interchange (I-395 North at I-495) and I-495 at Gallows Road....

By Robert Thomson  |  November 11, 2009; 7:00 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
Categories:  Advisories  | Tags: Dr. Gridlock, Headaches on the Horizon  
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Traffic diverted on southbound GW Parkway

Some debris has fallen from an overpass at the Roosevelt Bridge onto the George Washington Parkway's southbound side following an accident. That is forcing all the parkway's southbound traffic to divert onto Route 50 or the Roosevelt Bridge. No other movement is blocked. Northbound traffic on the parkway does not appear to be affected. Normally, a problem like this on a major commuter route like the parkway would ripple out quickly and congest roads over a wide area, but at the moment, traffic on the other roads near the river seems relatively good for this time of day. The Key Bridge looks fine, as do the roads in Rosslyn. Farther south, at the junction of I-395 and the parkway, traffic can go either north or south on the parkway. In fact, traffic at the moment is relatively light around the 14th Street Bridge, probably because of the holiday. Across the...

By Robert Thomson  |  November 11, 2009; 3:39 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Advisories  
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Update on Anacostia streetcar construction

Construction continues on the first of the new D.C. streetcar lines, the one in Anacostia scheduled to open late in 2012. Travelers are well aware that traffic through the intersection at South Capitol Street and Firth Sterling Avenue was reduced to one lane in each direction for the first phase of construction, but the District Department of Transportation sent out an advisory about new restrictions in effect this week. Traffic from the Naval Annex on Defense Boulevard can't turn right onto southbound South Capitol Street from Defense Boulevard. All outbound traffic from the Naval Annex to southbound South Capitol Street is being directed to this half-mile detour: Go through the intersection on Firth Sterling, turn Left on Barry Road, then right on Firth Sterling, then left to go south on South Capitol Street. This phase of construction should be done by about Nov. 21, DDOT says. But additional work will...

By Robert Thomson  |  November 11, 2009; 11:01 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Commuting , Construction , Driving , transit  | Tags: DDOT, Dr. Gridlock, streetcars  
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Another road project on DC's eastern side

Combining necessity with the good luck of available federal money, the District continues to add road construction projects that will affect travel on the eastern side of the city. You know about the New York Avenue projects and the Pennsylvania Avenue SE reconstruction. Now comes the rebuilding of the Eastern Avenue bridge over Kenilworth Avenue (295). Work is scheduled to begin late this month. The old bridge will not be demolished until late December or early next year. Replacement will take about a year. The District Department of Transportation says that drivers will find two lanes open at all times, but that may include using the service roads for additional lane space. That will definitely be the case during construction of the bridge piers. Drivers approaching Kenilworth should watch for information about lane closings on electronic message boards in the District and Maryland. The other big project on Kenilworth, the...

By Robert Thomson  |  November 11, 2009; 10:27 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Commuting , Congestion , Construction , Driving  | Tags: 295, DDOT, Dr. Gridlock, Eastern Avenue Bridge, Kenilworth Avenue  
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Today's read: Controlling cars in Montgomery

County draws car-free blueprint: Most suburban growth plans -- including Montgomery's, until Tuesday -- discourage development in congested areas, including those near public transit, and encourage construction in more sparsely populated communities, on the theory that new developments should arise where traffic is still tolerable. Montgomery's new growth policy will also give the county an opportunity to improve its bus system and encourage more people to take the bus or subway. (Miranda S. Spivak) Council also backs I-270 HOT lanes: The County Council unanimously endorsed a plan to add reversible rush-hour lanes on parts of Interstate 270 and make solo commuters pay to use them. (Miranda S. Spivak) Metro to let monitors on tracks: Since spring, the agency had barred monitors from the body that oversees safety at Metro from getting onto the track bed while trains were in operation. "We are reversing that, we are rejecting that, we are...

By Robert Thomson  |  November 11, 2009; 9:22 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  Driving , Transportation Politics , transit  | Tags: Dr. Gridlock, Today's Read  
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Accidents close I-495 lanes, Suitland Parkway

[THIS POST HAS BEEN UPDATED] Accidents in Montgomery and Prince George's counties earlier this morning closed parts of I-495 and Suitland Parkway. Here's the information on both incidents: I-495 OUTER LOOP -- A tractor-trailer jackknifed at 4:30 a.m. this morning and is currently blocking the two right lanes just prior to Georgia Avenue, according to Cpl. Shusko of the Maryland State Police. He said there is a haz-mat situation -- a diesel spill -- so the lanes will not be reopened in the immediate future. SUITLAND PARKWAY -- A pedestrian was struck on Suitland Parkway at Naylor Avenue at 3:07 a.m. and taken to Prince George's Hospital Center with multiple critical injuries, said Sgt. David Schlosser of the U.S. Park Police. He said the driver of the striking vehicle remained on the scene. Suitland Parkway is closed at Branch Avenue and Naylor Avenue is closed at Southern Avenue while the...

By Mark Berman  |  November 11, 2009; 6:10 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
Categories:  Advisories  
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Headaches on the horizon

HOT lanes work: VDOT says that throughout fall and winter, the HOT lanes project will be placing steel beams at the Beltway's interchanges and overpasses at Oak Street, Lee Highway (Route 29), Braddock Road (Route 620), I-66 and the Springfield Interchange. The project is on schedule to be done in 2013, VDOT says. Tonight through Thursday, VDOT will close the Capital Beltway outer loop lanes at I-66 from 11 p.m. to 5 a.m. while crews install steel beams for a new bridge at I-66 East over the Beltway. The lane closing process is scheduled to begin at 9:30 each night....

By Robert Thomson  |  November 10, 2009; 7:00 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Advisories , Construction  | Tags: Dr. Gridlock, Headaches on the Horizon  
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See Veterans Day transit schedules

Metro has put out a roundup not only of its schedule for Wednesday but also of the various transit systems around our region. See that schedule here. This is Metro's own schedule for the Veterans Day holiday: -- Metrorail will operate on a modified Saturday schedule (5 a.m. to midnight). -- Metrobus will operate on a weekday schedule. -- MetroAccess will operate on a Saturday schedule (5 a.m. to midnight).-- Parking at all transit authority-operated lots will be free. -- Reduced transit fares will be in effect all day. -- Bicycles will be allowed on Metrorail. Metro managers say they are reviewing whether they need to modify some of the holiday service schedules. Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's are among the easier ones. Most people have them off. Columbus Day and Veterans Day are more difficult, because some people are off and some work. Do you think there's too much...

By Robert Thomson  |  November 10, 2009; 2:44 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (5)
Categories:  Events , Metro , transit  | Tags: Dr. Gridlock, holiday schedules  
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Today's read: Senators call for Metro investigation

They want federal probe of potential safety lapses. And Metro board Chairman Jim Graham said the transit agency's safety chief was "out of order" when she denied access to the monitors from the Tri-State Oversight Committee, who sought to ensure that Metro was following worker safety rules. (Lena H. Sun and Joe Stephens) Walking in Washington. Cities that came of age in the post-World War II era, when the car was king, are far more dangerous places to walk than Washington, says a study by Transportation for America, an advocacy group. Boom areas including Orlando, Tampa-St. Petersburg, Houston, Atlanta, Las Vegas and Phoenix ranked among the 20 worst for walkers. Cities of the horse-and-buggy era are better places for traveling safely on foot. (Ashley Halsey III)...

By Robert Thomson  |  November 10, 2009; 7:29 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Metro  | Tags: Dr. Gridlock, Today's Read  
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Headaches on the horizon

Telegraph Road/Beltway: One or both directions of Telegraph Road and the nearby Beltway ramps will be closed nightly through Friday morning for bridge deck pouring operations. I plan to post the specific schedule each evening at this time. Here's what's closed tonight through Wednesday night, from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. the next morning: -- Inner loop (I-95/495 South) ramp to Telegraph Road South. Detour: Traffic heading for Telegraph Road South should use the ramp for Route 1 South and take it to Huntington Avenue East to Telegraph Road. -- Telegraph Road South ramp to the outer loop (I- 95/495 North). Detour: Traffic heading for the outer loop should travel Duke Street East to Route 1 South to the Beltway. HOT lanes work: Tonight through Thursday, VDOT will close the Capital Beltway outer loop lanes at I-66 from 11 p.m. to 5 a.m. while crews install steel beams for a...

By Robert Thomson  |  November 9, 2009; 7:00 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Advisories  | Tags: Dr. Gridlock, Headaches on the Horizon  
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Traffic alert: Arlington's North Rhodes Street closed

This advisory from Arlington County: North Rhodes Street is closed between Key Boulevard and Lee Highway. A repair crew is working on a collapsed manhole. Only Rhodes Street residents are allowed through. Parking in the area may be limited overnight. Look for this repair work to continue into Tuesday. Here's a map of that area. View Larger Map...

By Robert Thomson  |  November 9, 2009; 4:19 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Advisories , Driving  | Tags: Arlington, Dr. Gridlock  
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Something new in our traffic and transit discussions

And I don't mean that smiley face picture of me you see in the new logo above. We've added a discussion group called Taken for a Ride. The subhead says, "Share your trials and triumphs on Washington's roads and rails," and I think that pretty much captures the spirit of the thing. To put it another way: Here on Get There, I'll try to make the news. On Taken for a Ride, you can make the news. I've noticed how many of you have smart comments to make and good questions to ask at the end of my postings. I worry that it's hard for other readers to see all of them as I keep adding more and more postings. That should be easier on Taken for a Ride, because your responses will be the dominant part of the presentation. I'll ask questions addressed to you, then step aside and...

By Robert Thomson  |  November 9, 2009; 2:46 PM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Tags: Dr. Gridlock, Taken for a Ride  
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Join Me at Noon For Online Chat

We'll have our regular Monday chat at noon, in which we can talk about any of the local transportation topics. We've certainly had plenty to talk about over the past week. In transit, there's the issue of changes in the SmartBenefits program, which will affect thousands of us who download the money onto our SmarTrip cards. I'm hoping we'll be joined today by Cyndi Zieman, Metro's SmarTrip director, who can respond to some of your questions about the planned changes. Then there was the equipment problem at Metro headquarters that struck down many of Metro's communication functions for hours. On the roads, there's plenty of construction action going on across the region. And speaking of meltdowns, there was the two-day blow to Montgomery County's signal light timing system. That's enough to make you want to get away: Shall we talk about Thanksgiving trips? Here's the link to the discussion. And...

By Robert Thomson  |  November 9, 2009; 10:50 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (2)
Tags: Dr. Gridlock  
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Today's read: Running on relics

We are so 20th century: The coincidence of last week's twin mini-disasters for commuters on Metro and on the streets of Montgomery County might foreshadow scores of problems as cash-strapped governments stagger into the 21st century burdened by creaking 20th-century technology. (Ashley Halsey III) Records show Metro barred safety checks: Monitors from the Tri-State Oversight Committee wanted to determine whether Metro was following rules put in place in recent years after a number of workers had been fatally injured on the job. (Joe Stephens and Lena H. Sun)...

By Robert Thomson  |  November 9, 2009; 8:10 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  Commuting , Driving , transit  | Tags: Dr. Gridlock, Today's Read  
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The week ahead for traffic and transit

Some thing to look forward to this week. Changes in Tysons Beginning today, the service road of eastbound Route 7 between Pike 7 Plaza and the Koons GM car dealership will start to close permanently. Crews working on the Metrorail extension are closing portions of the service road one at a time until this entire stretch is gone. Tysons commuter bus It looks better and better all the time. This is the first day for the new express service from Woodbridge, making 15 stops in Tysons Corner. Read more details here. Powder Mill Road project Work is scheduled to begin this week on a $1.2 million road widening project along a half mile of Route 212 (Powder Mill Road) between Evans Trail Way/Allview Drive and Beltsville Drive in Beltsville. This should be done by next summer. During construction, the State Highway Administration will close single lanes on Powder Mill on...

By Robert Thomson  |  November 9, 2009; 7:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (1)
Categories:  Advisories , Commuting , Congestion , Construction , Driving  | Tags: Dr. Gridlock, The Week Ahead  
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Race in downtown DC today

Some D.C. streets will be closed this morning and afternoon for the GCF Race to End Women's Cancer, which starts at 7 a.m. Click here for route map. Use this link for all race information....

By Robert Thomson  |  November 8, 2009; 5:00 AM ET  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)
Categories:  Advisories , Events  | Tags: Dr. Gridlock, GCF Race  
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