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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 Wild at Verizon Center.
-- At 1 p.m. Saturday: The Maryland Terps play Virginia Tech in College Park. The Howard University Bison are at Greene Stadium off Georgia Avenue to play the Bethune-Cookman Wildcats.
-- At 7 p.m. Saturday: Wizards play the Pistons at Verizon Center.
-- At 1 p.m. Sunday: Redskins play the Broncos at FedEx Field.

HOT lanes work
Beginning at 9:30 p.m. Friday, VDOT will 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.

Veirs Mill weekend work
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 trail that also will provide a safe crossing of busy Veirs Mill for neighborhood residents. The project got underway in December 2008 and should be done in spring 2011.

Ramp to 12th Street Tunnel
For the rehab project on the 11th Street Bridge over D Street SW, the District plans to close the 12th Street exit to downtown Washington from I-395 North. The closing is scheduled for Saturday from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Traffic coming across the 14th Street Bridge from Virginia will have to take another route to get downtown. Drivers could go north on 14th Street, or take the L'Enfant Plaza exit to D Street SW. From there, detour signs will direct them to 7th Street.

The section of D Street SW beneath the bridge will also be closed to traffic. Detour signs will direct traffic around the closing.

14th Street Bridge Lane Closings
The District plans to close lanes on the 14th Street Bridge over the upcoming five weekends as part of the lengthy rehabilitation project on the bridge. When we talk about the project here, we're usually talking about work on the northbound span, but this weekend work affects the southbound lanes.

This weekend, from 10 p.m. Friday through 5 a.m. Monday, the two left lanes on the southbound bridge will be closed. Similar work is scheduled on four upcoming weekends, but they'll skip over the Thanksgiving weekend.

ICC work
-- Route 29 between Fairland Road and Briggs Chaney Road: One lane will be closed weekdays from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
-- I-95 near Old Gunpowder Road: Temporary 15-minute closings may occur between midnight and 5 a.m. Sunday through Thursday.

Anacostia streetcar line
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 the end of next week, DDOT says. But additional work will continue on South Capitol Street and Firth Sterling Avenue until mid-January.

Beware of VRE on Monday
VRE has issued a strongly worded warning to Fredericksburg Line riders about train service this coming Monday: "If you absolutely need to be on time that day, VRE is not the best option."

On Monday, VRE will be operating a very limited schedule for the Fredericksburg riders. Train 300, 304 and 310 will run in the mornings and trains 303, 307 and 313 will run in the evenings. Reason for the disruption: CSX plans a signal suspension that will begin after service Friday night and carry on through the weekend and all day Monday.

Even the trains that are running will be severely delayed. And VRE says the FRCs will not be handed out for these delays since these are planned delays.

Kenilworth Avenue warning
The rebuilding of the Eastern Avenue bridge over Kenilworth Avenue (295) 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.

VRE reduced fare cards
Starting Monday, people with disabilities who buy reduced fare tickets must present a VRE-issued Reduced Fare ID card as identification. Previous forms of identification will no longer be accepted at vendors.

If you don't have the ID already, photos for them can be taken at the inner-city stations or at VRE headquarters. Before getting the picture taken, people must complete a Reduced Fare ID Application. Part of it must be completed by a physician. Allow two weeks for the ID to arrive.

Tysons lanes to open
The left lane closures that had been in place since May on Route 123 near the Capital Beltway in Tysons Corner will be picked up for the holidays. Additional steel for the Beltway HOT lanes bridge over Route 123 is scheduled to be set early this coming week and then the lane barriers will be removed. The left lanes will remain open until early January, at which point the lanes, extending from Westpark Drive to Capitol One Drive, will close again for 18 to 24 months.

Other HOT lane action
On Tuesday and Wednesday nights, VDOT will close the Capital Beltway outer loop (I-495 South) exit ramp to I-395 North from 9:30 p.m. to 5 a.m. to allow crews to install steel beams for a new bridge at the Springfield interchange.

Detour Route: From I-495 South, exit onto I-95 South to Exit 166A, the Newington-Fairfax County Parkway (Route 7100) exit. Motorists should follow detour signage around the exit ramps back to I-95 north and continue onto I-395 North. This is likely to add 10 to 15 minutes onto a trip.

On Thursday and Friday nights next week, one right of left lane will be closed on the I-495 south exit ramp to I-395 north.

By Robert Thomson  |  November 13, 2009; 9:07 AM ET
Categories:  Advisories  | Tags: Dr. Gridlock, The Weekend and Beyond  
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