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The weekend and beyond

There's a big traffic shift coming in the Rockville area, a Saturday morning walkathon in downtown Washington and a parade in Silver Spring. You'll find details below about these and other weekend events that might affect your travels, plus a look ahead to next week.

Montrose Parkway section opening
The big traffic change is scheduled to begin at 8 p.m. Friday, and the work will continue till about noon Saturday. (The result will be improved access to Randolph Road from I-270, but avoid the area while the traffic shift is underway.)

This is what will happen:
-- Drivers from the west who are heading along Montrose Road for Randolph Road will be directed off to the right near Tilden Lane onto Montrose Parkway.
-- The Montgomery County Department of Transportation will open the last segment of Montrose Parkway West between East Jefferson and Old Georgetown Road. So eastbound traffic on the parkway will have direct access to the new underpass beneath Rockville Pike and will emerge onto Randolph Road on the other side of the pike.
-- Local traffic heading east on Montrose Road will be able to turn right or left onto East Jefferson Street and Rockville Pike, but will not be allowed to cross the pike to Randolph Road. Drivers on eastbound Montrose Road who want to reach Randolph Road will need to turn right on Old Georgetown Road, then make an immediate left onto the new eastbound Montrose Parkway.
-- Traffic going north on Rockville Pike will need to use a new ramp to turn right onto Randolph Road.

Weekend games
It's a relatively quiet weekend locally. These sporting events are likely to cause extra traffic congestion.
Friday: Washington Capitals vs. Montreal, 7 p.m. at Verizon Center in downtown Washington; Maryland Terrapins vs. New Hampshire, 8 p.m. on the College Park campus.

Downtown walkathon Saturday
The Help the Homeless Walkathon starts at 9 a.m. on the National Mall between 7th and 14th streets NW and around the Tidal Basin. See a route map here.

Metrorail opening early Saturday
Metrorail will open one hour early, at 6 a.m., to handle crowds heading to the marathon. The best stations to use for the event are L'Enfant Plaza on the Blue, Orange, Yellow and Green lines; Archives on the Green and Yellow lines; Smithsonian on the Blue and Orange lines; Gallery Place on the Red, Yellow and Green lines. Parking at lots and garages operated by Metro is free on weekends.

Silver Spring parade
The annual Silver Spring Thanksgiving parade will close several streets in downtown Silver Spring on Saturday morning and early afternoon and will restrict traffic on Georgia Avenue. The parade is scheduled to begin at 9:30 a.m. It will start at Sligo and Georgia Avenues, then make a right on Ellsworth Drive in the new shopping area, then end on Fenton Street around noon.

The northbound lanes of Georgia Avenue between East-West Highway and Colesville Road will be closed from 7 a.m. till about 1 p.m. Look here for a map of the parade route, parking and blocked roads.

Metrorail weekend delays
These delays are caused by maintenance work along the tracks. Keep them in mind if you're going to the marathon. 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 till the system's midnight closing on Sunday. Red Line riders between Medical Center and Grosvenor should add at least 20 minutes to their normal trip times from 9:30 p.m. Friday to the midnight close Sunday.

Blue and Yellow Line riders between Van Dorn Street and King Street should add at least half an hour from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. All Yellow and Blue Line trains will operate to Huntington during these times. Metro will operate a special Blue Line shuttle train between Franconia-Springfield and King Street. At King Street, catch a Blue or Yellow Line train to Largo or Fort Totten. If you normally would park at Franconia-Springfield or Van Dorn Street, consider parking at Huntington instead this weekend, to avoid delays.

Metrobus detours
Routes F4 and Z8: From 6:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, buses will be rerouted around the Silver Spring Thanksgiving parade, which closes Fenton Street between Wayne Avenue and Colesville Road.

Routes 32, 34, 36, 52, 54, 64, 70 and V8: From 8:45 a.m. to 11 a.m. Saturday, buses will be rerouted around the Homeless Walk-A-Thon that will close Independence Avenue NW between 7th and 14th streets NW.

Routes 32, 36 and 38B: From 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday, buses will be rerouted around heavy crane lifting operations that will close I Street NW between 18th and 19th streets.

GW Parkway repair
The park service has begun southbound lane closings on the parkway before the exit to Memorial Avenue. This is for emergency repairs to the granite rail. The lane closings are occurring between 9:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. One lane is always open, but traffic delays are likely. Also, one lane will be closed on the Memorial Avenue overpass to accommodate repair equipment. This work is likely to last through Monday.

Tysons shuttle
Just in time for holiday shopping and local events, a free midday bus shuttle is starting up Monday in Tysons Corner. The Tysons Connector buses will run every 10 minutes between 10 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. on weekdays. There are two routes (Tysons Connector 1 and 2) serving big employers and businesses along the way, as well as the Tysons Corner Center and Tysons Galleria malls. See a map here.

Chain Bridge Road work
Usually when we talk about construction in Tysons Corner, it's the HOT lanes project on Route 123 and the Dulles Metrorail project on Route 7. But right now, the rail project is warning drivers to be very careful traveling south on Chain Bridge Road (Route 123) in from Monday morning through noon Wednesday. The right-turn lane to Capital One Drive will be closed so workers can remove poles in the area. Right turns to Capital One Drive will be allowed from the right through lane.

Also, the rail project announced, a short stretch of the right lane will be closed between the Capital Beltway off-ramps and on-ramps during the days. At night, there will be numerous closings near Tysons Boulevard and International Drive, because of utility work. Watch for police out directing traffic.

Fairfax Connector changes
Starting Sunday, the Fairfax Connector will be adding additional bus trips, adjusting schedules, creating Route 402 and consolidating 10 bus stops. The affected routes include 401, 621, 622, 623 and 950. Ten stops, mostly along Elden Street in Herndon on Route 950, are being consolidated. See details here.

WASA work on Connecticut
The D.C. Water and Sewer Authority will be doing some utility work this coming week that will result in temporary lane closings along Connecticut Avenue at off-peak hours, but this still could result in traffic delays. So watch for this work Monday through Wednesday between 9:30 a.m. and 3 p.m. Traffic on Connecticut will be reduced to one lane in each direction between Calvert and Cathedral streets, and there will be no on-street parking in those blocks. If it's not done during that time, the work will resume on Monday, Nov. 30, after the Thanksgiving holiday.

Thanksgiving construction zones
Transportation departments pull up most of their orange cones from noon Wednesday through Monday morning to clear the way for Thanksgiving traffic. The longer-term construction barriers, lane narrowings and lane shifts, such as those in place for the Beltway HOT lanes project, remain where they are.

Thanksgiving getaway advice
I'll have some suggestion on the Commuter page in Sunday's Post, and watch the blog early next week for more postings for long-distance travelers and those hanging around town to shop.

By Robert Thomson  |  November 20, 2009; 9:37 AM ET
Categories:  Advisories  | Tags: Dr. Gridlock, The Weekend and Beyond  
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