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The week ahead for traffic and transit

Commuters are unlikely to face major weather problems around Washington this week, but there are some lane closings and transit work that could slow things down.

I-95 lane opening
The Virginia Department of Transportation hopes to open the new fourth lane on a portion of Interstate 95 north later this week. That should ease December holiday travel as well as the routine weekday commute.

Although travel between the District and Fredericksburg is often an ordeal, the three-lane stretch along the six miles between Route 123 and the Fairfax County Parkway can be especially teeth-grinding.

The schedule calls for the fourth northbound lane to open this month between Route 1 and the parkway. The fourth lane on I-95 south between the parkway and Route 1 is scheduled to open next fall. The extra lane on both sides between Route 1 and Route 123 should open in fall 2011.

Va. Beltway shift
Virginia's high-occupancy toll lanes project has shifted the lanes at Exit 50 on I-495 north and at the on-ramps from Route 50 west to I-495 north. The shift will remain for six to eight months to allow for bridge construction. This is likely to cause delays approaching the area at peak travel times.

Other HOT lanes work
Take this potential snag into account if you're planning one of those late-night holiday getaways I so often recommend: Thursday night through Saturday morning and again from Dec. 21 through the morning of Dec. 24, all four lanes on I-495 south at the Lee Highway (Route 29) overpass will close for up to half an hour several times from midnight to 5 a.m., VDOT says. The temporary closures will allow crews to install steel beams for a new bridge over the Capital Beltway that is part of the HOT lanes project.

The I-66 east and west exit ramps to I-495 south will also close all night beginning at 11 on those nights, and motorists will be detoured. Lane-closure setup on I-495 south will start at 9:30 p.m., and as traffic volumes decrease, additional lanes will be closed. All lanes will close for up to half an hour after midnight until 5 a.m.

Escalators update for Dupont Circle
Metro has partly fixed the escalator outage that has generated the most complaints from riders this fall. An escalator between Q Street and the Dupont Circle Station mezzanine that had been out of service since Oct. 26 is operating again, Metro says. But work continues on the other out-of-service escalator in that bank of three on the north side of the station.

When they're working, the north escalators provide a very long ride for train passengers. They're worse as a stairway, no matter in which direction the passenger is walking.

Dupont Circle's three south entrance escalators at 19th Street and Connecticut Avenue will be replaced and all the platform-level escalators units rehabilitated beginning in spring 2011. That's part of the long-term Red Line rehabilitation project.

Route 29/Intercounty Connector
Look for single lane closings from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. weekdays on Columbia Pike between Fairfland Road and Briggs Chaney Road.

Beltway in Maryland
The paving project on the Capital Beltway between the Legion Bridge and Interstate 270 continues, though the main lanes are done. Watch for ramp closings from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. through Thursday night.

Route 301/214 bridge rehab
Watch for single lane closings from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. and from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. weekdays on Route 301. Plus, there are full time shifts on the lanes and ramps at the interchange for the duration of the bridge rehabilitation project.

Central Avenue rehab
Single lane closings are scheduled this week from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on westbound Central Avenue and from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. eastbound.

Metro week night work
Metro night time maintenance will add 20 to 30 minutes to trip times on sections of the Red, Blue and Orange lines through Thursday. On the Red Line, the work is scheduled to start at 8 p.m. between Medical Center and Grosvenor. On the Blue Line, it's scheduled to start at 9:30 p.m. between Stadium-Armory and Addison Road. On the Orange Line, it's scheduled to start at 9:30 p.m. between Cheverly and New Carrollton.

The start time is only a guideline. Metro will feel free to start the work earlier if it wants to.

By Robert Thomson  |  December 14, 2009; 7:07 AM ET
Categories:  Advisories  | Tags: Dr. Gridlock, The week ahead  
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The left lane of the beltway from right over Rte 50 towards Springfield is undriveable. The grade change is about an inch high and right under your tires. The lane should be either closed or fixed. All these shifts are making the roads unsafe.

Posted by: hesaid | December 14, 2009 11:00 AM | Report abuse

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