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The week ahead in traffic and transit

Here's a heads up about some of the traffic and transit changes commuters should be prepared for this week.

Beltway/Eisenhower Connector reopened
Drivers on the inner loop will find the traffic pattern a bit different this week. The lane shift between the Telegraph Road interchange and the Eisenhower Connector was completed on schedule over the weekend, and the inner loop exit to the Eisenhower Connector has reopened.

An outer loop traffic shift in the same area is scheduled for this coming weekend, Dec. 11-13, so traffic congestion could result from the realignment of the lanes on Friday night and Saturday. All this is part of the widening of the Beltway in that area west of the Wilson Bridge.

Beltway HOT lane shift
The transportation project having the biggest impact on travelers this fall is the HOT lanes construction along the western side of the Capital Beltway in Virginia. This is so despite the fact that through lanes are not blocked during peak travel periods.

Recently, northbound and southbound traffic on the Beltway was shifted left approaching the Arlington Boulevard (Route 50) interchange. Beltway lanes in this area were narrowed so workers can safely demolish and rebuild parts of the roadway and the bridges over Route 50. This traffic pattern will remain for 12 to 18 months.

Here's the HOT lanes construction schedule at Braddock Road for this week:
-- I-495 south at Braddock Road and several lanes on I-495 north will close nightly from 11 p.m. to 5 a.m. tonight through Friday morning to allow crews to install steel beams for a new bridge over the Beltway. Braddock Road exit ramps to I-495 south will also be closed.
-- Beginning at 9:30 p.m. Friday, Dec. 11, through 5 a.m. Monday, Dec. 14, the exit ramp from I-495 north to Braddock Road west will be closed for installation of a new waterline. Motorists should expect delays approaching the interchange during peak travel periods.

There's more about the extensive HOT lanes work at www.vamegaprojects.com.

Montrose Parkway opening
There's a new traffic pattern at a heavily traveled junction in North Bethesda. The Montgomery County Department of Transportation has opened the last segment of Montrose Parkway West between East Jefferson and Old Georgetown Road.

Eastbound traffic on the parkway now has direct access to the new underpass beneath Rockville Pike that emerges onto Randolph Road.

Local traffic heading east on Montrose Road can turn right or left onto East Jefferson Street and Rockville Pike, but cannot cross the pike to Randolph Road. Drivers on eastbound Montrose Road who want to reach Randolph Road need to turn right on Old Georgetown Road, then make an immediate left onto the new eastbound parkway.

Traffic going north on Rockville Pike takes a new ramp to turn right onto Randolph Road.

Fairfax Connector changes
The Fairfax Connector has added bus trips, adjusted schedules, created a new route, Route 402, and consolidated 10 bus stops. The affected routes include 401, 621, 622, 623 and 950. Ten stops, mostly along Elden Street in Herndon on Route 950, have been consolidated.

Rebuilding 17th Street NW
The District Department of Transportation has begun a $4.5 million resurfacing and improvement project on heavily traveled 17th Street NW between Massachusetts and New Hampshire avenues. The project, scheduled to be done next fall, uses federal stimulus money.

Besides milling and repaving the street, the work includes replacing the sidewalk, adding granite curbs and installing new street lights, traffic signals and trees.

Metro weeknight maintenance
Metro warns that some riders on the Red, Blue and Orange lines should allow at least 20 to 30 extra minutes for their nighttime travel this month as the transit authority performs maintenance work.
Red Line: Trains will share one track between the Medical Center and Grosvenor stations from 8 p.m. through closing. Riders should add at least 20 minutes to their travel times. The work will be performed today through Thursday; Dec.14-17; Dec. 20-23; and Dec. 27-30.
Blue Line: Trains will share one track between the Stadium-Armory and Addison Road stations from 9:30 p.m. through closing. Add at least 30 minutes. The work will be performed tonight through Thursday; Dec.13-17; Dec. 20-23; and Dec. 27-30.
Orange Line: Trains will share one track between the Cheverly and New Carrollton stations from 9:30 p.m. through closing. Add at least 20 minutes. The work will be performed tonight through Thursday; Dec.13-17; Dec. 20-23; and Dec. 27-30.

I-66 ramp meters
A sign of our congested times: Starting today, the Virginia Department of Transportation will operate the I-66 ramp meters both eastbound and westbound during rush hours. Until now, ramp meters have been used only eastbound in the morning and westbound in the evening on I-66 inside the Capital Beltway.

Ramp meters are a good controller for highway traffic. They help ease congestion by regulating traffic flowing onto the highway by forcing vehicles to stop at red lights at the bottom of entrance ramps. The potential downside is that traffic backs up from the ramp onto local streets. VDOT installed ramp meters on I-66 and I-395 in 1985.

[Share your take on travel innovations on Taken for a Ride.]

By Michael Bolden  |  December 7, 2009; 5:00 AM ET
Categories:  Advisories , Commuting , Construction  | Tags: Fairfax Connector, HOT lanes, Metrorail  
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Comments

Metro press releases, metro station announcements stated, metro next train boards, and metro train signs all said "medical center" for every other train on the red line this weekend.

Yet, each one went out of service at friendship heights and turned back.

This is typical of metro's communication problem. This needs to be addressed. If Metro wants customers, they have to communicate effectively and truthfully. If I knew that the trains would be running every 30 minutes to Bethesda since they were turning back at Friendship Heights, I would have driven.

Posted by: movingalongplz | December 7, 2009 9:12 AM | Report abuse

Metro press releases, metro station announcements stated, metro next train boards, and metro train signs all said "medical center" for every other train on the red line this weekend.

Yet, each one went out of service at friendship heights and turned back.

This is typical of metro's communication problem. This needs to be addressed. If Metro wants customers, they have to communicate effectively and truthfully. If I knew that the trains would be running every 30 minutes to Bethesda since they were turning back at Friendship Heights, I would have driven.

Posted by: movingalongplz | December 7, 2009 9:27 AM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
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