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The weekend and beyond

Snow changes everything: Saturday would normally be a huge shopping day, but it would be best to get shopping done late Friday, then sit by the fire on Saturday. Launch the holiday getaway Friday or put it on hold for a day. Metro and the Washington region's transportation agencies are preparing now for the storm. Some of the road work now scheduled for the weekend will likely be postponed.

Here's the outlook for the weekend and for getaway week, but come back and check for updates as the storm develops.

Weekend Metrorail delays
[3:55 p.m. Friday Update: Metro has canceled all scheduled weekend maintenance. There are no scheduled delays, but be aware that Metro trains and buses can be thrown off schedule by a snow storm -- the buses in particular, because they may have to detour around impassable streets. If the snow gets deeper than eight inches, Metro could decide to run trains underground only. The outdoor stations would be closed.]

Wilson Bridge opening
[3:45 p.m. update] Drivers, beware: The bridge opening that had been scheduled for 12:01 a.m. Saturday for the tug "Merrimack" has been moved up to 10 o'clock tonight (Friday).

Weekend HOT lanes work
The weekend work scheduled at Braddock Road and the Beltway has been canceled.

Montrose Parkway/Rockville Pike/Randolph Road
Starting at 7 p.m. Friday, Dec. 18, if weather permits, westbound traffic on Randolph Road will be diverted to the new parkway at the still-evolving Rockville Pike interchange.

In case of delays
If the switch is delayed past Sunday, it will be rescheduled after Jan. 2, to get past the holidays.

Here's what to expect depending on your approach to the interchange.

Randolph Road: If you're heading west on Randolph, and you want to reach I-270, just stay straight and you'll wind up on the parkway, which connects with I-270. If you're westbound and want to reach Montrose Road, make an immediate right after passing under Rockville Pike onto what's known as "old" Old Georgetown Road. Then make a left onto Montrose Road. Motorists will no longer be able to cross over the pike to reach Montrose Road.

Drivers on westbound Randolph Road who want to head north or south on the pike also will follow westbound Montrose Parkway, then make an immediate right onto "old" Old Georgetown Road and then another right onto Montrose Road to reach Rockville Pike.

Rockville Pike: Drivers on northbound Rockville Pike who want to reach westbound Montrose Road will use the new exit ramp to Montrose Parkway/Randolph Road. At the bottom of the ramp, drivers will make a left at the new signal onto westbound Montrose Parkway and then make an immediate right onto "old" Old Georgetown Road and another right onto Montrose Road where they will turn left at Rockville Pike. Drivers will no longer be able to turn left from Rockville Pike onto Montrose Road.

Montrose Road: There's no change in the traffic pattern for drivers traveling on eastbound Montrose Road who want to head north or south on Rockville Pike.

Huntington Garage
Metro on Monday will start three months of repair work on the north parking garage at Huntington Station. That will temporarily take away up to 150 parking spots. Look for parking on the second, third, and fourth levels of the new Huntington garage, which has 1,424 spaces and is accessible from Huntington Avenue and North Kings Highway.

Metro up late for football
The Morgan Boulevard Station, the closest one to FedEx Field, will stay open an extra hour on Monday, Dec. 21, and Sunday, Dec. 27, to accommodate fans leaving the next two Redskins games.

The last Blue Line train from Morgan Boulevard heading toward Franconia-Springfield will leave at 12:27 a.m. If either of the football games goes into overtime, Metro says, it will make sure trains are available to get football fans home.

Even though Morgan Boulevard will be the only station allowing people to enter after the regular midnight closing, passengers on those late trains will be able to switch to other lines at the transfer stations to complete their trips home.

Varied Metro schedule for holidays
-- Christmas Eve. Regular train and bus schedule. Metrorail closing at midnight and running six-car trains.
-- Christmas Day. Metrorail will operate on a Sunday scheduled, opening at 7 a.m. and closing at midnight, with six-car trains.
-- New Year's Eve. Metrorail's current plan is to open at 5 a.m., operate on a weekday schedule, and stay open two hours late, closing at 2 a.m. Jan 1., to accommodate revelers. Metrobus will operate on a Sunday schedule. MetroAccess will operate normally.
-- New Year's Day. Metrorail's current plan is to operate on a Sunday schedule, opening at 7 a.m. and closing at midnight, using six-car trains. Metrobus also would be on a Sunday schedule. MetroAccess would operate normally.

MARC for the holidays
-- Christmas Eve, Thursday: "S" Schedule on all Lines. Train 871 on the Brunswick Line will operate.
-- Christmas Day, Friday: No service.
-- Week between Christmas and New Year's: "S" Schedule on all lines, including operation of Penn Line Trains 405 and 530. Train 871 on the Brunswick Line will operate on these days.
-- New Year's Day: No service.

More buses to airports
Metrobus plans to add service to the B30 route from Greenbelt Station to BWI Marshall Airport and to the 5A to Dulles Airport. These buses are likely to be crowded around the holidays, the 5A especially, so consider how much luggage you want to haul aboard a crowded bus.

By Robert Thomson  |  December 18, 2009; 9:30 AM ET
Categories:  Advisories  | Tags: Dr. Gridlock, Metrobus, Metrorail, The weekend and beyond, snow  
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Dr. Gridlock--How much snow will it take to close the above ground stations on Metro? And if this were to occur, how long would it normally take to reopen these stations? (Does the overall safety of the platforms enter into the determination or just clearing the tracks?)

Posted by: Louise9 | December 18, 2009 10:10 AM | Report abuse

From Dr. Gridlock: It's been a long time since we've had to consider the issue of what it takes to close Metrorail's outdoor stations. This is the policy:

Metrorail tries to operate close to a normal schedule in snows of 4 to 6 inches. If a storm of eight or more inches is forecast, Metro might operate underground only.

I'm expecting more from Metro later today about its plans for the storm and will post them on Get There.

Posted by: Robert Thomson | December 18, 2009 11:00 AM | Report abuse

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