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The weekend and beyond

On a quiet and cold January weekend, there are a few road and transit projects that could slow your travels. Also, we'll look ahead to some travel problems that will arise next week.

Metrorail weekend delays
Red Line: Riders between Medical Center and Grosvenor should add at least 20 minutes to their travel time because Metro will replace rail fasteners that stabilize tracks, and make tunnel repairs. Trains will share one track between these locations from 8 p.m. Friday to the midnight closing on Sunday, Jan. 10.

During those hours, every other Shady Grove-bound train will terminate at Friendship Heights and head back toward Glenmont. That should ease travel times along the rest of the Red Line.

Blue Line: Riders between Morgan Boulevard and Largo Town Center should add at least 20 minutes to their travel time because Metro will be doing switch maintenance at the Largo station. Trains will share one track between these locations from 9:30 p.m. Friday to the midnight close on Sunday, Jan. 10.

Lane closures on Southeast Freeway
The District Department of Transportation is scheduled to temporarily close lanes on the eastbound side of the Southeast Freeway this weekend for the demolition of ramps leading to RFK Stadium. The ramps cross over the freeway. [Remember the message boards that concerned drivers because they said the freeway was closing? It was these temporary lane closures.)

On Saturday, and again on Sunday, if necessary, the left lane and shoulder will be closed just before the split for I-295 South and Pennsylvania Avenue. All traffic approaching the split must take the I-295 exit. There will be no access to RFK or Pennsylvania Avenue from the freeway. The closures are scheduled to be in effect from 5 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Use this freeway detour to reach Pennsylvania Avenue: Take the Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue exit, turn left on Good Hope Road SE, turn left on Minnesota Avenue SE, then turn either right or left onto Pennsylvania Avenue SE.

Or avoid the freeway by taking an alternative route: From the Southwest Freeway, take the South Capitol Street exit, cross the South Capitol Street (Frederick Douglass) Bridge, take the Suitland Parkway exit and take the ramp for I-295 north. [But if the work does continue on Sunday, note the next item about the Douglass Bridge.]

Douglass Bridge closing Sunday
The South Capitol Street (Frederick Douglass) Bridge is scheduled to close for routine testing of the swing span from 4 a.m. to about 9 a.m. Sunday. The work usually gets done ahead of schedule.

Weekend work on 295 service roads
Crews will be working on the service roads of Kenilworth Avenue (295) this weekend as they prepare to replace the Eastern Avenue Bridge over the avenue. These lane closings are scheduled for 7 p.m. Friday through Sunday:
-- Southbound Service Road. One lane will remain open for through traffic.
-- Northbound Service Road. One lane will remain open for through traffic.

No closings are planned for the main lanes of Kenilworth Avenue or the Eastern Avenue Bridge.

D.C. street parking
The changes in the meter charges, the hours of operation and the days of operation are occurring right now. The District Department of Transportation expects all the street signs and meters to reflect the new regulations by Jan. 19, but the new rules are in effect wherever the signs have been changed. So look to see if the meter requires $2 per hour, if the payment rules are in effect till 10 p.m. and if you must pay on Saturdays.

Traffic shift at Randolph Road/Montrose Parkway
A major change in the traffic pattern at the junction of Rockville Pike, Montrose Parkway and Randolph Road in North Bethesda occurred this week. Traffic heading west on Randolph Road in the direction of I-270 can now move directly to Montrose Parkway. This is the change that originally was scheduled for the weekend of Dec. 18, but had to be postponed because of the blizzard.

The entire $7.2 million interchange construction project is scheduled to be done in late fall.


Icing problem on Route 5
The Maryland Department of Transportation's State Highway Administration has temporarily closed the left lane on southbound Branch Avenue at Burch Hill Road/Earnshaw Drive in Brandywine because of a drainage problem. The standing water turned to ice.

SHA says it had been salting the lane nightly but will close one lane most of the day to ensure motorist safety. The left lane is open for afternoon rush hour only between 4 p.m. and 7 p.m. and will be salted, if needed, to ensure safe passage for drivers.

Closing on Route 1, Fredericksburg
On Friday, Jan. 15, at 8 p.m., Route 1 in Fredericksburg will be closed to traffic between College Avenue and Alvey Drive (just south of Mary Washington Boulevard) during the erection of a pedestrian bridge connecting the University of Mary Washington campus with the Eagle Village development. Route 1 should be open again by noon on Sunday, Jan. 17.

During the closure, northbound through traffic and large truck traffic will be detoured via Route 3 west to I-95 north and local traffic to Route 3 east (Blue and Gray Parkway) to Lafayette Boulevard (Business Route 1). Local traffic will also be permitted to continue to Snowden Street, where it will be detoured to College Avenue, then to William Street and Caroline Street.

Southbound Route 1 through traffic and large truck traffic approaching Fredericksburg from Stafford County will be detoured via Route 17 north to I-95 south or will have the option of continuing across the Rappahannock River and turning left onto Princess Anne Street and continuing to Lafayette Boulevard and Route 3 west. Local south bound traffic will be permitted to continue as far as Mary Washington Boulevard.

Access to the Mary Washington Hospital campus will be maintained at all times during the closure.

Beltway merge shortened
Beginning at 9:30 a.m. Wednesday, the merge lane for Little River Turnpike (Route 236) traffic entering the Beltway's outer loop toward Braddock Road (Route 620) will be shortened. A section of the merge lane between Little River Turnpike and Braddock Road will be closed for six to nine months.

This will allow crews room to construct a retaining wall and reconstruct the shoulder as part of the High Occupancy Toll (HOT) lanes project.

Metro on MLK Weekend
The transit authority has scheduled an intensive track maintenance program for the long holiday weekend next week. The target zone is the Red Line between White Flint and Medical Center. From 10 p.m. Friday, Jan. 15, through the midnight close on Monday, Jan. 18, the line will be split in two, with the Grosvenor Station closed. Free shuttle buses will bridge the gap. Allow 40 minutes of extra travel time to get through the work zone. The Red Line will be whole again at 5 a.m. Tuesday, Jan. 19.

By Robert Thomson  |  January 8, 2010; 11:45 AM ET
Categories:  Advisories , Commuting , Construction , Driving , Metro , transit  | Tags: Dr. Gridlock, The weekend and beyond  
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