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The weekend and beyond

The biggest issue affecting local travel this long holiday weekend is the Metro maintenance on the Red Line. But transit users and drivers should also pay attention to several other developments that may cause delays.

Metro's big weekend
The transit authority has scheduled an intensive track maintenance program for this long Martin Luther King Jr. holiday weekend. The target zone is the Red Line between White Flint and Medical Center.

From 10 p.m. Friday through the midnight close Monday, 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.

The last Red Line train leaving Shady Grove will depart 30 minutes earlier than usual to allow riders to connect with the shuttle buses and the last train leaving Medical Center toward Glenmont.

From 10 p.m. Jan. 15 through midnight Jan. 18, Metro will operate the free shuttle bus to link Medical Center, Grosvenor and White Flint. At Medical Center, use bus bay F. At Grosvenor, use bus bay C to White Flint and bus bay D to Medical Center. At White Flint, go to Marinelli Road in front of the station.

The shuttle will operate every six to eight minutes during the days and every 15 minutes after 9:30 p.m. But consider avoiding this by driving to or taking a bus to the eastern side of the Red Line for a trip downtown. Glenmont station has more than 1,700 parking spaces. Wheaton has more than 950 spaces. Silver Spring doesn't have a Metro garage, but there are several Montgomery County garages very near the station. Parking at those garages and at Metro garages is free on weekends and holidays.

If you're going to an event at Strathmore Center over the weekend, consider driving to the Metro garage at Grosvenor. Though the station will be closed, the parking garage will be open.

Southeast Freeway lane closings
Lanes on the eastbound side of the Southeast Freeway will be closed temporarily this weekend to complete the demolition of two RFK Stadium access ramps. The ramps cross over the freeway.

The work is scheduled for 5 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday. There could be additional closures on Sunday, but only if the work is not completed on Saturday. Last Saturday, crews demolished the concrete on the ramps; this weekend they will remove the steel structure.

The left lane and shoulder will be closed just before the I-295 South and Pennsylvania Avenue split. That means all traffic approaching the split will have to take the I-295 exit. There will be no access to RFK Stadium or Pennsylvania Avenue from the SE Freeway.

Metrobus rerouting
From noon Saturday to 2 a.m. Sunday, Metrobus routes D6, 32 and 36 will be rerouted around street closings at 13th Street NW between F Street and Pennsylvania Avenue, E Street between 12th and 14th streets NW, and Pennsylvania Avenue between 12th and 14th streets NW.

MARC elevator in Silver Spring
An elevator that carries MARC riders up and over the tracks at the Silver Spring station will be out of service for a few days because of a broken water line, the Maryland Transit Administration says. It's the elevator on the inbound side of the platform. The elevator on the outbound side still works.

Fairfax Connector changes
Effective Sunday, the Fairfax Connector will add some trips, adjust routes and schedules, split RIBS 4 and create a new route called RIBS 5 to add service and improve the on-time performance of existing routes.The affected routes include: RIBS 1, 2, 3, 4, and Routes 642 and 644. Also, bus bay assignments at Reston Transit Station will change, and minor routing adjustments around Reston Town Center will be made to routes 505, 605, and 950. The changes are extensive. See the full list here.

Loud bangs in Tysons
Contractors building the Metrorail extension through Tysons Corner are scheduled to perform three more tests on caissons along the northwest side of Route 123 over the next two weeks. It's the same type of testing that occurred on Jan. 7 and involves a loud bang that will be heard by nearby residents and travelers. Flaggers and police will stop traffic from entering adjacent roads during the testing.

These three caissons are near the Dolley Madison Road (Route 123) and Dulles Connector Road (Route 267) exit ramp. The next test is scheduled for Tuesday between 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. After that, the tentative dates are Friday, Jan. 22, and Monday, Jan. 25.

March For Life
Next Friday, Jan. 22, the annual March for Life will be held at midday in downtown Washington. Here's a map of the route from the rally site on the National Mall at 7th Street NW, along Constitution Avenue and up Capitol Hill to the Supreme Court. Closest Metro stations: Archives, L'Enfant Plaza, Smithsonian and Federal Center Southwest.

By Robert Thomson  |  January 15, 2010; 2:23 PM ET
Categories:  Advisories  | Tags: Dr. Gridlock, The weekend and beyond  
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