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The weekend and beyond

The weekend weather looks great, the Capital Weather Gang says, but so does the potential for travel delays. See the warnings on the National Marathon, Metro maintenance and construction along the Capital Beltway and on Chain Bridge.

Weekend Metrorail maintenance
Metro's Saturday schedule and the National Marathon are closely linked, so be sure to check the item below on the marathon if you have Saturday travel plans. But here's an overview of the weekend's rail disruptions.

Red Line riders between Medical Center and Grosvenor should add at least 20 minutes to their travel time from 8 p.m. Friday through the midnight closing on Sunday. Trains will be sharing a track around a maintenance zone where workers are replacing rail fasteners and making tunnel repairs. To help expedite rail travel into downtown Washington, every other Red Line train traveling toward Shady Grove will terminate at Friendship Heights and head back toward Glenmont.

Blue Line riders between Franconia-Springfield and Van Dorn Street should add at least 20 minutes to their travel time from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. Trains will share a track between these locations on Saturday, March 20, and Sunday, March 21, from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Trains will share a track while workers weld rails along the route.

Cherry blossom weekends
This will be the last Metro weekend maintenance for a while. For the next three weekends -- spanning the Cherry Blossom Festival -- the transit authority will suspend weekend track work to ease congestion.

Beltway/Telegraph Road
Work starting this weekend marks a significant new phase in reconstruction of the Capital Beltway's Telegraph Road interchange, part of the Wilson Bridge project.

Drivers who have a choice should avoid this part of the Beltway during the weekend. The outer loop exit to Telegraph Road north will be rerouted and ramps for the inner loop will be realigned. This will allow workers to complete the new ramps and to replace portions of old Beltway bridges during the 2010 construction season.

Watch for variable message signs alerting drivers to the traffic shifts. These are the details of the weekend work:
-- Beginning at 9 p.m. Friday, March 19, the exits from the outer loop (I-95/495 north) to Telegraph Road will be closed. Beltway traffic will be narrowed to one lane. Drivers on the outer loop heading for Telegraph Road should use the earlier Eisenhower Connector exit (174).
-- By 10 p.m., the inner loop (I-95/495 south) exit to Telegraph Road north and Pershing Avenue will be closed. The detour for this closure is also for motorists to use the Eisenhower Connector exit (174). The Telegraph Road exit will re-open early Saturday morning.
-- Around midnight Friday night, a second outer loop lane will reopen.
-- By 8 a.m. Saturday, all outer loop lanes and the new outer loop temporary exit to Telegraph Road north should be open.
-- Beginning at 9 p.m. Saturday, traffic on the inner loop (I-95/495 south) will be narrowed to one lane Thru and one lane Local just west of U.S. Route 1. The ramp from Telegraph Road north to the inner loop will be closed, with a detour via Pershing Avenue. The inner loop exits to Telegraph Road south will be closed. Traffic will be detoured to the Eisenhower Connector (exit 174). Inner loop traffic will be able to reach Telegraph Road north and Pershing Avenue.
-- U.S. Route 1 traffic heading for the inner loop will be directed to the Thru lanes. There will be no access to Telegraph Road.
-- By midday on Sunday, all three inner loop lanes (one Local and two Thru) and all ramps will be reopened to traffic.

Braddock Road/Beltway
The ramp from eastbound Braddock Road to the outer loop of the Beltway will be closed from 9:30 p.m. Friday to 5 a.m. Monday, March 22. Workers will be installing a waterline as part of the HOT lanes project.

Detour: Continue east on Braddock Road over the Beltway, take the exit ramp onto the inner loop (I-495 north) and follow the ramp around onto Braddock Road west back over the Beltway and exit onto the outer loop (I-495 south).

National Marathon
The marathon is scheduled to start at 7 a.m. Saturday and finish at 1 p.m. It starts and ends at RFK Stadium, but in between, it covers a huge territory, extending across six of the District's eight wards. If you have plans to move about in the District early Saturday, see this map and develop a plan.

Intermittent street closings will begin at 6:45 a.m. The streets will be posted with "Official Course Route" signs. Parked cars won't be allowed to move from those streets once runners enter the area. See the lengthy list of street closings and times on Page 2 of this pdf.

D.C. police will be stationed along the route to control traffic and safety. Each officer will have a Race Day Operations Guide with detailed information on open access routes and detour plans.

East Capitol Street from 13th to Second streets NE will be closed to all vehicles starting at 6:45 a.m. It will reopen about 10:45 a.m. as the runners pass. Capitol Hill residents who normally use East Capitol to get to or from their homes will be allowed to cross East Capitol at these locations: Fourth, Sixth, Eighth, 10th, 15th and 17th streets, under the direction of police officers, who will decide when to open and close access.

But travelers far from Capitol Hill also will be affected. Drivers along Connecticut Avenue between Florida Avenue and M Street NW are likely to experience delays between 7 and 8:35 a.m. Minnesota Avenue SE will be closed to traffic from about 8:55 a.m. to 1:15 p.m.

If you're driving into the District, best bets for getting across the marathon route are: Massachusetts, Rhode Island and New York avenues.

The good news is that Metrorail will open at 5 a.m. Saturday to help runners and spectators get to their places. The bad news is that all the street closings will disrupt Metrobus service on 42 routes, as well as MetroAccess service.

Metrorail: Before the race, all Red Line trains will operate every 12 minutes and will share one track between the Medical Center and Grosvenor stations because of track maintenance. All Blue, Orange, Yellow and Green line trains will operate every 15 minutes from the ends of each rail line and every seven to eight minutes in downtown Washington.

After the race, all Blue Line trains will share one track between the Franconia-Springfield and Van Dorn Street stations because of track maintenance. They will operate every 24 minutes. Every other Blue Line train traveling toward Franconia-Springfield will terminate at Van Dorn Street and return to Largo.

Metrobus routes detoured and running slow: 5A, 13A, 13B, 13F, 13G, 32, 34, 36, 38B, 42, 52, 54, 64, 70, 80, 90, 92, 96, 98, A42, A46, A48, B2, D4, D6, D8, G2, G8, H2, H4, H8, L2, M6, N6, N22, P6, S2, S4, U6, V8, X2 and X8. Buses should be back to normal routes in the early afternoon.

Several of the District's Circulator bus routes also will detour because of the marathon.

The Georgetown/Union Station route will be split in two from 7 a.m. until about 8:45 a.m. Half of the route will operate from Union Station to 17th Street NW and the other half will operate from Georgetown to 20th Street NW.

Riders who need to travel through the affected area between 17th and 20th streets must walk across the marathon route to reach buses on the other side.

The Woodley Park/Adams Morgan/McPherson Square route will not offer service to the Columbia Heights or Woodley Park Metro stations from 7 a.m. to about 9:30 a.m., because Columbia Road will be closed. This also prevents service to the Adams Morgan neighborhood during that time.

The Convention Center/Waterfront Route will be split in two from 7 a.m. to about 1:30 p.m. Half of the route will operate from O Street NW to Pennsylvania Avenue, and half of the route will operate from I (Eye) Street SW to Independence Avenue SW. Riders who need to travel through the affected area between Pennsylvania Avenue and Independence Avenue must walk across the marathon route to reach buses on the other side.

Chain Bridge closing
The Potomac River crossing is scheduled to shut completely this weekend as part of the rehabilitation that began last spring. Workers will be fixing the bridge deck, its steel beams and the approaches.

The closing is set to begin at 8 p.m. Friday and continue to 5 a.m. Monday, March 22. This will be a complete shutdown: no vehicles, cyclists or pedestrians. Through traffic on Canal Road will not be obstructed, but drivers will not be able to turn onto Chain Bridge. The alternative Potomac River crossings include the American Legion, Key, Roosevelt, Memorial and 14th Street bridges.

Weather permitting, the closing will be repeated next weekend. The long-term schedule calls for reopening the bridge's third lane by May 31.

Douglass Bridge test
The District Department of Transportation is scheduled to close the Douglass Bridge for routine testing from 4 a.m. to about 9 a.m. this Sunday. The bridge takes South Capitol Street traffic over the Anacostia River.

By Robert Thomson  |  March 19, 2010; 9:42 AM ET
Categories:  Advisories  | Tags: Dr. Gridlock, The weekend and beyond  
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What's up with the slowdown this week between Friendship Heights Metro and Bethesda Metro? 10 minutes between these two station is ridiculous.

Posted by: wpjunk | March 19, 2010 9:53 AM | Report abuse

I was going to ask about the Red Line between those stations too. It was slow yesterday and today as well. The driver said that it was due to speed restrictions and that they could only go 15 mph. What is the deal?

Posted by: brando3000 | March 19, 2010 11:04 AM | Report abuse

Sure, cater to the tourists instead of the daily riders.

Why not show the tourists how crappy our service really is? Maybe then we'd get the federal funding we need.

Posted by: anarcho-liberal-tarian | March 21, 2010 1:14 PM | Report abuse

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