The weekend and beyond
The Cherry Blossom Festival begins this weekend in Washington, but the big crowd-drawing events won't begin till the following weekend. The blooming period is forecast to start this weekend, peaking April 1 through April 4.
See our Commuter page guide to visiting the blossoms, or just getting around the crowds. Note the peak blossom time has moved up since we published the page. We also have a map showing parking areas, Metro stations and Circulator bus routes.
A popular opening event will be Saturday's Kite Festival on the Washington Monument grounds.
The Capital Weather Gang predicts a cool weekend, with sun on Saturday and some clouds and showers moving in Sunday.
Red Line riders between Friendship Heights and Medical Center should add at least 30 minutes to their travel time from 8 p.m. Friday through the midnight close Sunday while Metro replaces 1,600 feet of rail, and 500 to 600 rail fasteners that stabilize the outbound track.
To keep more trains running 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 the Foggy Bottom and Arlington Cemetery and Orange Line riders between Foggy Bottom and Court House should add at least 30 minutes to their travel time because of an emergency exercise drill at Rosslyn Station. Trains will share one track between these locations from 11 p.m. to the 3 a.m. closing on Sunday.
Passengers using Rosslyn Station will see police, fire and emergency response vehicles, first responders and volunteer "victims" near the station between 11 p.m. Saturday and 5 a.m. Sunday.
Chain Bridge closing
The Potomac River crossing, which was closed this past weekend, is scheduled to shut completely again this weekend, weather permitting, 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. This will be a complete shutdown: no vehicles, cyclists or pedestrians.
14th Street NW
The District Department of Transportation plans to begin a three-week paving project in Columbia Heights on Friday, March 26. It will start in the center lanes on northbound 14th Street from Park Road to Monroe Street NW.
Construction crews will begin placing concrete traffic barriers after 9 a.m. to cordon off the work area. A single lane of traffic will be maintained at all times, in both directions. Motorists should be aware of transitions and lane changes. The Metrobus stop at Park Road and 14th Street will be relocated temporarily to north of Monroe Street.
Northbound George Mason Drive is scheduled to close from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, March 27, at North 15th Street. Traffic will be detoured around the area via North 15th to Edison Street to North 16th Street back to George Mason Drive. Southbound George Mason Drive will have one lane open for through traffic and the left turn lane will be open.
National Walk for Epilepsy
The walk is scheduled to begin at 9 a.m. Saturday, March 27, and end around noon. The start line will be the gravel path between 12th and 14th streets NW near Jefferson Drive on the National Mall. See a map of the route.
The event will require Metro to detour some buses from 8:15 to 11 a.m. Saturday. Metrobus routes 32, 34, 36, 52, 54, 70, P6, and V8 will be rerouted because the event will close the Mall from 7th to 14th streets between Constitution and Independence avenues.
A new traffic pattern will affect motorists using the Shady Grove Road/Interstate 370 interchange in western Montgomery County. Beginning Saturday afternoon, drivers heading west on Shady Grove Road toward westbound I-370 will make a left at a new traffic signal.
They will merge with the eastbound Shady Grove Road drivers heading for I-370 on a new ramp. Variable message signs are in place to alert motorists to the new traffic pattern. Lane closings on both Shady Grove Road and I-370 will begin about 8 a.m. Saturday through the afternoon until the new traffic pattern is in place.
As an alternate route for motorists on west/southbound Shady Grove Road currently using I-370 to get to I-270, motorists may continue on Shady Grove Road beyond I-370 and turn right onto MD 355 (Frederick Road).
Drivers heading for I-270 south traveling from points north could consider MD Route 118 (Germantown Road), Middlebrook Road or MD Route 124 (Montgomery Village Avenue/Quince Orchard Road) to reach I-270 and avoid Shady Grove Road.
The traffic switch allows crews to continue bridge construction within the I-370/Shady Grove Road interchange.
The Virginia Department of Transportation hoped to have the new four-lane configuration between Manassas and Gainesville in place Thursday afternoon, but the recent heavy rains delayed the preparations slightly. The new target for the opening is early next week.
Drivers will then have three regular lanes and one HOV lane from the 234 Bypass exit (Exit 44) through the Route 29 Gainesville exit (Exit 43).
March 26, 2010; 11:50 AM ET
Categories: Advisories , Commuting , Congestion , Construction , Driving , Events , Metro , transit | Tags: Cherry Blossom Festival, Dr. Gridlock
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