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Chain Bridge closing for weekend

Chain Bridge is scheduled to be completely closed for the weekend. This is another in a series of weekend closings to prepare for the reopening of the span, which has been under rehabilitation since June and is scheduled to reopen May 31.

The bridge is scheduled to shut to all traffic -- including cyclists and pedestrians -- at 8 p.m. Friday and remain closed until 5 a.m. Monday. There will be no access to the bridge from either the District or Arlington. Canal Road will be open, but drivers will not be able to turn onto the bridge.

The alternative river crossings, as they have been throughout the project, are the Legion, Key, Roosevelt, Memorial and 14th Street bridges.

Chain Bridge is one of our most discussed road projects here on Get There. Drivers share a lot of complaints, considering that this isn't a main commuter route, like the 14th Street Bridge, the Capital Beltway or Interstate 66.

These are among the issues:
-- The rehabilitation is disruptive, but when it's done, it won't make travel easier. It will still be the same old bridge, only it will last longer thanks to the rehab.
-- The work, which is mostly under the bridge and out of sight of drivers, took away one of the three lanes as a staging area.
-- Nobody likes to wait and this project is all about waiting to get to the bridge and then waiting to get across the bridge.
-- This will be the third weekend shutdown. From the beginning, weekend shutdowns were part of the plan. The winter weather forced the first two shutdowns to be postponed many times and contributed to delaying the reopening schedule.
-- The reopening was originally set for January, then it slid to February and now is scheduled for the end of the Memorial Day weekend.
-- Drivers have raised many questions about the traffic management. The latest has to do with the timing of the traffic signal on the D.C. side. The District Department of Transportation says it now has been adjusted to help get District-bound traffic over the bridge, but that adds slightly more red light time for traffic coming down the Clara Barton Parkway.

DDOT anticipates that all of the lanes on the bridge will reopen by May 31, although additional work beneath the bridge is scheduled to continue through August 2010. The project began June 1, 2009.

By Robert Thomson  |  April 27, 2010; 3:00 PM ET
Categories:  Commuting , Congestion , Construction , Driving  | Tags: Chain Bridge, Dr. Gridlock  
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