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The week ahead for traffic, transit

The transportation construction season has really cranked up. There are paving projects across the D.C. region, as well as work on the big projects, especially in the Tysons Corner area. The showers in the Capital Weather Gang's forecast could throw off some of the work early this week, but here are some highlights of what's out there.

Chain Bridge
The rehab on Chain Bridge -- now scheduled to be done at the end of May -- generates a lot of complaints, because it has blocked off one of the three lanes since June. Drivers have said they've been experiencing more than the usual congestion lately. Perhaps because of signal timing issues?

John Lisle, spokesman for the District Department of Transportation, says that the department is going to try to reduce traffic on the bridge from Virginia by lengthening the green time slightly. See if that makes a difference. (Of course, this is always the thing for traffic engineers: If they give more green to somebody, they must give more red to somebody else. In this case, it's the traffic coming down the Clara Barton Parkway.)

Night track work
Red Line trains are sharing a single track after 10 p.m. between Medical Center and Friendship Heights. On the Blue and Orange lines, single tracking will occur after 10 p.m. between Federal Center and Eastern Market. On the Yellow Line, the single tracking after 10 p.m. occurs between Pentagon City and L'Enfant Plaza.

Weekend work
Metro is going to have to reschedule that switch replacement at Rosslyn that it canceled this past weekend. I'll let you know when that's set. But the weekend schedule does call for single-tracking between the Braddock Road and Van Dorn from 10 p.m. Friday through the midnight closing on Sunday.

Metro extension in Tysons
Watch for a major change in the traffic pattern near Tysons Corner Center and Tysons Galleria. The left-turn lane from northbound Route 123 to westbound Tysons Boulevard will remain closed for about two months.

This is the start of construction on supports for the Tysons Central 123 Metrorail station, which will be built on the southwest corner of the Route 123 and Tysons Boulevard intersection, across from Tysons Corner Center.

Traffic will detour onto International Drive, a block before the Tysons Boulevard intersection, then make a right on Galleria Drive. Drivers can then turn left on Tysons Boulevard or proceed straight. Drivers seeking access to Tysons Galleria from northbound Route 123 should stay on International Drive or use Tysons Boulevard. Drivers heading for Westpark Drive and the Westpark Bridge to Tysons Corner Center should continue on Galleria Drive, which becomes Westpark Drive.

Route 7
Work on Leesburg Pike (Route 7) between Chain Bridge Road and the Dulles Toll Road is scheduled for daytime and nighttime hours all week. Also, construction continues on retaining walls and service road closures in front of the shopping centers along eastbound Leesburg Pike (Route 7) in preparation for the major traffic shifts in the median around where the two future Metro stations will be built. The first major traffic shift is expected in mid‐May.

Interstate 66
Significant day and night lane closings are scheduled this week along I‐66 west near the Dulles Connector Road.

HOT lanes
Construction of the High Occupancy Toll lanes has heated up along the Capital Beltway. I did a Commuter page feature on Sunday highlighting the work for this spring and summer. Generally, drivers can expect daytime and nighttime lane closings at off peak hours near interchanges and bridges. There will be occasional night closings on the Beltway in one direction for bridge construction.

Telegraph Road/Capital Beltway
Reconstruction of the Telegraph Road interchange west of the Wilson Bridge will require lane and ramp closings all week. Workers are demolishing bridge piers, grading and paving. From Monday night through Friday morning, overnight demolition will continue over the Beltway and Telegraph Road North. That will mean lane closures.

At off peak hours during the day, the inner loop will be narrowed to two lanes between the Metro overpass and the Beltway bridge over Cameron Run.

University Boulevard paving
University Boulevard between Arcola Avenue and Veirs Mill Road is being milled overnights in preparation for paving. The milling should take about another week. After that, a base layer of asphalt will be laid. Then workers will install video/loop traffic detectors at the intersections of Sligo Creek Parkway, Reedie Drive, Amherst Avenue and Grandview Avenue. A final resurfacing should be done by the end of June.

Farther west, between Veirs Mill Road and Farragut Avenue, another section of University has been repaved. The final striping of the roadway should be finished by mid-week.

Road work near Lincoln Memorial
The National Park Service is going to rebuild Ohio Drive between Independence and Constitution avenues, near the Lincoln Memorial. The work, scheduled to continue into late fall, will be done mostly at night. But the project is likely to affect traffic around the memorial and south of the Kennedy Center.

Drivers, bikers and walkers will need to watch for lane shifts and closings. Information about them will be posted on electronic message boards in the area. Look here for details and alternative routes.

By Robert Thomson  |  April 26, 2010; 8:40 AM ET
Categories:  Advisories , Commuting , Congestion , Construction , Driving , Metro , transit  | Tags: Dr. Gridlock, The week ahead  
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Thanks for bringing up Chain Bridge. It has been brutal these past few weeks coming down from Virginia. Definitely a timing issue, whether or DDOT's or VDOT's side, who knows.

Posted by: frigate32 | April 26, 2010 8:55 AM | Report abuse

From Dr. Gridlock: frigate32, the drivers I heard from tended to think it was the light on the DC side rather than the one on the Arlington side. They thought that when the Arlington light would go green, there was no room for traffic to move onto the bridge, because it already was jammed.

Here's something I like to hear drivers describe: Since June, I've gotten a pretty steady stream of complaints about delays on Chain Bridge. But I figure it must still be better than the alternatives of crossing at the Legion Bridge, or the Key Bridge or the 14th. Otherwise, more drivers would have headed in those directions and conditions would have eased at the Chain Bridge. True?

Posted by: Robert Thomson | April 26, 2010 10:57 AM | Report abuse

I certainly agree with the description about that light. It is true, for the first half of the cycle there is no where to go.

Regarding alternatives -- it seems many who come by Chain Bridge turn left from Canal onto Arizona, so either alternative -- key or Legion would be very much out of the way.

Let's hope that DDOT can re-time the light soon! This morning was no different than any of the other mornings for the past few weeks.

Posted by: frigate32 | April 26, 2010 11:37 AM | Report abuse

Hi Robert - thanks for this great compilation of information. And for cross-linking to CWG.

Posted by: Camden-CapitalWeatherGang | April 26, 2010 11:51 AM | Report abuse

Dr. G, Do you have any specifics on the pending traffic pattern change on Route 7 west of Route 28 in Ashburn? There are temporary electronic signboards posted noting "Traffic Pattern Change on/about April 28". I think this change is related to the Route 7/Loudoun County Pkwy interchange project but wondered if you had further specifics. It doesn't look like the interchange is ready for opening just yet, although I sure wish it was.

My colleague has asked some questions on your weekly chat about the improvements on Route 7 (mainly taking out traffic lights) in this area but I'm not sure you've seen them or been able to react to them? Any timely info you can share on this important project in Loudoun, would be awesome.

Posted by: xyv1027 | April 26, 2010 1:35 PM | Report abuse

Dr G, Also I read your feature article on the HOT lanes megaproject in yesterday's Post. I may stand corrected on this, but wouldn't the Tysons Central 123 station be on the northwest side of the interection of 123 and Tysons Blvd? The northwest side of the intersection (that closer to The Galleria) seems to be where the crews are focusing and where the available land is.

Posted by: xyv1027 | April 26, 2010 1:41 PM | Report abuse

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