WASHINGTON - The unofficial end of summer will bring a surge of getaway traffic to Washington area highways this Labor Day weekend as millions of Americans head for vacation destinations up and down the East Coast.
The American Automobile Association expects 34 million people to hit the highways and travel at least 50 miles between Friday and Monday. Summer heat is predicted so make sure your vehicle is up to the task. Check your fluids and tire pressure before venturing out.
Expect major volume delays on through-routes this weekend, especially Interstate 95 in Virginia. The Virginia Department of Transportation will keep the express lanes open all weekend long. Construction activities will be put on hold. The express lanes will operate southbound until midday Saturday and then reverse to aid northbound travelers from Saturday afternoon through Monday.
Delays are also likely to form on I-95 between the Laurel and Columbia exits in Maryland. Delays are possible near the Inner Harbor/Downtown Baltimore exits due to the Grand Prix. Significant travel volume is likely north of Baltimore through Harford and Cecil counties.
Traffic on Interstate 70 east and Interstate -270 south between Hancock and Frederick, Md., will likely slow in stretches beginning late Sunday afternoon as vacationers from mountain areas return home.
The Maryland Transportation Authority expects more than 333,000 vehicles to travel U.S. Route 50/301 at the Chesapeake Bay Bridge this Labor Day weekend. This represents about a 1 percent increase compared with last year's traffic. On Saturday, delays toward the toll plaza should gradually ease by early afternoon. On Monday, westbound traffic will likely be heaviest between Route 404 and Annapolis from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m.
The primary routes won't be the only place where you may encounter congestion. The region's parks will be busy this weekend. Expect long waits on roads such as Georgetown Pike near Great Falls Park and Route 178 in Crownsville for the Maryland Renaissance Festival.
Traffic in the city should remain light after the Friday getaway and throughout most of the weekend. The Nationals take on the New York Mets at Nationals Park Saturday and Sunday evening. Brief delays are possible before first pitch on the Southeast/Southwest Freeway and South Capitol Street.
Weekend Work Zones
Nearly all major roadwork has been suspended throughout the region for the holiday weekend.
The District Department of Transportation announced that all construction crews are to keep non-emergency work off the road and behind barricades until noon on Tuesday, September 3rd.
VDOT is allowing for a few lanes closures on the Dulles Toll Road for Silver Line rail work but will otherwise keep all construction activities out of the travel lanes, including the I-95 Express Lanes Extension Project.
Maryland State Highway Administration says it will suspend non-emergency roadwork until 9 a.m. Tuesday.
Delays on Metrorail
Track work wears on as crews take advantage of the holiday weekend to continue their rebuilding efforts. A portion of the Red Line will be closed between Northeast Washington and Forest Glen. The wait to catch an Orange Line train will be a little longer due to maintenance. This work will take place between 10 p.m. Friday through late Monday.
On the Red Line, buses replace trains between Forest Glen and Rhode Island Avenue. Red Line service will not be available at the Silver Spring, Takoma, and Brookland stations. Two types of free bus service will be available. Limited-stop buses will make a single stop at Silver Spring with delays up to 25 minutes possible. Local buses will stop at all closed stations. Before boarding a bus, flag down a WMATA employee and ask which is the best option for you.
Orange Line trains will run every 24 minutes due to maintenance near a few of the stations in Prince Georges County.
Free shuttle buses will replace Green Line trains between Greenbelt and College Park on Saturday and Sunday for track testing.
Blue and Yellow line trains should run on a normal weekend schedule.
Labor Day Traffic/Transit Changes
The District does not require that meter fees be paid on Labor Day. Most parking regulations - including residential parking restrictions - will be suspended until Tuesday, September 3.
The reversible routes, namely Rock Creek Parkway and Canal Road, will operate two-way throughout the day.
HOV restrictions are lifted in Northern Virginia on I-95, I-395, I-66 and the Dulles Toll Road.
There will be no MARC or VRE service.
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