Dave Dildine, wtop.com
WASHINGTON - Warmer temperatures and a long weekend will provide an excellent opportunity for weekenders to venture downtown. Many of the memorials will host ceremonies honoring veterans on Sunday. Traffic to and from the city may be heavier leading up to these special events late Sunday morning.
On Metrorail, construction continues this weekend in spite of the holiday. Single- tracking will occur on the Green and Red lines and a portion of the Orange Line will close in Arlington, where buses will replace trains.
On the Virginia Beltway, crews will perform last-minute touch-ups to the 495 Express Lanes. The new lanes are expected to open next weekend.
The American Heart Association will host a walk near Nationals Park to raise awareness of cardiovascular diseases and stroke. The walk is expected to include 12,000 participants.
No major delays are expected from local sporting events as the Redskins have a bye-week and DC United will be playing their championship game in Houston this weekend. However, George Washington Men's Basketball will begin their 99th Season on Saturday at the Charles E. Smith Center. Fan traffic may cause localized delays in the West End. The game will be preceded by a tailgate which will close 22nd Street between F and G Streets NW.
Read on for the details, and have a great weekend!
Veterans Day ceremonies
Veterans Day will draw crowds downtown this weekend. Numerous wreath-laying ceremonies will take place at war memorials in Arlington and near The National Mall on Sunday. As always, there is the potential of heavy traffic heading for the Potomac River bridges. The National Wreath-Laying Ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery and Tomb of the Unknown Soldier is scheduled at 11 a.m. on Sunday and may cause delays on the George Washington Parkway to and from the bridges.
Additional special ceremonies and events are on tap at many of the other memorials including Vietnam Veterans Memorial, Vietnam Women's Memorial, World War II Memorial, Navy Memorial, Air Force Memorial late Sunday morning.
The American Freedom Festival will take place all day Saturday at the Patriot Center in Fairfax. The event will conclude with a tribute concert by Chicago and Kansas at 7:30 p.m. Expect heavy traffic at times on Braddock Road and Route 123 near George Mason University.
In Historic Manassas the Veterans Day Parade kicks off at 11 a.m. at the intersection of Quarry Road and Prescott Avenue. It will ride along Center Street and conclude at West Street.
Metrorail construction update
Track work on Metro continues this holiday weekend. Trains will single- track on the red and green lines and a segment of the orange line will close in Arlington to accommodate Silver Line construction. The blue and yellow lines should remain construction free. On Monday, the Metrorail system will run on a Saturday schedule, opening at 5 a.m. and closing at midnight.
The orange line will close between East Falls Church and Clarendon this weekend. The Ballston and Virginia Square stations will be closed. Buses will replace trains along this stretch and travelers should expect delays. Trains will single- track between Vienna and East Falls Church. The orange line between Courthouse and New Carrollton will operate on a normal weekend schedule.
Customers riding metro through Bethesda this weekend should allow about 10 minutes of additional travel time. Trains will be single-tracking between Grosvenor and Friendship Heights for maintenance work.
Metro is building a new test track along the green line in Prince George's County to test the new 7000-Series railcars. For this project, trains will single-track between College Park and Greenbelt stations this weekend.
Road construction update
Construction of the 495 Express Lanes will be winding down this weekend, but motorists should continue to expect overnight lane closures through Veterans Day. The four additional lanes on the Beltway will open next weekend. In the meantime, crews will be putting the final touches on the infrastructure.
In Merrifield the overnight and morning paving will block the right lane of westbound Route 50/Arlington Blvd between Prosperity Drive and Stonehurst Drive. The work should end by noon on Saturday.
In Maryland the Northwest Branch Bridge project is nearing an end as well. Crews will be paving the left side of the Outer Loop between New Hampshire Avenue and University Boulevard beginning at 9 p.m. Saturday night. Overnight paving is also scheduled to close multiple lanes on the Outer Loop near Southwest Branch and Central Avenue. Lane closures will begin on Sunday night at 9 p.m.
The Baltimore-Washington Parkway/Route 295 will be closed Friday and Saturday night at West Nursery Road for the bridge replacement project. As has been the case, traffic will ride the ramps to and from West Nursery Road to detour around the work zone. The State Highway Administration advises motorists to use I- 95 and Route 29 instead of Route 295 during the overnight hours to avoid potential delays.
Construction will also close I-95/I-395 HOV lanes between Route 234/Dumfries Road and Route 236/Duke Street from late Saturday night until 9 a.m. Sunday morning.
The Greater Washington Heart Walk
The American Heart Association will host the The Greater Washington Heart Walk near Nationals Park on Saturday morning. The route takes an estimated 12,000 participants out the third base gate down to Potomac Avenue SE. Streets near Nationals Park including Potomac Avenue, 1st Street SE, and N Street SE will be closed after 8 a.m. Participants will walk along the sidewalk of South Capitol Street nearing the end of their walk but South Capitol Street is expected to remain open.
Follow WTOP on Twitter.
(Copyright 2012 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)