The Inner Scoop
Find out the story behind the back-up on the WTOP Traffic Blog. The WTOP traffic team will have the lastest on road closures, construction projects and other useful information relating to your commute.
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Posted on: Friday 5/17/2013 7:19pm
WASHINGTON - Regular weekend drivers on Interstate 95 will begin to notice heavier traffic in the weekends ahead. Summer vacation is fast approaching and so too are summer-like delays on the highway between the Washington suburbs and beach destinations.
In addition to road work and beach traffic, area universities will hold commencement ceremonies this weekend adding to the weekend traffic volume and track work will cause delays for Metro riders.
Don't expect to avoid the daytime delays on I-95 by traveling overnight. Overlapping construction projects in Virginia will slow drivers even during off-peak hours.
The I-95 Shoulder Improvement Project will narrow traffic down to one lane on Friday and Saturday nights in Prince William County. Crews are scheduled to block two right lanes on the southbound side between the truck rest area and Dumfries. They will also erect a northbound work zone between Potomac Mills and the Prince William Parkway. This work will take place between 10 p.m. and 9 a.m. Delays will be most intense in the hour or two after the work zone sets up.
The project, with a price tag of $40 million, seeks to improve the shoulders and merge areas along a seven-mile stretch of I-95 through Prince William County.
The shoulder work on the right side will coincide with the 95 Express Lanes Extension Project in the center of the highway.
The HOV lanes will be closed on Interstate 395 and I-95 from Washington D.C. to Dumfries, Va., at 11 p.m. Friday. The lanes will reopen to southbound travel around 10 a.m. Saturday. The northern end of the HOV lanes on I-395 will be closed through the day. The entire highway will reopen to northbound travel around 10 a.m. Sunday.
The orientation of the HOV lanes on Saturday will put a strain on northbound traffic in the main lanes, which will likely be congested from Stafford County to Springfield.
When completed in 2015, the project will manage congestion by adding capacity to the highway and extending the length of the express lanes into northern Stafford County.
River CrossingsThere are also a few projects scheduled on or near the city's Potomac and Anacostia river crossings this weekend.
From the outbound Roosevelt Bridge lanes, the ramp to the George Washington Parkway northbound will be closed for repairs on Saturday and Sunday. The work will occur between 4 a.m. through late afternoon both days.
DDOT will block the ramp from inbound Pennsylvania Avenue to southbound D.C. Route 295 through the weekend. All traffic that bypasses the exit to northbound Route 295/Kenilworth Avenue will continue inbound across the Sousa Bridge toward Barney Circle. The closure for repair work is scheduled to last until 5 a.m Monday morning.
The Frederick Douglass Bridge's swing span will be tested this weekend. The routine testing is scheduled to occur on Sunday between 4 a.m. and 9 a.m.
Normally the monthly test does not cause a major disruption. However, last month, a power outage during routine bridge testing caused the swing span to get stuck in the open position for several hours longer than intended.
Maine Avenue's eastbound lanes will be closed near the Southeast Freeway between the Tidal Basin and the Case Bridge for repaving. The lanes heading away from Independence Avenue will be blocked beginning around 9 p.m. Friday and will remain closed through Sunday morning.
Metrorail Track WorkRiders on the Blue and Yellow lines will enjoy a reprieve from track work this weekend. However, customers using other sections of the Metrorail system will face delays and detours. Weekend work will close five stations: two on the Orange Line and three on the Green Line. Trains will single-track on two segments of the Red Line through the city.
- Buses replace trains between East Falls Church and Clarendon
- Ballston and Virginia Square stations will be closed
- Trains will operate at regular weekend intervals outside the work zone
- Trains will single track between Van Ness and Dupont Circle
- Trains will single track between Rhode Island Avenue and Takoma
- Trains will operate at 10-minute to 24-minute intervals
- Buses will replace Green Line trains between Greenbelt and West Hyattsville
- Greenbelt, College Park and Prince George's Plaza stations will be closed
- Trains will operate at regular weekend intervals outside the work zone
GraduationsMany of the region's biggest schools will celebrate commencement ceremonies this weekend.
The 46th annual George Mason University commencement begins at 10 a.m., Saturday, at the Patriot Center. Expect delays on Route 123 and along Braddock Road before and after the ceremony.
A recent construction project at this intersection has sought to improve the traffic flow to and from university parking lots. Backups are common along Braddock Road between Shirley Gate Road and Roberts Road during the school year and before events at the Patriot Center.
Georgetown University will host parents and graduates for its ceremonies on the Healy Lawn beginning at 9:00 a.m. Expect early delays across the Key Bridge and throughout Georgetown.
George Washington University will conduct its ceremony at 9:30 a.m., Sunday. The ceremony will conclude at 11:30 a.m. Shuttle buses will ferry most attendees to and from the campus but heavier traffic will be possible between the National Mall and the West End before and after the event.
The University of Maryland commencement will take place about 1 p.m., Sunday at the Comcast Center. Doors open at 11 a.m. Delays are likely on U.S. Route 1 through College Park and on the Beltway between College Park and Greenbelt before and after the ceremony.
The College Park Metro station will be closed this weekend.
Taste of ArlingtonTaste of Arlington is this Sunday in Ballston. Foodies, musicians and street performers will come together between noon and 5 p.m. near the Ballston Common Mall.
A small stretch of Wilson Boulevard will be blocked for the event between Randolph Street and Glebe Road. The primary routes through Ballston including Fairfax Drive, Washington Boulevard and Glebe Road will remain open. Drivers should stay alert near crosswalks for pedestrians.
The Ballston and Virginia Square Metro stations will be closed this weekend for track work. WMATA will provide shuttle bus service to the Ballston station on Sunday during the festival.
An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated when the University of Maryland will hold its graduation ceremony. Commencement is Sunday.
Posted on: Wednesday 5/15/2013 5:38am
WASHINGTON - Metro has resumed service along the Red Line following a report of smoke and fire under a railcar at the Silver Spring station Tuesday.
Metro says the fire is believed to be mechanical in nature.
Silver Spring station fully reopened to riders leaving and coming to the station and trains were no longer single-tracking Tuesday night at about 9:20 p.m.
Metro's website reported no Red Line delays early Wednesday morning.
Smoke and a possible fire under a railcar at the station were reported just after 6 p.m. No one was on the train at the time and no injuries have been reported, according to Metro.
The fire was out before 7 p.m.
Based on preliminary information, Montgomery County Assistant Fire Chief Scott Graham says the fire started when a collector shoe overheated. The booms that many riders reported hearing were caused when the insulators combusted.
Metro rider Zachary Kulzer believes he was on the train that caught fire in Silver Spring.
He was riding the Red Line home to Silver Spring from his job in Dupont Circle Tuesday evening when things started to go wrong between the Fort Totten and Takoma stations.
In an interview with WTOP and ABC 7, Kulzer said he saw sparks turn into fire right outside his train car.
"I'm staring out my window and the flames are right there, and someone behind me screamed. There was smoke," said Kulzer.
At that point, he wanted out.
"Obviously when we get to Takoma station ... I'm getting the hell off this train because I'm not going to wait for it to catch on fire again."
Kulzer says someone alerted the train operator to what happened, and all the passengers were offloaded at the Takoma station.
As Kulzer boarded the next train, he heard the operator announce that a train had caught fire at the Silver Spring station and they weren't going any further.
He thinks the train that caught fire is the same one he had been riding in.
Metro spokeswoman Caroline Lukas could not confirm that.
"I'm not certain when exactly the issue began. I do know that the train was offloaded prior to entering Silver Spring," Lukas said.
Red Line: Expect delays to Glenmont due to a disabled train at Silver Spring.— @wmata (@wmata) May 14, 2013
Red Line: Service temporarily suspended btwn Takoma and Forest Glen due to fire department activity.Updates to follow.— @wmata (@wmata) May 14, 2013
Red Line: Service temporarily suspended btwn Takoma and Forest Glen due to fire department activity.Updates to follow.— @wmata (@wmata) May 14, 2013
Train on fire at Silver Spring Metro. Bystanders say they heard a boom then saw smoke. twitter .com/justupthepike/…— dan reed! (@justupthepike) May 14, 2013
This video captures fire flareups coming from a Metro train at the Silver Spring station Tuesday.
Posted on: Saturday 5/11/2013 5:57am
WASHINGTON - Mom's house, prom night and a commencement at Howard University will be among this weekend's top travel destinations.
For some, it will start with showers and thunderstorms likely across the region on Saturday. Travel conditions on Sunday should be more favorable, with partly sunny skies and highs in the mid-60s.
The Susan G. Komen Global Race for the Cure will encircle the Tidal Basin on Saturday, but it is not expected to have a major impact on traffic. The street closures for the 5K race, including a portion of 15th Street SW, will be cleared by 11 a.m.
The Washington Nationals will host the Chicago Cubs at Nationals Park. Delays on the Southeast/Southwest Freeway and South Capitol Street are likely before and after the ballgame.
Those who are taking Metro to get to this weekend's affairs should be prepared for delays. There is track work scheduled on the Red, Orange, Blue and Yellow lines from 10 p.m. on Friday to closing time on Sunday night.
On the Red Line, trains will single-track between Grosvenor and Twinbrook and between Rhode Island Avenue and Takoma. Trains will operate at 28-minute intervals throughout the weekend, with increased service during the daytime hours through Bethesda and in the District.
Four stations will be closed on the Orange Line: Vienna, Dunn-Loring, West Falls Church and East Falls Church. Free shuttle buses will vector Metro riders around the track work. Express buses will travel directly between Vienna and East Falls Church and local buses will make stops at each station.
Blue and Yellow line trains will share tracks between Braddock Road and Pentagon City. Blue Line trains will operate every 30 minutes throughout the weekend. Yellow Line trains will run between Mount Vernon Square and Huntington every 15 and 20 minutes.
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Posted on: Friday 5/3/2013 3:08pm
WASHINGTON - Weekenders out and about for Cinco de Mayo activities should be on alert for potential slow-downs. There will be opportunities for delays on the roads and rails across the region this weekend.
Metro continues its rebuilding efforts on parts of the Red, Orange, Blue and Green lines. Nine stations will be closed because of the work. Meanwhile, the Interstate 95 Express Lanes Project will intensify construction efforts. The Interstate 95/395 HOV lanes will be closed early Saturday and portions of the HOV lanes will remain closed through Sunday.
Metrorail Track Work
Work on four rail lines will result in service changes on Metro this weekend. Buses will replace trains and a few stations will be closed on the Red Line and Green Line. Trains will share tracks on portions of the Orange and Blue lines.
The work will take place between 10 p.m. Friday through system closing Sunday night. There is no scheduled work on the Yellow Line and trains are expected to operate at normal intervals.
- Buses replace trains between Glenmont and Fort Totten stations.
- Five stations will be closed: Glenmont, Wheaton, Forest Glen, Silver Spring and Takoma.
- Express buses will operate non-stop between Glenmont and Fort Totten stations. Customers using express buses should add about 30 minutes to their travel time.
- Local buses will make intermediate stops at all closed stations. Customers using local buses should add up to 50 minutes to their travel time.
- Trains will single track between Clarendon and Foggy Bottom and between Stadium-Armory and Cheverly.
- Trains will operate every 26 minutes between Vienna and New Carrollton.
- Customers will experience a longer wait on station platforms.
- Trains will single track between Arlington Cemetery and Foggy Bottom.
- Trains will operate every 26 minutes between Franconia-Springfield and Largo Town Center
- Customers will experience a longer wait on station platforms.
- Buses will replace Green Line trains between Congress Heights and Branch Avenue on Saturday.
- Four stations will be closed: Branch Avenue, Suitland, Naylor Road and Southern Avenue.
- Express buses will operate non-stop between Branch Avenue and Congress Heights stations. Customers using express buses should add about 25 minutes to their travel time.
- Local buses will make intermediate stops at Suitland, Naylor Road and Southern Avenue stations. Customers using local buses should add up to 50 minutes to their travel time.
- On Sunday, trains will single track between Branch Avenue and Congress Heights to allow for necessary track upgrades and renewal. Trains will operate every 30 minutes between Branch Avenue and Greenbelt.
I-95 Express Lanes Project
For the second weekend in a row, the I-95/I-395 HOV lanes will be closed as a part of the 95 Express Lanes extension project. The entire stretch will be closed to traffic from Dumfries to the 14th Street Bridge from 11 p.m. on Friday to 10 a.m. Saturday.
The lanes will be available for southbound travel beginning late Saturday morning from Springfield to Dumfries on I-95. They will remain closed on I-395 through 10 a.m. on Sunday.
When the HOV lanes on both I-95 and I-395 fully reopen late Sunday morning, traffic will move northbound and continue northbound through Monday morning's rush hour without reversing.
Expect volume delays to begin taking hold early Saturday morning on I-95 through Dale City and Woodbridge until the HOV lanes reopen. Northbound congestion will likely persist from Quantico to Woodbridge through Saturday evening as the lanes will be oriented southbound. Daytime delays will be possible on I-395 during the day on Saturday, particularly north of Route 236 and Seminary Road.
The I-95 Express Lanes Project is one of Virginia's most expensive "Megaprojects." The HOV lanes are being transformed into dynamically tolled lanes, similar to the 495 Express Lanes, and will extend into northern Stafford County.
In-Town Work Zones
- On Saturday, construction will affect travel on the Suitland Parkway in Southeast Washington. Milling and paving work will force inbound traffic into a single lane from the Alabama Avenue overpass to the Stanton Road intersection. In addition, lane closures are possible on the parkway both ways at Firth Sterling Avenue SE.
- Delays are possible between Branch Avenue and Interstate 295, especially during the daytime hours on Saturday. The work is scheduled to occur between 4 a.m. and 7 p.m.
- Demolition work will block 11th Street SE between M Street and K Street through the weekend. The final components on the old flyover ramp from the Southeast Freeway to the old, outbound 11th Street Bridge will be dismantled. A short detour will be well assigned and the closure is not expected to cause any significant delays.
- The New York Avenue Bridge rehabilitation project continues this Saturday. Like previous weekends, the work zone will reduce travel to a single lane each way between Florida Avenue and Penn Street/4th Street NE.
The construction on New York Avenue is scheduled between 5:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. If the work wraps up on schedule, delays should remain minimal.
- As a part of the Dulles Metrorail Extension Project, crews will block a left lane on Interstate-66 both ways near the West Falls Church Metro Station and the Dulles Connector Road. The lane closures are scheduled on Friday and Saturday night from 9:30 p.m. to 7 a.m. The work will replace the temporary jersey walls with permanent guard rails along I-66.
Movie Shoot on the Roosevelt Bridge
Sunday, a film crew will roam the city shooting scenes for an upcoming major motion picture set in Washington, D.C. The movie shoot will briefly block travel on I-66 at the Theodore Roosevelt Bridge.
The Roosevelt Bridge will be closed to travel between 8:20 and 9:10 a.m. and again from 1:00 to 1:30 p.m.
From Arlington on I-66, inbound drivers during these times should use the exit to Spout Run Parkway (Exit 72) toward the George Washington Parkway and the Memorial Bridge or Exit 73 toward Rosslyn and the Key Bridge. Otherwise, all eastbound traffic will be diverted onto Route 110 southbound.
Expect the on-ramps from Route 50 and the southbound GW Parkway in Arlington to be blocked while the film crew is at work.
Annual Race for Hope 5K Run/Walk
The Race for Hope for brain tumor awareness and research will block a short stretch of Pennsylvania Avenue between 12th Street and 14th Street near Freedom Plaza on Sunday beginning around 8 a.m.
The race will continue toward the West Lawn of the U.S. Capitol, south toward Federal Center then back to Freedom Plaza. All street closures between the start/finish line at Freedom Plaza and the Capitol should be cleared by 11 a.m.
Virginia's Gold Cup
One of the nation's well-known steeplechase races will be held near The Plains in Fauquier County, Va., Saturday. The Gold Cup will take place at Great Meadows Park between 10 a.m. and 7 p.m.
The Gold Cup can draw sell-out crowds with up to 50,000 spectators expected this year. Delays are possible on Route 17 and Route 245/Old Tavern Road south of I-66 throughout the day as attendees file into the parking lots.
Posted on: Friday 4/26/2013 10:21am
WASHINGTON - As it begins to feel as though spring is actually here to stay, this weekend kicks into full gear with a charity walk, a half marathon and lots of road and Metro work.
7th Annual Walk to End Lupus
From 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. Saturday, Pennsylvania Avenue will be closed between 11th and 3rd Streets, NW.
Nike Women's Half Marathon
Pennsylvania Avenue will be closed from 12:01 a.m. Saturday until 11:59 p.m. Sunday.
The race begins at 7 a.m. Sunday and is expected to end by 11 a.m. The start and finish line will be Freedom Plaza, 11th and Pennsylvania Ave NW.
Here's the full Nike Women's Half Marathon race route.
Metro will open at 5 a.m. Sunday for the race. Metro Center, Federal Triangle, Archives are the closest stops to the start/finish line.
New York Avenue closures
New York Avenue will be closed in both directions between Florida Ave and Penn Street NE from 10 p.m. Friday until 11 a.m. Sunday. Traffic control personnel will be on hand to direct drivers through the detour.
Suitland Parkway lane closures
Milling and paving will take place on the westbound Suitland Parkway from the DC/MD line to Stanton Rd SE and at the intersection of the Suitland Parkway and Firth Sterling Avenue starting at 4 a.m. Saturday until 7 a.m. Sunday. At least one lane will be open at all times.
I-395/95 HOV Lane closures
The Interstate 395/95 High Occupancy Vehicle lanes will be closed their entire length from the D.C. line to Dumfries, Va., starting at 11 p.m. Friday until 10 a.m. Saturday.
The I-395 HOV lanes between the D.C. line and Springfield, Va., will remain closed until 4 p.m. Sunday when they will open in the northbound direction.
Chantilly U.S. 50 closures
Widening work will take place on U.S. 50 at Lee Road from 8 p.m. Friday until noon Saturday. One or two lanes will be closed in each direction of U.S. 50 and there will be periodic full stops of up to 15 minutes at a time. Also the ramp from Va. 28 southbound to U.S. 50 westbound will be closed.
Loudoun Route 7 closures for bridge demo
Two of three Va. 7 eastbound lanes between Belmont Ridge Road and River Creek Parkway in Loudoun County will continue to be closed this weekend from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. nightly through Tuesday for demolition of the Goose Creek Bridge.
Metro Track Work
All work zones are in place from 10 p.m. Friday through the system's closing Sunday:
Free shuttle buses will replace trains between the NoMa-Galludet and Takoma stations.
The Rhode Island Avenue, Brookland and Fort Totten stations will be closed. (Fort Totten will be open for Green and Yellow Line service only).
Trains will operate every 10 minutes during daylight hours and at regular weekend intervals at other times.
Blue and Orange Lines
Trains will single track between the McPherson Square and Smithsonian stations.
Last Orange Line train from New Carollton to Vienna will depart 19 minutes earlier, Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights. The last Blue Line train from Largo Town Center to Franconia-Springfield will depart 10 minutes earlier Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights.
Trains will operate every 20 minutes throughout the weekend except Sunday between 5 a.m. and 8 a.m. when they will operate every 12 minutes for the marathon.
Trains will single track between two work zones: Greenbelt and College Park and between Naylor Road and Branch Avenue.
Trains will operate every 20 minutes
Trains will operate every 20 minutes.
Trains will operate between Huntington and Fort Totten this weekend.
Posted on: Saturday 4/20/2013 7:08pm
WASHINGTON - Metro's spring break is over. Track work will affect travel on all five rail lines this weekend following a four-week reprieve from single-tracking and off-peak delays.
Metro Forward, the $5.5-billion project that aims to restore the aging infrastructure of the rail system, will resume with work beginning at 10 p.m. on Friday on the Red Line downtown, on the Orange Line in Rosslyn, on the Blue and Yellow lines near Pentagon City and near the northern end of the Green Line in Greenbelt.
All of the work zones will be in place through system-closing on Sunday night.
- Free shuttle buses will replace Red Line trains between Gallery Place and Union Station.
- Judiciary Square Station will be closed.
- Customers using shuttle bus service should allow 10 to 15 minutes of additional travel time.
- Free shuttle buses will replace Orange Line trains between Virginia Square and Rosslyn.
- The Courthouse and Clarendon stations will be closed.
- Customers using shuttle bus service should add 15 minutes to their travel time.
- Minor delays are possible outside the work zone.
- Trains will single track between Braddock Road and Pentagon City.
- Trains will operate every 30 minutes.
- Longer wait for trains leaving Reagan National Airport and Crystal City stations.
- Trains will single track between Greenbelt and College Park.
- Delays of up to 15 minutes possible for riders to or from Greenbelt Station.
- Trains will operate at regular weekend intervals between College Park and Branch Avenue.
Douglass Bridge Maintenance
Overnight closure of The Frederick Douglass Bridge, also known as the South Capitol Street Bridge, will take place Sunday morning from 4 a.m. to 9 a.m.
This closure is for routine testing.
George Washington Parkway Classic 10 Miler and 5K
Runners will overtake the George Washington Memorial Parkway Sunday between Mount Vernon and Old Town Alexandria this weekend for the George Washington Parkway Classic. The 10-Miler will begin near Mount Vernon Estate and end in Old Town at Oronoco Bay Park.
The last mile of the race is dedicated to Officer Peter Laboy who was seriously injured after being shot during a traffic stop on Wilkes Street in late February.
The George Washington Parkway will be closed to accommodate the runners between 6 a.m. and 11 a.m. Segments of the parkway will reopen from south to north as the runners make headway into Old Town.
Follow police direction on the routes near the George Washington Parkway including Collingwood Road, Morningside Lane, Belle View Boulevard, and Belle Haven Road. In Alexandria, the streets that intersect Washington Street closer to the finish line will likely be the last the reopen.
Learn more about the increased security for the race here.
IMF World Bank Meetings
The Cherry Blossoms crowds have eased but the IMF World Bank Meetings this weekend are sure to cause random and unpredictable delays throughout the city. Various streets will be blocked near the World Bank complex downtown.
Limousines and short motorcades will be in constant flux throughout the city, shuttling dignitaries to and from embassies and hotels. As is the case with any police detail, traffic on any of the streets or freeways in and toward Washington will occasionally be stopped as the motorcades pass by. In some cases, roads near, but not on, a motorcade route will be stopped. Therefore it will be possible to experience a delay related to the passage of a motorcade without being in sight of any police activity.
The following streets will be closed through 7 p.m. on Sunday:
- 19th Street NW closed from G Street to Pennsylvania Avenue NW
- H Street NW closed from 18th Street to 20th Street NW
The following streets will experience temporary closures through 7 p.m. on Sunday:
- 18th Street NW between G Street and Pennsylvania Avenue NW
- 20th Street NW between G Street and Pennsylvania Avenue NW
- G Street NW from 18th Street to 20th Street NW
Bay Bridge Safety Enhancements
Following a safety study completed in 2012, crews will be improving pavement markings on the westbound span on the Bay Bridge (Route 50/301) this weekend.
Work crews will remove and replace the rumble strips and pavement markings and add new signs on the westbound Bay Bridge to enhance safety measures during "two-way" traffic operations.
The work is scheduled to close the westbound span on Friday and Saturday from 10 p.m. to 7 a.m. the following morning and on Sunday from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. the following morning. The eastbound span will operate with two-way traffic.
The WTOP Weather Center calls for the potential of strong thunderstorms with high winds Friday night and early Saturday morning which may cause to work to be delayed or postponed. Motorists who plan to travel across the Bay Bridge on Friday night should be prepared for wind warnings or restrictions and follow overhead lane control signals.
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Posted on: Friday 4/12/2013 4:15pm
WASHINGTON - Downtown streets and sidewalks will be clogged with tourists, bicycles, tour buses and taxis this weekend. The National Cherry Blossom Festival will culminate with a parade and a fair, both of which will block numerous streets and make getting around the District challenging.
Pennsylvania Avenue NW will be closed for weekend events through much of the weekend.
ABC7's Doug Hill says to expect a nice weekend weather pattern with partly to mostly sunny skies, gusty winds early on and highs in the mid-60s.
The cherry blossom festival ends Sunday. Normal weekend traffic patterns should return to the Tidal Basin and National Mall by next weekend.
The Sakura Matsuri Japanese Street Festival will be an all day affair on Saturday along Pennsylvania Avenue between 9th and 14th streets in Northwest. There will be no traffic permitted through Federal Triangle until 11 p.m. on the following streets:
- Pennsylvania Avenue between 9th Street, NW and 14th Street, NW
- 13th Street, NW between Pennsylvania Avenue and E Street, NW
- 12th Street NW, between Constitution Avenue and E Street, NW
- 11th Street, NW, between Pennsylvania Avenue and E Street, NW
- 10th Street, NW between Constitution Avenue and E Street, NW
The National Cherry Blossom Parade
The rehearsal for the National Cherry Blossom Festival Parade begins before dawn along Constitution Avenue in front of Archives. A stretch of Constitution Avenue will be closed between 6th and 9th streets NW beginning at 4:30 a.m. The closure will be expanded west to 23rd Street by 9:30 a.m. for the parade which should begin around 10 a.m.
Constitution Avenue and the streets that cross it - with the exception of the numbered streets that will remain closed for the street festival - are expected to reopen by 1 p.m.
Police will normally direct inbound traffic from Virginia and the Roosevelt Bridge onto 23rd Street NW during events that close Constitution Avenue. The 9th Street Tunnel and 12th Street Tunnel will likely be closed during the parade.
Nationals versus the Braves
In addition to the tourists, baseball fans will be pouring into the city for the Nationals three-game series against the Atlanta Braves. Expect heavy traffic leading into the city on Interstate 395, I-295 and along South Capitol Street near the ballpark before first pitch Friday at 7:05 p.m. and Saturday at 1:05 p.m. The series concludes Sunday with a 1:35 p.m. game.
Officials usually block one westbound lane of the Southeast/Southwest Freeway near the entrance ramp from South Capitol Street to allow for an easier merge onto the freeway following Nats games.
Post-game traffic and crowds leaving the Tidal Basin will likely mix late Saturday and Sunday afternoon. Delays are likely on the routes leaving the city, including the Southwest Freeway toward the 14th Street Bridge and westbound on I-66 through Arlington.
Running season is here
There are many weekend races scheduled throughout the region. Most of them will not have a significant impact on travel.
In Fairfax City, the Strides for Success 5K Race will take place between the Fairfax County Government Center and Fairfax Corner Shopping Center on Saturday morning. Stretches of Monument Drive, Government Center Parkway and Random Hills Road will be blocked for the race through late morning. Delays are not expected.
Other weekend races in Fairfax include the Star Kid 5K and the Childens4Champions Run in Reston.
On Sunday, the Westland Colorsplash Mad Dash 5K & Kids Fun Run will take place in Chevy Chase. The Tiger Trot 5K will wind down local streets in Potomac, including Persimmon Tree Road.
The Race to Stop the Silence 8K is scheduled to begin at 9 a.m. near Federal Triangle downtown. Various streets between Freedom Plaza, the U.S. Capitol and Union Station will be blocked including Pennsylvania Avenue. This will likely have an impact on traffic in the city during the first part of Sunday. The closures are scheduled to be in effect between 5 a.m. and noon.
Highway Watch: Weekend Volume and Work Zones
Spring break is over for most schools and the early spring holidays have passed. Daytime delays may not be as intense this weekend on I-95 and I-66 as they were in late March and early April.
Overnight travelers on I-95 in Virginia will want to be aware of a scheduled work zone near the Marine Corps Base Quantico, exit 148. Demolition of the Telegraph Road bridge, a part of the I-95 Express Lanes project, will block two left lanes on northbound I-95 into early Saturday morning. After midnight, crews may occasionally stop northbound traffic. The work is not expected to hinder southbound traffic headed to destinations in Stafford County.
The project will also block the express lanes between Dumfries and Duke Street Friday and Saturday night. Motorists should remain on the mainline during the overnight hours.
Workers for the Dulles Metrorail Corridor Project will block the left lane on I-66 westbound near the Dulles Connector Road on Friday and Saturday night.
In Maryland on Sunday night, workers will be performing utility work on Route 355 from Elmhirst Drive to Jones Bridge Road near NIH.
Overnight paving may block up to two lanes each way on Route 355 in Rockville at Mannakee Street and up to two lanes southbound in Bethesda near Marinelli Road.
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Posted on: Friday 4/5/2013 4:13pm
Amy Freedman, wtop.com
WASHINGTON -- With the expectation of warmer weather, this weekend should prove busy around the tidal basin.
The cherry blossoms were projected to be in full bloom by now, but due to the colder weather they may be waiting until this weekend to really show their stuff.
If you're not a fan of big crowds and traffic, the formula is simple: Avoid driving anywhere near the tidal basin area this weekend.
If you are planning to go to the tidal basin, it's best to take Metro. Smithsonian station is the closest, but Metro Center, Federal Triangle and Archives stations are good options for a nice warm weather walk.
There are a handful of traffic projects taking place this weekend, and if you've been wanting to check out the Virginia Beltway's Express Lanes but haven't wanted to pay, this weekend presents a great opportunity.
National Cherry Blossom Festival fireworks
The annual fireworks display takes place -- rain or shine -- at 8:30 p.m. on Saturday at the Southwest Waterfront, 600 Water Street SW.
Credit Union Cherry Blossom 10 Mile Run
The Cherry Blossom Run benefiting Children's Miracle Network Hospitals, kicks off around 7 a.m. on Sunday. The race begins on the National Mall at 15th Street and Jefferson, and will encompass Ohio Drive, Haines Point, the Memorial Bridge and a small portion of Rock Creek Park.
These are the main closures to be aware of:
2 a.m. to 11:30 a.m.:
- 15th Street between Constitution and Independence
5 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.:
- Independence SW Between 14th and 23rd streets
- Memorial Bridge
- 23rd and 17th Streets between Independence and Constitution
- Maine Ave SW between 12th and 15th Streets
Metro will open at 5 a.m. on Sunday for the race
Closest stations are: Smithsonian, L'Enfant Plaza, Metro Center or Archives
International Pillow Fight Day
This lively event actually does take place in cities all over the world and will be in full swing on the National Mall from 3 to 5 p.m. on Saturday.
Free Express Lanes
If you're intrigued by the new Virginia Beltway Express Lanes, but haven't wanted to pay the tolls to explore them, this weekend is your chance. From 12:01 a.m. Saturday until 11:59 p.m. Sunday, the Express Lanes -- which normally require an EZPass -- are free for everyone.
I-95 south overnight closure
As part of the I-95 Express Lanes project, lanes will be closed on I-95 southbound at mm147 in Quantico near the Telegraph Road overpass, beginning Friday night continuing into Saturday. A full closure will take place between 2 a.m. and 3 a.m. for demolition of the bridge. Traffic will be diverted onto Route 1 southbound.
Route 15 Haymarket full closure Sunday
Route 15 James Madison Highway between Market Ridge Boulevard and Route 55 will be closed Sunday from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. to allow for work at the railroad crossing. Northbound traffic will detour onto Route 29 while southbound traffic will be diverted onto Route 55. Detours will be posted.
Piney Branch Rd NW at Georgia Avenue
In the Brightwood neighborhood, there will be a full closure of Piney Branch Rd NW at Georgia Avenue this weekend with Georgia Avenue only running one lane in each direction for a paving project
11th Street SE closure
11th Street SE between M and K Streets SE will be closed Saturday and Sunday from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. for work related to the 11th Street Bridge Project.
Lane closures on East West Highway
The Maryland State Highway Administration is closing and shifting lanes on East West Highway just east of Colesville Road beginning Friday night at 11 p.m. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration will be installing a rooftop air conditioning unit, which should take several hours. Once the unit is installed, traffic will move to single lanes in each direction. The highway administration advises using alternate routes:
"Motorists on southbound Colesville Road wanting to turn left (east) on MD 410 should consider turning left on MD 97 (Georgia Avenue) to avoid the area. Motorists on northbound Colesville Road wanting to turn right on MD 410 should consider going past the intersection to a right onto Wayne Avenue to a right onto Georgia Avenue," the MSHA says in a statement.
Work should be completed by Sunday.
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Posted on: Friday 3/29/2013 2:56pm
Dave Dildine, wtop.com
WASHINGTON - Expect a general increase in highway volume across the region due to Easter and Passover travel, spring break, the Cherry Blossom Festival and the forecast of warmer weather.
The traffic picture this weekend will likely be framed not by individual events or specific incidents, but rather by the broader impact of discretionary travel.
Interstate travel volume on I-95 and I-66 has been increasing over the past month. Delays on Saturdays and Sundays are becoming more common and more intense during the daytime hours.
While congestion on the roads may slow you down, trains on Metrorail will operate at regular weekend intervals. The normal weekend track work has been suspended until April 14 to benefit those headed downtown.
More people will be venturing down to the Tidal Basin this weekend. The Yoshino Cherries are approaching peak bloom.
The National Park Service is still predicting that 70 percent of the trees will be in bloom between April 3 and 6. The blooming period can last up to 14 days, the Park Service says.
If you're taking Metro to see the cherries, the busiest station during the Cherry Blossom Festival is usually Smithsonian. Since the weather will be pleasant, some may opt to take the scenic walk across the mall from the Federal Triangle or Archives stations.
Metro customers without a SmarTrip card can purchase a one-day pass for $14. The one-day pass can be used for unlimited travel on the day it is first used.
On Saturday, Marquette takes on Syracuse at the Verizon Center for the NCAA eastern regional basketball game. Metro, as always, is the best way to get to the venue.
Posted on: Friday 3/29/2013 6:22am
Dave Dildine, wtop.com
WASHINGTON - A major commuting route from Maryland to D.C. is also one of the most accident-prone paths into the nation's capital.
The District Department of Transportation's $390 million reconstruction of the 11th Street Bridge continues and is moving into the second phase. But since opening, many of the new ramps to and from the bridge have played host to crashes.
So far this year, the WTOP Traffic Center has reported on at least 43 accidents on the bridge or on the ramps leading to the bridge. That's about one crash every other day.
The majority of the wrecks occurred on the inbound side of the bridge where drivers merging off Interstate 295 weave together toward Capitol Hill.
That bottleneck should be alleviated when the ramp leading onto the Southeast Freeway is finalized by early next year.