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Peace, love and brake lights: The lighting of the National Christmas Tree

The National Christmas Tree will once again be lit on the Ellipse Thursday, creating traffic nightmares downtown. (Google Maps)

Amy Freedman, wtop.com

WASHINGTON – The National Christmas Tree will once again be lit on the Ellipse Thursday, and our thoughts turn to peace, love and getting out of the holiday traffic.

Driving outbound on Constitution Avenue, the glow of lights tend to be more red than green as motorists try to navigate the inevitable downtown gridlock caused by this annual event.

Starting at 4:15 p.m., 15th Street NW will be closed between E Street at Pennsylvania Avenue and Constitution Avenue. Seventeenth Street NW will be closed between Constitution Avenue and New York Avenue. The roads are scheduled to reopen by 7 p.m.

According to Metro, Constitution Avenue between 15th and 17th streets may also be closed. Metro says traffic issues additionally may impact:

  • 18th Street NW
  • 13th Street NW
  • 14th Street NW
  • H Street NW
  • I Street NW
  • K Street NW

Numerous Metrobus routes also may be delayed or detoured. See the list here.

Thursday could be a good night to plan on leaving town early, having dinner downtown and then doing some shopping or actually heading to the event to enjoy the multicolored lights of the tree lighting – instead of the monotone red ones while sitting in your car.

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(Copyright 2012 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)


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