Weekend Wakeup: Spring break, blossoms and basketball complicate weekend travel

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.

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