Weekend Wakeup: Blossoms, Fireworks, Free Express Lanes, Pillow Fights

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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