Weekend Wakeup: National Cherry Blossom Festival ends Sunday

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.

Sakura Matsuri

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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