Weekend Wakeup: Summertime means an increase in traffic

WASHINGTON – The usual summer traffic patterns will slow weekend drivers down for the next several months. Steady increases in highway volume have led to delays on Interstate 95 in Virginia and Route 50 toward the Bay Bridge as vacationers and weekenders take to the roads. Typical summer travel weather, including the occasional downpour, can also be expected this weekend.

In addition to possible volume and weather delays, there are a few events and work zones to be aware of around town.

Saturday races

The DC Metro HBCU Alumni Alliance 5k Run/2k Walk will be held on Saturday at 8 a.m. on the Howard University campus, in front of the School of Medicine. The course will close parts of W Street, 5th and 6th streets and Gresham Street, but is not expected to have a major impact on travel.

Runners in the Pacers Mini Relay will dart between Pacers Running Store locations in Alexandria, Arlington and Washington on Saturday afternoon.

The relay begins around 4 p.m. near King Street and Payne Street, in Old Town. Runners will make their way north to Pentagon City, then into Washington toward a handoff location near Logan Circle, then back to Arlington. There are no road closures scheduled for the relay, but drivers should remain alert near crosswalks.

The Run for Independence 8k course will be held at 7 a.m. on Saturday in historic Leesburg. The eight- mile race will affect travel through Leesburg on routes including Catoctin Circle, North King Street (Route 15) and Battlefield Parkway, where runners will be relegated to the curb lanes. Be careful winding your way around the traffic cones and follow police direction where available.

Weekend sports delays

DC United plays against the Vancouver Whitecaps at RFK Stadium at 7 p.m. on Saturday. Fans driving to the match from Virginia should by now be used to the new traffic pattern on the eastbound Southeast/Southwest Freeway (I-395/I-695). Since there is no longer direct access to Parking Lot 8 from the freeway fans should take the outbound 11th Street Bridge to D.C. Route 295 North toward Benning Road to arrive at the stadium lots.

Normal traffic control during DC United home matches includes a lane closure on Route 295 south before the on-ramp from East Capitol Street. Although this lane reduction creates a safer merge for post-game traffic, it also tends to delay inbound traffic from Maryland and Northeast Washington on Kenilworth Avenue. Since this weekend’s match is later than last weekend, delays should be relatively brief.

I-95 express lanes construction

Construction of the new I-95 express lanes is in full swing. Crews will close the High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) lanes on Friday night as the process of transforming the express lanes into dynamically tolled lanes continues.

On Saturday, the express lanes will serve southbound traffic through early afternoon, but a short segment will remain closed for work from south of Duke Street on I-395 to the Franconia-Springfield Parkway on I-95. When the work zone clears by mid-afternoon, the lanes are expected to open to northbound traffic.

The lanes will again be closed late Saturday night through early Sunday morning.

Delays are likely for southbound traffic on I-95 on Saturday morning. Although the express lanes will be accessible south of Newington, many motorists are likely to remain in the mainline, which will likely be heavy early toward Woodbridge.

11th Street Bridge construction

In Southeast Washington, the major overhaul of the 11th Street Bridge and its connections to and from the Southeast Freeway continue on Sunday. A section of 8th Street SE between Virginia Avenue and I Street will be closed between noon and 6 p.m. to begin construction of a new on-ramp to the eastbound freeway.

Motorists may have noticed that construction of the new outbound freeway bridge has commenced. The demolition of the old outbound bridge was largely completed as of last week as the last bridge pier was dismantled near 8th Street.

This new bridge will connect the eastbound freeway to the outbound 11th Street Bridge. Currently outbound traffic, in a temporary configuration, is traveling in what will eventually be the inbound lanes.

Metrorail track work

All Metro stations will remain open this weekend, but routine track work will lead to delays on all five rail lines. The work begins at 10 p.m. on Friday and lasts through the weekend.

Red Line trains will operate every 20 minutes. Orange and Blue line trains will run at 24-minute intervals. Yellow Line trains will operate every 24 minutes between Huntington & Mt. Vernon Square.

On the Green Line, trains will single-track through a work zone between Branch Avenue and College Park. Trains will otherwise run at normal intervals.

You can find more on this weekend’s track work here.

Follow Dave Dildine and @WTOPtraffic on Twitter.

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