Long traffic delays near National Harbor expected Sunday evening

WASHINGTON — Drivers on the Beltway will experience the one-two punch of post-Redskins traffic and the droves of families headed to National Harbor Sunday evening. Long delays could form near the Woodrow Wilson Bridge.

The National Harbor Tree Lighting Ceremony is expected to draw big crowds. The event begins at 2 p.m. with Santa’s Frosty Follies followed by a movie screening and photos with Santa. The main event, the tree lighting and fireworks show, is scheduled to begin at 6:30 p.m. on the waterfront.

In previous years, the tree lighting has led to major delays on the Beltway. In 2015, traffic was slow on the Outer Loop from Springfield, Va., nine miles from the parking garages at National Harbor. A long traffic jam also formed that year in the District on southbound Interstate 295.

This year’s ceremony coincides with a Redskins game at FedExField. As fans leave Landover, an increase in volume will likely lead to delays on the Inner Loop through Oxon Hill. Drivers not headed to the event at National Harbor should use the Thru Lanes to cross the Wilson Bridge instead of the Local Lanes or consider taking the end-run around the north side of the Beltway through Montgomery County.

Dave Dildine

A native to the Washington area, Dave Dildine is no stranger to the region's complex traffic and weather patterns. Dave joined WTOP in 2010 when the station launched its very own in-house traffic service. You can hear him "on the 8s and when it breaks" from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m. on weekdays.

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