Labor Day marks the last big travel weekend of the summer. Here's how to navigate Interstate 95 in Virginia and Maryland's Chesapeake Bay Bridge — and what to expect on Metro if you're staying in town.
UPDATE Aug. 30 11:20 a.m.: On Thursday, Metro canceled planned Blue, Orange and Silver Line track work that had been scheduled to have trains single-track through Rosslyn for lighting replacement. Two trains going through Rosslyn went down the incorrect track this week (Blue went to Orange/Silver, Silver went to Blue) when switches there were pointed in the wrong direction amid a signal problem.
WASHINGTON — Metro track work hits the Red, Green and Yellow lines Labor Day weekend, as transportation agencies warn of backups on the roads surrounding the holiday.
If you’re traveling on the Chesapeake Bay Bridge, you’ve missed the Maryland Transportation Authority’s recommendation of crossing before 10 a.m. or after 6 p.m. Thursday. On Friday, the best times were before 7 a.m. or after 9 p.m.
During rainy or windy conditions, bridge operators will not open the reversible lane on the west span to eastbound traffic for safety reasons. When eastbound drivers are limited to two lanes at the bridge, long, persistent traffic jams can form on U.S. Route 50 and the roads throughout Annapolis.
Saturday, the best times are expected to be before 8 a.m. and after 6 p.m., and on Sunday, when backups are again possible much of the day, the best times are before 8 a.m. or after midnight. On Monday, westbound drivers who do not make it across the bridge by 10 a.m. can expect to sit in a significant amount of traffic, the agency said.
In Virginia, Interstate 95 Express Lanes operator Transurban recommends using the toll lanes and I-95 itself during off-peak hours from the Wednesday before Labor Day through the Tuesday after to avoid high tolls or long stretches of stopped traffic.
Drivers who choose to use the Express Lanes may want to exit back into the regular lanes at Joplin or Garrisonville roads to avoid additional high tolls and backups at the point where the Express Lanes and regular lanes merge in Stafford County.
Thursday and Friday were the last days of the summer reversal schedule for the 95 Express Lanes, with the turnaround to point southbound beginning around 10:30 a.m. The lanes will run northbound from about 2 p.m. Saturday through Monday night.
Starting Tuesday, the weekday lane reversals will begin at 11 a.m.
On the Red Line, the Brookland and Rhode Island Avenue stops remain closed, with no trains between NoMa-Gallaudet and Fort Totten. Shuttle buses are running, but other alternatives may be better. All weekend, the last Red Line train from Glenmont through Silver Spring continues to leave 30 minutes earlier than usual.
On the Green Line, trains are slightly cut back from a regular weekend schedule to every 15 minutes due to single-tracking between L’Enfant Plaza and Navy Yard.
While there is no work on Yellow Line tracks, the Yellow Line is also reduced to every 15 minutes and is cut back to only run between Huntington and Mt. Vernon Square, rather than all the way to and from Fort Totten.
On Monday, Metro will run a Sunday schedule due to the Labor Day holiday, with the rail system open from 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. Off-peak fares will be charged all day, and parking will be free at all Metro-operated garages.
As a reminder, Metro now runs 5 a.m. to 11:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday; 5 a.m. to 1 a.m. Friday; 7 a.m. to 1 a.m. Saturday; and 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. on Sunday.
The first trains in the morning can be significantly later than the stated opening time depending on the time and direction of travel, and the last trains each evening leave or arrive up to 50 minutes before or after closing, so riders should check the schedules that impact their trips.
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