After rain delays, Arlington Memorial Bridge closes for the weekend

WASHINGTON — After a couple of wet weekends and back-to-back rain delays, the planned weekend closure of Arlington Memorial Bridge went into effect on Friday evening.

With mostly clear skies expected, the National Park Service said the closure of the bridge was scheduled for 7 p.m. The bridge was officially closed at 9 p.m. It is scheduled to remain closed through the weekend, reopening early Monday around 5 a.m.

Throughout the weekend, drivers, pedestrians and cyclists will have to rely on the 14th Street, Roosevelt or Key bridges to travel in and out of D.C.

The weekend work was originally scheduled in mid-September, but rain forced crews to postpone the project twice.

Construction crews will position a barge under the hidden drawspan of the bridge. A crane will be erected, and steel supports will be installed.

This preparation work is ahead of complete changes to the traffic patterns around the bridge, set to begin next month and run through the project’s completion in 2021.

Although the bridge will be reopened before the Monday morning rush hour, the park service said drivers should expect a new traffic pattern, with only two lanes open to inbound and outbound drivers through mid-to-late October.

A concrete jersey wall will also be installed down the center of the span, separating inbound and outbound traffic.

Fewer available lanes could cause delays along the George Washington Parkway and heavier traffic across the nearby Potomac River bridges during peak travel periods over the next several weeks.

Around mid-October, the bridge’s south side, which usually carries inbound traffic toward the Lincoln Memorial, will close for about a year.

During the more than two years of work, the park service plans to use a reversible lane on the bridge to address some of the expected backups, but the closure is still expected to slow traffic.

Additional weekend and occasional overnight closures of the bridge are planned for the duration of the project.

WTOP’s Max Smith contributed to this article.

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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