The National Christmas Tree Lighting is happening on Wednesday at 4:30 p.m., and the attendant road closures will likely make for a mess for those leaving or driving through the District.
EDITOR’S NOTE: The police department corrected the time the closures will start.
WASHINGTON — The excitement surrounding Wednesday afternoon’s National Christmas Tree lighting ceremony on the Ellipse can be tempered by all of the commuters who will get stuck in traffic around it.
The 4:30 p.m. ceremony leads to road closures near the White House between 1 p.m. and 8 p.m.
In past years, Loudoun County Commuter Buses have been delayed 10 to 45 minutes, the county warned riders. Sometimes, backups were even worse across areas of the city many blocks away from the closures, especially between 5 p.m. and 7 p.m. Taking Metro, working from home, or simply departing work later than usual are among the best ways to avoid major delays.
On Wednesday, 17th Street Northwest is scheduled to be closed between Pennsylvania Avenue and Constitution Avenue starting at noon. Beginning at 2 p.m., that closure extends across the National Mall to Independence Avenue Southwest.
Also starting at 2 p.m., 15th Street Northwest is scheduled to close between H Street Northwest and the National Mall, and Constitution Avenue Northwest is scheduled to close between 14th and 18th streets.
Closures and special street parking restrictions in the area are expected to be lifted around 8 p.m.
Model and actor Antonio Sabàto Jr. is hosting the 96th annual tree lighting. This year’s event features a number of country and Christian musicians as well as tenor Anthony Kearns.