Weekend Road and Rail: I-66 and Beltway stops, Red Line shutdown

It’ll prove a chilly weekend for many in the D.C. region, but most roadwork should still go ahead as scheduled. The planned changes include stops for the 66 Transformation Project on both directions of Interstate 66 and the Capital Beltway.

There are changes in the 495 Next Project and the Purple Line Construction. Metro has planned a Red Line shutdown. Here’s what you need to know.

Roadwork

Virginia

Changes to traffic patterns related to the 66 Transforms Outside the Beltway/Express Lanes Expansion Project seem to be shifting at warp speed. Those traveling the stretch of the corridor between the Beltway and Gainesville are continuing to see changes on an almost daily basis.

A big one to be aware of this weekend is near the Beltway, where the I-66 East general-purpose lanes to the 495 Express Lanes will begin using a new 66 Express Lanes flyover ramp. The new ramp is located on the right side of I-66 East, just after the Cedar Lane Bridge over I-66, and about one-mile after (or east of) the I-66/Nutley Street interchange.

This ramp will be a permanent feature of the Transform 66 Outside the Beltway Project and will be the only way for motorists to reach the 495 Express Lanes from the I-66 East general-purpose lanes.

Location of the new 495 Express Lanes ramp. (Courtesy VDOT)

In the final 66 Express Lanes configuration, eastbound 66 Express Lanes traffic will be able to exit to the I-495 general purpose lanes and 495 Express Lanes, or continue east on I-66 inside the Beltway. Eastbound I-66 general purpose traffic will be able to exit to I-495 or continue east on I-66 inside the Beltway.

The first nine miles of the 66 Express Lanes opened between Gainesville and Va. Route 28 in Centreville on Sept. 10. The remaining portion of the 66 Express Lanes between I-495 and Route 28 is planned to open in the westbound direction on or about Saturday, Nov. 19, and in the eastbound direction by the end of November.

The 495 Next Project is also implanting a ramp change this week to facilitate construction for the Express Lane Expansion on the Beltway. Motorists traveling northbound I-495 Capital Beltway to westbound Dulles Toll Road will take an earlier exit, rather than the existing left exit (Exit 45), which is closing to allow room for construction of a new, replacement I-495 bridge over the Dulles Toll Road ramps.

This earlier exit ramp is an existing 495 North Express Lanes ramp located about one-third of a mile ahead of Exit 45, just before (slightly south of) the Dulles Toll Road bridges, which also will now be used by general purpose traffic.

To facilitate this new travel pattern, I-495 will be reduced from four to three lanes for a stretch of approximately one-half mile near the I-495 and Dulles Corridor interchange. This new configuration is expected to be in place from November 2022 through early 2025. Due to this change, drivers traveling on southbound Route 123 will not be able to access the westbound Dulles Toll Road from northbound I-495.

Maryland

A few changes are in the works along University Boulevard as part of the ongoing Purple Line Project between Montgomery and Prince Georges counties. Be sure to check the site for any ongoing changes and travel information.

As of this week, there is a new long-term traffic switch on MD-193/University Boulevard between Tulane Drive and 24th Avenue. The lanes have shifted to the newly completed bridge over the Northwest Branch of the Anacostia River.

There are two lanes in each direction and pedestrian access will be maintained, including a temporary channelized pedestrian pathway. A new work zone will be established to begin construction of the south bridge over the Northwest Branch of the Anacostia River.

Coming up this week, on or about Nov. 21, there is a planned long-term closure of the westbound right lane of University Boulevard between Riggs Road and New Hampshire Avenue. This lane closure is required to install new drainage, sidewalks and curbing.

With this upcoming work, street parking in the work zone will be prohibited. There will be posted signage. Pedestrian access along with access to driveways and businesses on University Boulevard will be maintained. Work will be scheduled between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. during weekdays and weekends, as needed.

Also new this week, the Maryland Department of Transportation State Highway Administration announced its completion of a $93 million project to reconstruct and expand the I-270/MD 85 Buckeystown Pike interchange in Frederick County.

This project addressed two poorly-rated bridges on I-270 over Md. Route 85, both built in 1950, also thee widening of Route 85 with an additional lane in each direction between Spectrum Drive and just north of Crestwood Boulevard/Shockley Drive. And there are now wider exit ramps to and from I-270.

For all ongoing roadwork projects, check the MDOT SHA project portal.

Due to the Montgomery County Thanksgiving Parade, select Ride On routes will experience detours on Saturday, Nov. 19. The parade will run from Ellsworth Drive and Fenton Street and proceeds south on Georgia Avenue, ending at Silver Spring Avenue.

DC

The District Department of Transportation will temporarily close lanes and ramps on the following roadways for work related to the I-295/DC 295 Corridor Project.

The following lane and ramp closures will be in place daily from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. and nightly from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. from Nov. 14 to Nov. 21, 2022, weather permitting.

On days and nights during events at Nationals Park and/or Audi Field, there will be no lane closures from two hours before the start of the event, to two hours after the event concludes.

South Capitol Street SE/SW single lane closure northbound and southbound between Firth Sterling Avenue SE and N Street SE, double lane closures will occur between 9 p.m. to 5 a.m.

  • Suitland Parkway SE: Single lane closure eastbound and westbound between Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue SE and South Capitol Street SE, weekends starting 6 a.m.
  • Firth Sterling Avenue SE: Single lane closed both ways between South Capitol Street SE and Howard Road SE
  • Potomac Avenue SE/SW: Single lane closure between First Street SE and Second Street SW
  • Howard Road SE: Single lane closure between Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue SE and South Capitol Street SE, weekend closures beginning at 7 a.m.

Be sure to check the websites for the I-295/DC-295 Corridor Project and the South Capitol Street Corridor Project.

Metro

This weekend, Metrorail will have routine maintenance, which will require single tracking on the Green Line — and a Red Line shutdown.

Meanwhile, the Yellow Line shutdown continues between the Pentagon and L’Enfant Plaza with the Bridge and Tunnel Rehabilitation Project halting Yellow Line service through May 2023.

Metro is running on a normal weekend schedule, opening at 7 a.m. and closing at 1 a.m. on Saturday, and midnight Sunday, serving 95 of 97 stations with the Red Line’s Bethesda and Medical Center stations closed for switch replacement.

With the Red Line shutdown, free shuttle buses replace service between Friendship Heights and Grosvenor.

The full weekend schedule with service adjustments can be found here.

Mary DePompa

WTOP Traffic Reporter, Mary de Pompa has a great understanding of the D.C.-area gridlock, being a third-generation Washingtonian. If you see more than she says, call Mary on the WTOP Traffic Hotline at 202-895-5048 or email her at mdepompa@wtop.com.

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