Drivers can expect delays on northern end of GW Parkway due to construction

D.C.-area drivers should expect some considerable delays on the northern end of the George Washington Parkway.

As part of a $161 million restoration project, the National Park Service said it will closed the southbound lanes between Interstate 495 and Virginia Route 123. The work — which began Saturday, April 22 — was supposed to start a week earlier but was postponed due to inclement weather.

This traffic pattern could stick around until late 2025. The project will last that long because work will include not only repaving the road, but also redesigning the Route 123 interchange, repairing stormwater systems, reconstructing stone walls and roadside barriers, and rehabilitating the parkway’s scenic overlooks.

With the southbound lanes out of service, all traffic will share the northbound lanes, which now includes an additional temporary third lane built for the scheduled work.

Drivers on the section of the parkway will encounter only one lane going north and one lane going south. That configuration will be standard outside of the morning and afternoon rush hours, so the center lane can be used for construction crews and first responders.

GWP 3 lane configuration
Starting Saturday, April 22, a new traffic pattern is coming to the northern section of the GW Parkway from I-495 to Route 123. This illustration shows how the road will be configured for the morning rush. (Courtesy National Park Service)

Starting Monday from 5:30 to 9:30 a.m., drivers will find two lanes, which will include the center lane going southbound. It will be the opposite from 2:45 to 7:15 p.m., when afternoon drivers find two lanes headed northbound.

On weekday evenings, two lanes will carry traffic northbound toward Maryland. (Courtesy National Park Service)

Temporary lane dividers have been installed around the center lane. One northbound lane will be closed from 8 p.m. Thursday to 2:45 p.m. Friday.

The National Park Service said drivers who need to exit at the CIA headquarters or Route 123 should never use the center lane when it is in use because the lane will not allow cars to exit at those two locations.

The NPS is urging drivers to consider alternate routes if they can, as the change will lead to delays. A 40 mph speed limit is also in place since lanes will be narrow.

Watch a video of what drivers may expect to find starting Saturday.

Mike Murillo

Mike Murillo is a reporter and anchor at WTOP. Before joining WTOP in 2013, he worked in radio in Orlando, New York City and Philadelphia.

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