Trafficpocalypse: D.C.-area roads to fear right now
Updated: August 27, 2010 - 06:05 pm
Kellie Boulware, a spokesperson for the Maryland State Highway Administration, said that work (which involves lane shutdowns) to patch eastbound lanes of Route 50 is expected to start Friday night — prime time for shore-bound drivers coming from the D.C. area after dinner. Boulware suggested adjusting travel times to get an early start (like right now), or taking alternate Route 450 east, which runs parallel to Route 50.
“We’re going to make every attempt to get the work done as quickly as possible,” she said, “but travelers should be prepared for some delays.”
“There are so few roads over there that 450 becomes the main alternate route,” noted Metro Traffic director of operations Jim Russ when he reviewed the construction zone between the Beltway and Anne Arundel County. “These one-lane roads won’t carry as much traffic as the main highways,” he said.
His best bet? Take Route 214/Central Avenue south to Route 424 in Davidsonville before rejoining Route 50 toward the Bay Bridge.
UPDATE 2:40 p.m.: Kevin C. writes in with the following tip:
I think it is best to take I95 North for those heading from MoCo/NoVa to beach. Then, turn onto Rt 32 east, which intersects with Rt 97. No one ever uses these roads. If you are from upper Moco like Olney, Rockville ,etc, this is even easier if you take Rt 198 from Ga Ave to Rt 29, then head north to Rt 32. Avoid the beltway, avoid Rt 50.
“Avoid I-66 altogether” advised Russ, since HOT lane construction will close two eastbound lanes from Nutley Street to the Beltway starting tonight and continue through the weekend. A variety of alternate routes are available, including Route 50/Arlington Boulevard, Route 29/Lee Highway, and Route 7 from north and west Loudoun County toward Arlington and the District. But plan your routes carefully, as Lee Highway doesn’t provide access to the Beltway.
Joan Morris, a spokesperson for the Virginia Department of Transportation, noted that 30-minute closures of all lanes could occur but are limited to the overnight hours. She noted that traffic drops significantly at night, but that half-hour closures could result in major delays of an hour or more. “No one wants to sit in traffic in the middle of the night,” Morris said.
UPDATE 3:25 p.m.: TBD's Rebecca A. Cooper's neighborhoods blog post about the construction includes a map of I-66 entrance and exit closures over the weekend as well as the detour route.
Just when we thought taking MetroBus was the best way around town, WMATA has announced bus detours due to the rally starting on Howard University’s campus on Saturday morning. Routes 70, 71, 32, 36 and 96 can expect rolling detours beginning at 8 a.m., but WMATA doesn’t further explain detour routes.
There's a lot of road closures, too, due to the even bigger rally that Glenn Beck is planning. Perhaps you've heard about it.
Our advice: Sleep in.
Jim Russ has some advice for those who must venture into downtown D.C. this weekend and have to do so by car. The key is to stay to the east side of the city, taking the tunnels: 3rd Street/Route 395, 12th Street northbound, or 9th Street southbound.
Stay north of the National Mall on lettered streets, and above all, avoid Independence Avenue: It borders both of Saturday’s epic rallies.
And then there's this report on the general-mess-to-come from our friends at ABC 7 News:
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