Cone Zone: Updates on D.C.-area work zones
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    On the BW Parkway, road work makes way for rail work 

    Posted by WTOP/Dave Dildine
    May 16, 2019
     
    Midday delays and work zones have become the new normal on the Baltimore-Washington Parkway near the Hyattsville exit. The construction will make way for Purple Line trains several years for now.
     
    The light rail line will run under the Baltimore-Washington Parkway on Route 410 between Riverdale Park and the proposed Beacon Heights-East Pine Station. The existing underpass is not wide enough to send four lanes of traffic and a rail line underneath the parkway. The solution: reconstruction of the bridges. 
     
    In late March, a temporary bridge span was pushed into place above Route 410. Last weekend, northbound traffic on the BW Parkway was shifted onto the new bridge and onto new pavement on both sides of it.
     
    This weekend, a temporary bridge for southbound traffic will be launched, according to Purple Line Transit Partners. Route 410 is scheduled to be closed late Saturday night into early Sunday morning. The road is expected to reopen by 5 a.m.
     
    Purple Line Transit Partners plans to shift southbound traffic onto the other temporary span in the coming month.
     
    The closure of the existing bridges will allow crews to expand the width of the underpass. Once the modifications to the overpasses and abutments are finished, the temporary bridges will be deconstructed.
     
    Daytime lane closures are likely to continue near the worksite for some time.
     
    The effort to send light rail down a more than 16 mile long path between Bethesda and New Carrollton is involved and multi-faceted. The project has run into cost overruns and delays. The construction phase of the project is projected to last through 2022.

    Overlapping projects to block lanes on Colesville Rd.

    Posted by WTOP/Dave Dildine
    May 16, 2019
     
    Years of water, power and road work on and under Colesville Road are expected to culminate this year, as several overlapping projects begin to wrap up.
     
    A WSSC water main replacement project will enter its final phase later this spring. The utility company has spent the last two years replacing nearly two miles of transmission and distribution lines under Colesville Road between Georgia Avenue and the Beltway.
     
    The "big dig" for the water main work and concurrent Pepco upgrades was slowed following the discovery of hard bedrock underneath Colesville Road.
     
    (Photo courtesy WSSC)
     
     
    "When we go to lay in a transmission line we have to dig a little deeper. We anticipated that, but what really delayed this project was when we realized we had granite. That takes longer to drill through," said WSSC spokesperson Jerry Irvine.
     
    Irvine said the utility company is well-coordinated with Pepco and the Maryland Department of Transportation. The final phase of work in downtown Silver Spring is set to begin later this spring.
     
    The MDOT State Highway Administration has announced a mile-long stretch of Colesville Road (Route 29) will be paved between Georgia Avenue and Sligo Creek Parkway. This work will likely be completed following the digging associated with the water line and power upgrades.
     
    In addition to the customary milling, paving and restriping, the curb and gutter system will be revamped in places. Several concrete bus pads will also be improved.
     
    The roadwork will occur on weekday middays through 3 p.m. and during overnight periods. Utility crews are permitted to block up to two lanes as late as 3:30 p.m. on weekdays. While the utility work will be winding down near the Beltway, work zones closer to downtown Silver Spring will be necessary through the end of the year.
     
    The Route 29 Bus Rapid Transit system is scheduled for launch in early 2020. The system will include stops at Georgia Avenue, Fenton Street and University Boulevard near Four Corners. The implementation of traffic signal priority to extend the green light or shorten the red light duration for BRT vehicles is ongoing.

    Pesky pavement problems

    Posted by WTOP/Dave Dildine
    May 9, 2019
     
    It's paving season. Spring and summer are prime time for road resurfacing since asphalt is easier to apply during warmer weather. There are a slew of slurry projects ongoing across the region.
     
    We're responding to your Cone Zone concerns over pavement problems. We've received a couple of questions about a rutted section of Eastern Avenue. In some places, the asphalt overlay has disintegrated down to the concrete base.
     
    Monica from the District writes:
     
    "[Five] blocks of horrible road paving straight thru, that has been terrible for years and now is so bad that I add 15 minutes to my commute each way to go another way."
     
    The District Department of Transportation is responsible for maintaining the boundary streets along with a few easements beyond the sidewalk on the Maryland side. DDOT is actively paving Southern Avenue and plans to tackle the bumpy stretches of Eastern Avenue next.
     
    A spokesperson for DDOT tells WTOP that the paving of Eastern Avenue between 16th Street NW and Georgia Avenue NW should commence by mid-June.
     
    Another section of Eastern Avenue between New Hampshire Avenue and Carroll Avenue is on the docket for a full-scale rehabilitation that would include road and curb reconstruction, sidewalk replacements and other safety upgrades. That work isn't scheduled to begin until this fall. 
     
    Mayor Muriel Bowser has pledged to eliminate all of these poor quality roads in the District by 2024.
     
    In some places on Eastern Avenue, the asphalt overlay has disintegrated down to the concrete base. (WTOP/Molly Welton)
     
    Trish from South Riding, Virginia, writes that it's been a rugged ride on the Outer Loop of the Beltway through Annandale since last winter:
     
    "It's full of holes, patches, and you have to jockey your way from lane to lane to TRY to find a less-horrible place to drive."
     
    Work to repave this portion of the Beltway between Interstate 66 and the Springfield Interchange began late last year. The paving was halted in mid-December when winter weather moved in.
     
    The Virginia Department of Transportation did what it could to keep the Beltway passable into the spring. Forming a phalanx, two to three abreast, crews aboard yellow "arrow board" trucks roved southbound patching the road damage during middays and evenings. 
     
    VDOT recently updated the paving schedule for this section of the Beltway from "scheduled" to "in progress." Fort Myer, one of the highway department's go-to contractors, is now poised to resume the repaving project.
     
    With more than 27 lane miles of asphalt needing attention, VDOT estimates that the work on the Outer Loop will continue into the summer and conclude around mid-August.
     
    You can check the status of paving projects in Northern Virginia here.

    Rock Creek Parkway to be closed for several days, rush hours

    Posted by WTOP/Dave Dildine
    May 7, 2019

    A portion of Rock Creek Parkway will be closed during the upcoming Friday and Monday rush hours, as well as through weekend, for construction at the Kennedy Center. The closure will stretch from Virginia Avenue to near the volleyball courts by the Lincoln Memorial.
     
    WTOP's Max Smith has more on what to expect here

    I-270 ramp to reopen ahead of schedule

    Posted by WTOP/Dave Dildine
    May 6, 2019
     
    The Maryland State Highway Administration plans to put a new traffic pattern into effect on Interstate 270 in Frederick by the middle of the week.
     
    Late Wednesday night, construction crews will begin sending southbound drivers on I-270 onto a new bridge above Md. Route 85.
     
    The ramp from southbound I-270 onto northbound Route 85, Buckeystown Pike, will reopen ahead of schedule, the Highway Administration said.
     
    "They made great strides," said highway administration spokesman Charlie Gischlar, adding that work to match the ramp pavement elevations with the new travel lanes was completed faster than expected.
     
    The new traffic pattern will mark the next phase in a replacement of the overpasses that carry the interstate highway above the state highway below. The pair of old bridges will be replaced with a single span that will have improved acceleration and deceleration room.
     
    Several crashes have occurred in the work zone in recent months, including a pileup on Sunday that sent several people to the hospital.

    New traffic pattern planned for Beltway bridge work

    Posted by WTOP/Dave Dildine
    May 6, 2019
    During nighttime hours this week, the Maryland Department of Transportation State Highway Administration will begin carving out a long term work zone on the median strip of the Beltway near Md. Route 214, Central Avenue in Largo, Maryland. (Photo courtesy Maryland State Highway Administration)
     
    One of several big bridge projects on the Capital Beltway is shifting into high gear, and drivers will soon be shifted to the right around it.
     
    During nighttime hours this week, the Maryland Department of Transportation’s State Highway Administration will begin carving out a long-term work zone on the median strip of the Beltway near Md. Route 214, Central Avenue in Largo. When they're finished, drivers on both loops of the Beltway will be gradually shifted to the right.
     
    The Highway Administration expects up to three lanes to be blocked on the Beltway from 8 p.m. to 5 a.m. weeknights through the middle of the month. Multiple lane closures are not expected to occur before 10 p.m.
     
    "It's going to take about a week and a half to two weeks to complete that entire shift," said SHA's Charlie Gischlar.
     
    Crews will begin work on the Inner Loop and then turn their attention to the Outer Loop. The work area on the median strip will be used for the $26 million replacement of a pair of bridges that carry Interstate 495 above Central Avenue, a project underway since last year.
     
    The new traffic pattern will "enable the crews to begin demolition of the existing structure — the old structure — near the median strip," Gischlar said.
     
    The ramps from the Inner Loop onto eastbound Central Avenue and from eastbound Central Avenue onto the Outer Loop will remain closed for several more years.
     
    The existing Central Avenue bridges were built in 1963, then widened in 1971, and are now structurally deficient. Work to replace several older Beltway bridges in Prince George’s County is ongoing, including the overpasses above Suitland Road and Suitland Parkway.

    I-66 lane shift through Rosslyn

    Posted by WTOP/Dave Dildine
     
    On Saturday, drivers in Virginia were hard-pressed to find a good way to get into downtown Washington.
     
    There was a weekend-long work zone on Interstate 395 near the Pentagon, the long-term rehabilitation of Memorial Bridge is ongoing and the inbound Whitehurst Freeway from Key Bridge into the West End was closed for roadwork.
     
    The coup de gras was a work zone on the inbound Roosevelt Bridge, through which only one left lane was open into late Saturday afternoon. The work zone was related to District Department of Transportation bridge preservation efforts.
     
    Patrick from Alexandria writes:
     
    "Last week the Exit Only lane on EB I-66 for Exit 75 that goes to Southbound VA-110 was eliminated due to a construction zone lane shift... Do you know how long this lane shift that removed the Exit Only lane to Exit 75 will be in place?"
     
    The lane shift on Interstate 66 went into effect in mid-April but it is not related to DDOT's recurring work zones on the Roosevelt Bridge.
     
    Instead, the lane shifts near this exit are to allow contractors with the Virginia Department of Transportation to work on the bridges that carry I-66 above a collection of ramps that service the George Washington Parkway and Route 110.
     
    The new traffic pattern eliminates the right-most merge lane that drops down from Rosslyn and continues on I-66 toward Route 110. Only two total lanes are available to eastbound drivers, which has led to a tricky weave as drivers headed for Washington and Route 110 mix.
     
    A crash occurred late Monday evening near the merge. The cause of the crash is not clear but it occurred near the lane drop.
     
    The rehabilitation of the bridges is now focused on the median side of I-66. The project is scheduled for completion this summer and VDOT said the temporary striping is likely to remain in place until then.

    Walney Road in Chantilly to close for more than a year

    Posted by WTOP/Dave Dildine

     
    The Virginia Department of Transportation plans to close a portion of Walney Road in Chantilly near Va. Route 28 on or around Wednesday, May 1. The closure will last for more than a year as a new overpass is constructed above Route 28, according to a news release.  
     
    Drivers on who normally use Walney Road between Route 28 and Cabells Mill Drive will need to detour using Westfields Boulevard during the construction.
     
    The landscape along Interstate 66 is changing as work to build High Occupancy Toll lanes continues. The project area is vast; over 22 miles long, it will include new E-ZPass only lanes alongside three main lanes from the Beltway to Gainesville. Some interchanges will be completely overhauled. It also includes new park & rides and bike paths.
     
    A significant component of the endeavor, dubbed by the VDOT as "Transform 66 Outside the Beltway," includes major upgrades to Va. Route 28.
     
    With a goal of eliminating chronic backups on Route 28 that result from overwhelmed traffic signals at the Braddock Road and Walney Road intersection, VDOT will eliminate the signalized intersections between Ellanor Lawrence Park and I-66.
     
    Braddock Road and Walney Road will meet Route 28 on an overpass when work is completed. Stonecroft Boulevard will be extended southward and parallel Route 28, acting as a service road for drivers seeking access to Lawrence Park. Another new overpass above Route 28 will be constructed for Poplar Hill Road, which will connect Walney Road and the new section of Stonecroft Boulevard.

    Weekend-long work zones coming to I-395

    Posted by WTOP/Dave Dildine
    Traffic flows through Shirlington on I-395 in this February 2018 file photo. (WTOP/Dave Dildine)
     
    For the past year or so, Virginia drivers have become accustomed to the closure of the Interstate 395 High Occupancy Vehicle (HOV) lanes as the conversion to an all-electronic facility progresses. But for the next four weekends, weekend-long lane closures will occur in the main lanes. Travel delays are likely to result. 
     
    Beginning late this Friday and lasting through early Monday morning, one to two main lanes are scheduled for closure in various places along I-395 between the 14th Street Bridge and the Springfield Interchange. The work zones will offer road crews room to stage as they work to rehabilitate five bridges. As is the case with most planned roadwork, the closures are weather-dependent. 
     
    Transurban, the operator of the express lanes, said the reversible HOV Lanes will be open in the same direction as the bridge work to help move more traffic past the work zones. The lanes will be unrestricted and through drivers will be urged to use the HOV Lanes to avoid delays. 
     
    The 95 Express Lanes will operate in the usual weekend pattern, open to southbound drivers through early Saturday afternoon, and available to northbound drivers from Saturday afternoon through Sunday. 
     
    We've been through this before: A similar rehab spree took place on I-395 during the summer of 2018.
     
    We'll do our best to pin down the precise location of these work zones by the end of the week so keep checking back. Lane and ramp closures near Duke Street are a good bet though. 
     
    The HOV lanes are on track to be folded into the 495 and 95 Express Lanes system and open as E-ZPass lanes by this coming fall. 

    Montgomery County bridge project hits a snag

    Posted by WTOP/Dave Dildine
     
    Robert from Montgomery County writes:
     

    "Work to replace the Seminary Road bridge over the Beltway west of Georgia Avenue in Montgomery County has been going on since late 2017. Beltway lanes remain shifted. The deck of the southbound lanes of Seminary Road over the bridge was removed months ago with all traffic shifted to the northbound lanes. It appears that little or no work has been going on at the bridge for months. The project is obviously less than half done since the southbound deck has to be replaced before work can even start on the northbound lanes of Seminary Road. Why is progress on this project so slow and when will it be completed?"

     
    Great question, Robert. The WTOP Traffic Center is just as eager as you are to see that project completed.
     
    When crews started dismantling the Seminary Road overpass for rehabilitation, they also retired a pole-mounted camera perched on its parapet. That camera was able to see a great distance down both loops of the Beltway-- a stretch of Interstate 495 that sees more crashes than any other. We've been much more reliant on our tipsters (866-304-9867) for help with incidents since the camera went dark. 
     
    You are not imagining things. This bridge replacement project is taking longer than first planned. The Maryland Department of Transportation State Highway Administration tells us that when crews began the first reconstruction phase following the demolition you described, they hit a snag: They found that the bridge pier caps needed to be adjusted for safety reasons.
     
    The Seminary Road overpass spans the Beltway. (Courtesy MDOT SHA)
     
     
    Bridge caps are basically the seating that supports the girders and rest of the superstructure, including the driving surface.
     
    The unexpected added demolition of the caps, or "headstock," resulted in a lull in activity last winter. The estimated project completion date was recently extended into this coming winter.
     
    Looking ahead, once the new headstock is squared away, installation of steel beams for the new structure may necessitate intermittent stoppages of Beltway traffic of up to 15 minutes.
     
    MDOT SHA said they're appreciative of the community's patience during the project.
     
    Oh, and for what's it's worth, SHA does assure us that the traffic camera will be reactivated when the project nears completion. But we still want our listeners to call whenever they spot a major incident. For those with AT&T or Verizon Wireless, it's as easy as dialing #1035.-

    Height clearance for westbound span of Bay Bridge reduced for 6 months

    Posted by WTOP/Mary DePompa
     
    Attention commercial vehicle operators: the westbound span of U.S. 50/Bay Bridge will reduce height clearance to 14 feet 6 inches beginning Tuesday, April 23.
     
    For approximately the next six months, vehicles above this height will need to plan an alternate route.
     
    The height reduction is part of the final phase of painting, which began in the summer of 2017 when the cleaning and painting began through the truss span on the eastern portion. This latest phase and height change will allow for platform construction for contractors to contain cleaning and painting materials.
     
    The entire project is expected to be completed by the summer of 2020.
     
    The westbound span of the Bay Bridge will reduce height clearance for six months. (Courtesy MDTA)
     

    SB I-270 ramp to NB Md. 85/Buckingstown Pike to close for a month

    Posted by WTOP/Mary DePompa

    Beginning Monday night, April 22, MDOT SHA will close Exit 31A on Interstate 270 southbound. The exit is a ramp that goes north on Md. 85/Buckeystown Pike in Frederick County.

     

    As part of an ongoing intersection expansion project, the ramp is expected to be closed and detoured for approximately one month, according to a news release from MDOT SHA.

     

    A detour will be available for travelers from eastbound Interstate 70 and U.S. 15 to exit at Md. 85. There will be message signs, barrels and temporary signs to guide motorists through the detour and alert travelers of the ramp closure.

     

    Be sure to allow for the extra time for the detour because more than 115,000 commuters that use this route daily.

     

    The ramp closure will be part of the extended interchange reconstruction project that will eventually shift traffic to a new bridge on I-270 over Md. 85. With a projected cost of $58 million, this project is being implemented to ease congestion and improve safety through the interchange by eliminating the two currently structurally deficient bridges.

     

    Drivers are advised to stay alert through construction zones, look for reduced speed limits, narrowing lanes and of course, highway workers.

    Exit 31A on I-270 southbound will close for a month starting April 22.
     

    Paving Md. Route 201 at U.S. Route 50

    Posted by WTOP/Dave Dildine
     
    It's paving season. Local transportation departments and their contractors are out in force with milling machines and steamrollers. On the heels of work zone awareness week, we're extra mindful of why it's important to slow down when passing their cones and to keep a close eye on the flaggers. 
     
    A WTOP listener writes: 
     
    "For the past few weeks, there’s been an electronic sign warning of imminent closure of the ramp from NB Kenilworth Ave. to EB 50. Any idea what’s going on?"
     
    The temporary, overnight ramp closure from northbound Md. Route 201 to eastbound U.S. Route 50 is a part of a Maryland Department of Transportation State Highway Administration resurfacing project.
     
    Before we go any farther, yes, those are the same northbound lanes that emerge off of D.C. Route 295. Beyond Eastern Avenue, the short segment of highway between the District Line and Route 50 is designated as Md. Route 201 before the old Kenilworth Avenue, signed as Md. 201, swings under the Baltimore-Washington Parkway toward Bladensburg. Confusing? Many think so. 
     
    Northbound traffic on Route 201 is seen approaching Route 50 and the Baltimore-Washington Parkway. (WTOP/Dave Dildine) 
     
    Through late May, expect occasional single lane closures on that short stretch of Route 201 weeknights between 6 p.m. and 5 a.m. 
     
    To get the work done before the busy Memorial Day travel period, MDOT SHA said there is also some daytime work planned to expedite to project. 
     
    The SHA is only responsible for maintenance of the southern and eastern side of this interchange. The National Park Service maintains the northern carriageway and the ramps to and from the Baltimore-Washington Parkway. 

    A parkway upgrade in Columbia, Md. 

    Posted by WTOP/Dave Dildine
     
    Carl in Germantown writes: 
     
    "...Snowden River Parkway near Broken Land Parkway. There's been a small sign warning of road work starting about 4/15/19. It doesn't mention for how long. No detour signs have been posted that I've seen."
     
    It turns out this popular parkway for local drivers in Columbia, Md. is receiving an upgrade. The Snowden River Parkway runs parallel to Interstate 95 and Route 29 and offers some refuge from the congestion on the highways nearby. But lately, backups have formed at the parkway's southern end. 

    Howard County is planning to add a third left turn lane to the Snowden River Parkway between Minstrel Way and Broken Land Parkway to alleviate the recurring congestion. The traffic signal at Broken Land Parkway will also be modified to help move traffic southward toward Route 32. 

    Single lanes closures are planned for some weekdays from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. In addition to daytime construction work, there will also be "approximately 10 nights of after-hours temporary lane closures," the county wrote in a press release

    Howard County officials estimate that project should wrap up by August. 

    Va. Route 123 ramp to I-66 closes for 2 years

    Posted by WTOP/Mary DePompa
     
    Traffic patterns have changed in Northern Virginia: A ramp connecting Va. Route 123/Chain Bridge Road and I-66 is now closed for two years. 
     
    The ramp connecting northbound Route 123 to westbound I-66 has closed, according to the Virginia Department of Transportation.
     
    Northbound drivers now need to stay left at I-66, then use temporary left-turn lanes and signals to join up to the ramp from southbound Route 123 to westbound I-66.
     
    VDOT said these changes are in place while a new bridge and ramps are built. 
     
    WTOP's Max Smith wrote about this ramp closure and painted a broader picture of the project last month
     
    During construction, VDOT is warning drivers that new traffic signals will be in place on southbound Route 123, and the speed limit at the interchange will be reduced to 35 mph. There could also be more detours.
     
    Here’s a map of the new traffic pattern:
     
     
    And here’s what VDOT says the interchange will look like when it’s all done in 2022:
     
     

    Exclusive: Closure of US 50 near Fair Oaks Mall imminent following pipe failure

    Posted by WTOP/Dave Dildine
     
    The failing metal pipe under Route 50 near Fair Oaks Mall will be replaced with precast concrete piping pictured. (Courtesy VDOT)
     

    A depression on U.S. Route 50 near Fair Oaks Mall has been deepening over the last week — and the Virginia Department of Transportation is taking steps to close part of the highway for emergency repairs.

    A full closure will likely be in place for day or two- by the end of the month.

    A large galvanized pipe is failing under the eastbound lanes between West Ox Road and Interstate 66. The metal pipe sends storm water from a retention pond on Fair Oaks Mall property under Route 50 into another pond along South Penderbrook Drive.

    Temporary asphalt was used to level the roadway within the past week,  but the right and center lanes continue to sag. An inspection on Monday revealed that the damage was more significant than first thought.

    On Tuesday morning, crews are set to begin excavating the corroded pipe and the soil and gravel surrounding it. A couple of right lanes are scheduled to be blocked into the afternoon hours. Steel plates will be used to cover the initial work site until the old pipe can be permanently replaced.

    The replacement project will likely require the complete closure of eastbound Route 50 between West Ox Road and I-66 during the last weekend of April, a plan that would be put into motion as early as 7 p.m. on Friday, April 26, according to the Virginia Department of Transportation.

    Specialty crews with VDOT, with expertise in large pipe projects and trench operations, have been tasked with fixing the failure that lies more than 10 feet below the driving surface.

    Similar pipe replacements have taken place in recent years on Stumptown Road in Lucketts, Virginia, as well as Wolftrap Road in Vienna and Miller Road in Oakton.

    The deficiencies of galvanized piping are well-known, and the material is no longer used regularly for large culverts. The new conduit under Route 50 will be made from 48 inch diameter, precast concrete piping.

    Drive Like You Work Here

     
    The national push to promote the importance of safe driving near construction zones kicks off next week. Work Zone Awareness Week begins Monday, April 8. This year's theme is "Drive Like You Work Here."
     
    The movement has local origins. A group of employees with the Virginia Department of Transportation originally conceived the idea of a week to raise awareness about work zone safety back in 1997. 
     
    "Our crews depend on you to make the right choices in order to ensure they go home to their families every day," wrote VDOT spokesperson Ellen Kamilakis.  
     
    The campaign quickly spread to other DOTs across the country. Over the last two decades, the messaging has evolved to keep up with technology and modern distractions. 
     
    "Choosing to read one text message can also mean choosing to have lifelong negative impacts on the family of a stranger," Kamilakis said.  
     
    We'll have much more on this annual campaign in the days ahead. 

    Baseball, blossoms and four work zones to boot

    Posted by WTOP/Dave Dildine

     
    Four major work zones are scheduled to block lanes near four of the District’s busiest bridges on a weekend with the Nationals playing at home and the cherry blossoms approaching peak bloom. The bottom line: Delays are likely.
     
    Expect heavy traffic at the D.C. Potomac River bridges. On Interstate 395, the express lanes (HOV lanes) are again scheduled to be closed all weekend long. This closure didn't have too much of an impact on traffic during the quieter winter months, but lately inbound weekend drivers have endured considerable delays in the main lanes by late Saturday and Sunday morning.
     
    When the weekend closure of the express lanes encompasses both the reversible section and the dual carriageway north of the Pentagon into Washington, the main lanes are overtaxed and delays form near the 14th Street Bridge. Last weekend, the traffic jam began near the exit for Washington Boulevard for a time around midday, about a mile and a half from the Potomac River.
     
    Drivers will be seeing more electronic tolling equipment above the express lanes beginning Monday but E-ZPass tolling will not take place until later this year. Read more on the I-395 HOV to HOT conversion here
     
    The upriver bridges will likely be carrying very heavy traffic from mid-morning into the early evening. There are only two inbound lanes and one outbound lane available past the multi-year rehabilitation of Arlington Memorial Bridge on weekends.
     
    Even before the projects on I-395 and Memorial Bridge, weekend traffic in March and April was heavy at the busiest D.C. bridges. Historically, the inbound lanes of the I-66 become congested from the Rosslyn Tunnel across the Roosevelt Bridge by late morning.
     
    Further complicating the inbound trek through Rosslyn, bridge rehabilitation work on the Roosevelt Bridge is scheduled to block at least one right lane through noon Saturday. 
     
    With the Nats playing at home and the cherry blossoms approaching peak bloom, traffic this weekend will be heavy throughout much of Southwest Washington from dawn to dusk. Metro is limiting track work this weekend so would be drivers may want to take to the rails instead
     
    A map of the detour from the outbound lanes of the Sousa Bridge onto DC-295 and I-295. (Courtesy DDOT)
     
    The District Department of Transportation says the right lane on southbound D.C. Route 295 will be blocked near Pennsylvania Avenue through most of the weekend. The ramp from the outbound John Sousa Bridge onto the southbound lanes is also scheduled for closure.
     
    The work area is located near the 11th Street Freeway Bridge, the busiest Anacostia River crossing.
     
    In an attempt to avoid the traffic jam on Route 295, many drivers may head through town on New York Avenue. Slow traffic is possible through the signalized intersections in NoMa between Florida Avenue and the 3rd Street Tunnel.
     
    Editor's Note: This article was revised to reflect the updated status of the work zone on Route 295. 

    Several projects, years of work ahead on I-95 near Fredericksburg

    Courtesy VDOT
     
    It's easy to spot all of the roadwork happening on I-95 in Stafford County. The median strip is clear-cut in Fredericksburg, mounds of dirt are piled near Courthouse Road and many stretches of the highway between the two locations are lined with jersey wall. 
     
    "On I-95 things are really heating up for us a little bit to the south," said Kelly Hannon with the Virginia Department of Transportation. 
     
    Construction of the Courthouse Road interchange is well underway. Although the new overpass won't be open until 2020, Hannon said most of the planned roadwork this spring will take place off the highway. Read more about the Courthouse Road project in this Cone Zone post.
     
    Farther south, work on the new southbound Rappahannock River Bridge may have a bigger impact on drivers in the weeks and months ahead. 
     
    "People will really start to see more lane closures both at night and during the day ... to build that southbound Rappahannock River crossing." Hannon said that the concurrent effort to build a northbound span and the extension of the 95 Express Lanes to Route 17 will overlap, creating a greater likelihood of off-peak closures. 
     
    The $132 million southbound project will build three new lanes over the Rappahannock River by the summer of 2022. Southbound traffic heading for Richmond will be separated from drivers who are exiting and entering local lanes at the Route 17 and Route 3 interchanges. Several of the ramps will be realigned and the pair of aging interstate bridges above Route 17 will be replaced. 
     
    A northbound bridge span will be built over the Rappahannock River later as part of a deal tied to the extension of the 95 Express Lanes.

    A sea change for traffic in Brandywine, Md. 

    A rendering of the Branch Avenue service road and roundabout in Brandywine, Md. (Courtesy MDOT SHA)
     
    Since 2016 drivers along Md. Route 5 have endured lane closures and detours but the big road project north of the U.S. 301 junction is in its final stages of construction.

    Have you seen the new overpass above Branch Avenue? They're calling it a "spine road" which sounds sinister but the Maryland Department of Transportation's intentions are pretty straightforward. 

    "We've already started putting the turning movements from Accokeek Road and Brandywine Road over top that [spine road] and that will span Md. 5 to take away that conflict point there ... so it's going to be more free flow," said Charlie Gischlar with MDOT SHA. 

    The convoluted at-grade intersections for Accokeek Road and Brandywine will be permanently eliminated soon. The traffic signals for Brandywine Road have already been deactivated. Over the next few weeks, crews will be carefully taking steps to retire the Accokeek Road intersection.
     
    Drivers should be prepared for a big traffic pattern change scheduled to go into effect by the second week of April when all east-west traffic will cross Branch Avenue by using the new overpass. 

    The bridge is distanced from the old pair interwoven intersections. A service road for the new overpass will parallel Route 5. A roundabout for traffic on Accokeek Road and the service road will be located on the west side of Branch Avenue. 

    A new park and ride will be opening north of the new bridge soon as well. The entire project is on track for completion this summer. 
     

    Route 4 and Suitland Parkway construction underway

    Excavation associated with the Route 4 and Suitland Parkway interchange project is ongoing. (Courtesy MDOT SHA)
     
    Have you ever sat in heavy traffic on the Beltway near Joint Base Andrews and Forestville only to find that the delay was caused by a backup on the ramp to Pennsylvania Avenue? The traffic signals at Westphalia Road and Suitland Parkway beyond that exit were the likely culprits. But an effort to keep traffic moving through that cloverleaf interchange on the Beltway is underway. 
     
    Last week, utility crews relocated power poles and a 36-inch waterline along Md. Route 4 (Pennsylvania Avenue) to carve out space for a new bridge. The often congested at-grade intersection for Suitland Parkway and Route 4 will be replaced with a new diamond interchange.
     
    Although the work to build the new overpass above Route 4 is only in the early phases of construction, the Maryland Department of Transportation hopes the improvements will relieve existing congestion, enhance safety, improve mobility and accommodate increasing traffic volumes. 
     
    A map shows how Route 4 will connect to the new bridge for Suitland and Presidential parkway. (Courtesy MDOT SHA)
     
    The right-of-way and wayside work is complex with the project's close proximity to Joint Base Andrews. The small bridge that carries Suitland Parkway over the air force base's access ramps is being widened as a part of the project. But the new design requires that a jet fuel line first be relocated. This excavation and other activities have required single lane closures and brief stoppages of traffic at the eastern end of Suitland Parkway over the past several months. 
     
    On Route 4, paving of temporary travel lanes is expected to begin by the end of the year. Northbound traffic will eventually be shifted onto the new pavement to accommodate the construction of the overpass. 
     
    The work on Route 4 is one of several projects nearby in addition to the bridge replacements and rehabilitation on and above the Beltway at Suitland Road, Suitland Parkway, Temple Hill Road and Central Avenue
     
    Drivers can get updates on roadwork in Maryland by checking out MDOT's interactive website.

    Jones Branch Connector over the Beltway

     
    The newest bridge over the Beltway spans Interstate 495 in Tysons. It's the Jones Branch Connector and although it's partially open to traffic, there's still plenty of work left to do. The connector connects Route 123 and Jones Branch Road. Only one lane is open in both directions for now.
     
    Over the past several weekends, the connector and the 495 Express Lanes have been closed. A portion of the bridge originally built during the express lanes construction is being demolished to make space for new beams that will accommodate the wider bridge deck over the Outer Loop.
     
    The impact of the closures on weekend traffic has been minimal.
     
    The wider overpass was designed with the rapidly growing suburb in mind.
     
    "It will end up being two lanes in each direction with on-street bike lanes, multi-use paths on ether side and a very wide median for future transit within Tysons," said Ellen Kamilakis, spokesperson for VDOT.
     
    The entire project is scheduled to be completed later this year.

    On Route 210, has the Kerby Hill Road project stalled?

    The Maryland Department of Transportation State Highway Administration is assuring drivers that efforts to make Indian Head Highway safer are ongoing, despite a couple of unexpected setbacks. 
     
    An interchange project will eventually send Livingston Road and Kerby Hill Road above Indian Head Highway on a two-lane bridge. The traffic signal south of the Beltway at Wilson Bridge Drive will be eliminated. Three children were killed by a drunk driver at the intersection last December.
     
    For years, the stretch of Route 210 between the Beltway and Palmer Road has been flanked by a muddy wayside and slowly constructed sound walls. 
     
    "There was some delay there with some late design additions to that and also some utility relocations work that wasn't first identified but it's back on track again," said Charlie Gischlar with MDOT. The work to build the new overpass and the median exit ramps will start revving up in the coming months, Gischlar said. 
     
    Drivers will begin noticing more vertical infrastructure on the median where the ramps will eventually be located. When the new bridge opens, drivers will exit onto Kerby Hill Road from the left lanes of Indian Head Highway. 
     
    There will likely be some off-peak single lane closures during the middays but the overhead steel work for the overpass won't be happening until later this year.
     
    In the meantime, crews will be setting posts for the southbound sound wall and will be regrading the earth on the northbound side for the next couple of weeks. 

    Courthouse Road overpass at I-95

    An aerial view of the I-95 Courthouse Road Project. (Courtesy VDOT)
     
    The new overpass for Courthouse Road above Interstate 95 in Stafford County is taking shape but it won't be open until the summer of 2020. The Virginia Department of Transportation says that with most of the heavy duty overhead work completed above I-95, highway lane closures won't be as common. 
     
    "People really should see most lanes open on I-95 near exit 140 itself, near the interchange, because a lot of our work right now is happening along Courthouse Road," said VDOT spokesperson Kelly Hannon. 
     
    "We will see pretty heavy construction traffic, trucks bringing a lot of dirt, to help us raise the new elevation of the new Courthouse Road," Hannon added. The old narrow underpass will be replaced with a wider overpass. 
     
    The new interchange will have a new geometry. Much like Route 15 above Interstate 66 in Haymarket, the eastbound and westbound lanes of Courthouse Road will zigzag above the highway when the new overpass opens in 2020. Drivers will pass to the left of each other in a "diverging diamond" pattern to eliminate left turn conflicts and promote the flow of traffic. The new road will be shifted south of its current alignment and will intersect with Route 1 near Hospital Center Boulevard. 
     

    Watkins Mill Road project at I-270

    Exit 12 doesn’t exist on Interstate 270 yet, but that’s expected to change in the coming years.
     
    The drive between Gaithersburg and Germantown on I-270 has changed dramatically over the last several months. A large bridge is taking shape above the northbound and southbound lanes and a few of the muddy paths along the edges of the highway outline future off-ramps. 
     
    Despite the wet and icy winter weather, crews successfully welded the steel framework for an overpass that will eventually carry Watkins Mill Road above I-270.
     
    "We put 80 girders up for this new interchange at I-270 at Watkins Mill Road so that was a monumental accomplishment by our crews and our contracting crews," said Charlie Gischlar, spokesperson for the Maryland Department of Transportation State Highway Administration. The work began in early February. 
     
    The setting of the structural steel necessitated temporary stoppages of overnight traffic between the Montgomery Village Avenue and Middlebrook Road exits but Gischlar said, with the overhead work largely completed, late night traffic holds will not occur very often throughout the rest of the project.
     
    The lane closures often set up around 8 p.m. which can lead to congestion during busier, later rush hours. 
     
    "There will still be some lane closures overnight as we fill the deck pans up with the bridge deck which will be the new driving surface but it won't be nearly as impactful for overnight travelers," Gischlar said. The lane single and double lane closures for the deck pan installation and other assorted work will take place overnights for several months. 
     
    When it opens by early next fall, MDOT SHA hopes the four-lane overpass and the diamond-shaped interchange will enhance economic opportunities for middle and northern Montgomery County and lessen backups on nearby roads like Route 124 and Route 355 by giving drivers more options.
     
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