Cone Zone: Updates on D.C.-area work zones


Cone Zone: Updates on D.C.-area work zones

A peek at regional roadwork

    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.

    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. 

    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. 

    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.

    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.

    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 winter. 

    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.

    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. 

    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. 

    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.

    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:

    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. 

    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. 

    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.

    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)

    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.-

    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. 

    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.

    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.

    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-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.

    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

    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.

    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.

    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 during the final weekend of June.
    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.

    Subterranean DC Water project set to close road for years 

    Posted by WTOP/Dave Dildine
    May 20, 2019
    A giant machine is churning under Northeast D.C. You can't feel it or see it. But now there is evidence of it above ground.
    DC Water's huge subterranean infrastructure project will block a surface street between Bloomingdale and Shaw in Northwest Washington for years.
    A portion of 3rd Street Northwest between Florida Avenue and Rhode Island Avenue will be closed until 2022 with the Northeast Boundary Tunnel project in full bore. The road closure is scheduled to go into effect on Tuesday.
    In the coming years, a drop shaft will be constructed along 3rd Street. It's one of several work sites outlining the tunnel project, which stretches for more than five miles toward the Anacostia River.
    Over the past several months, utility relocation and minor demolition work has been done along Rhode Island Avenue and other nearby streets in preparation for the latter phases of construction.
    Last summer, an enormous boring machine was lowered into a deep shaft near RFK Stadium. Since then, the excavator has slowly churned under Kingman Park on a path toward Trinidad and Brentwood.
    Chris, the tunnel boring machine that's at work under Northeast D.C. (WTOP/Dave Dildine)
    The cylindrical machine has moved at an average pace of 11 to 12 feet per day. According to DC Water, the machine has churned through about 3,550 feet of earth under Lot 7 at RFK Stadium.
    From the stadium and Kingman Park, the machine will chug inbound underneath Mount Olivet Road and Rhode Island Avenue at depths exceeding 100 feet over the next few years.
    Once complete, DC Water hopes, the Northeast Boundary Tunnel will divert 98 percent of combined sewer overflow away from the Anacostia River and toward the Blue Plains Treatment Plant.

    Pipe replacement closes Fox Mill Rd. 

    Posted by WTOP/Dave Dildine
    May 20, 2019
    South of Reston, a stretch of Fox Mill Road will remain closed through Tuesday while the Virginia Department of Transportation replaces a pipe. 

    The work zone is located at the bottom of the steep hill between Crossfield Elementary School and Folkstone Drive. 

    The pipe and culvert carry Little Difficult Run under Fox Mill Road. The road is often flooded during heavy rain events. 

    VDOT plans to keep Fox Mill Road blocked until late Tuesday afternoon for the initial round of work. Crews will resume the pipe replacement on Friday and the following Monday and Tuesday, blocking the road daily from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day or until the work is completed. 

    Newly widened section of Maryland Route 32 to open soon

    Posted by WTOP/Dave Dildine
    May 23, 2019
    Howard County, Maryland, has experienced significant growth in the last few years, with suburban development spreading "upcounty" from Columbia into Clarksville and beyond. The Maryland Department of Transportation State Highway Administration appears to be keeping pace and has been taking steps to keep the increasing traffic volumes moving on one of the county's busiest non-interstate highways.
    MDOT SHA is actively widening Route 32 between Route 108 and Linden Church Road, where the highway currently transitions from a four-lane divided highway to a two-lane road. Westbound drivers routinely incur delays near the point where two lanes transition to one past Route 108, especially on weekday afternoons.

    The widening between Maryland Route 108 and Linden Church Road began in 2017 and is in the final stretch, with the new carriageway scheduled to open this summer. MDOT SHA announced that the project is 79% complete as of this week. 

    Traffic shifts are scheduled in June as the agency's contractor works on the final placement of hot mix asphalt. Stormwater management is ongoing, too, including installation of bioswales on the median strip. 

    Last Wednesday, SHA hosted an informational public meeting at Glenelg High School to provide project information on the next phase of work, which calls for converting Route 32 into a four lane highway all the way up to Interstate 70.    

    Charlie from Woodbine, Maryland, writes: 

    "Will the ‘bottleneck be moved from 108 to Linden Church?" 
    The expansion of Route 32 farther north and west is in the design phase, but construction draws ever closer. Active roadwork could begin as soon as the newly widened section of highway near Route 108 opens this summer. The finish line, however, is still several years away. 

    The second phase of widening would include more than 6 miles of highway and reconstruction of several bridges. The overpass for Triadelphia Road would need to be completely replaced. An eastbound detour for drivers who use Triadelphia Road is scheduled to go into effect this summer as well.
    Recent traffic counts for Route 32 near the current lane drop mirror those sampled beyond the bottleneck at Burntwoods Road, suggesting most drivers are continuing through beyond Linden Church. A 29,722-vehicle-per-day average was calculated near Route 108, and a 25,022-vehicle-per-day average was calculated near Burntwoods Road. The new lane drop near Linden Church should be gradual, but it's possible that a familiar backup forms at the new lane drop. 
    On the other hand, slight reductions in volume can make a sizable difference in when a traffic flow breaks down. Perhaps Route 32 will function better with more westbound throughput beyond Route 108. Here's hoping ... 
    From his perspective, Charlie says that the state has been doing a great job with updates, and that there have been minimal delays due to construction.

    Delays likely as E-ZPass only lanes closed on Dulles Toll Road

    Posted by WTOP/Dave Dildine
    May 28, 2019
    A new traffic pattern recently went into effect on the Dulles Toll Road, and it will likely cause delays during rush hours near a project designed to upgrade tolling technology. 
    On the Dulles Toll Road, west of the Capital Beltway, a work zone is blocking the three left E-ZPass only lanes at the main toll plaza. Two E-ZPass lanes and two full service lanes are open to westbound drivers at the center and right toll booths. 
    Orange barrels direct drivers to move to their right on the westbound Dulles Toll Road on Tuesday, May 28. The E-Z Pass only lanes will remain closed for upgrades during the coming weeks. (WTOP/Dave Dildine)
    The Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority said the closures will be mirrored at the eastbound toll plaza, east of Va. Route 7, and both work zones will last several weeks. As of Tuesday afternoon, the closure of a center toll booth was having a marginal impact on eastbound traffic. 
    Tolling technology upgrades have been ongoing at the ramp toll booths for more than a year. The main toll plaza is one of the last facilities to receive the upgrades. 
    The new traffic pattern is expected to cause slowdowns as westbound drivers, especially those with transponders in the fast lanes, learn of the closures for the first time, and will be forced to move to their right. 

    Work zones near Monocacy River ongoing

    Posted by WTOP/Dave Dildine
    May 30, 2019

    Traffic will alternate across the Monocacy River through next year while the Md. Route 28 truss bridge is rehabilitated. (Courtesy MDOT SHA)
    Elizabeth from Middletown, Maryland, writes:
    "Do you have any information on the construction on the bridge over the Monocacy, Route 28 in Frederick County?"
    The project to rehabilitate the 88-year-old steel truss bridge over the Monocacy Scenic River was funded in 2018 and construction began that summer. Initially, Maryland Department of Transportation State Highway Administration engineers had hoped rehabilitation would only take eight months. 
    The current replacement of the driving surface and bridge piers is now expected to continue into 2020. Beginning next week, a new traffic pattern will allow crews to expedite the work. 
    The bridge will be closed this weekend while a concrete jersey wall is installed down the center of the bridge. One lane of traffic is scheduled to open on Md. Route 28 by Monday, at which time drivers will take turns driving across the Monocacy River and through the work zone in a single file, one direction at a time. 
    Temporary traffic signals will guide traffic through the work zone. The alternating of northbound and southbound traffic is expected to continue into next spring. Additional weekend closures are possible through next year as well. 
    MDOT urges through-drivers to use Routes 80, 85 and 109 during the closures. Local traffic may make use of Park Mills Road and Lily Pons Road, the only nearby roads that span the river. 
    On Saturday, a portion of Md. Route 355 near the Monocacy River is also scheduled to be closed for storm drain pipe replacement.
    Beginning at 6 a.m., northbound and southbound traffic on Route 355 will be detoured onto Araby Church Road, which has intersections on both sides of the failing pipe. The pipe is six feet below ground and the work is expected to take no more than a day to complete.
    South of Darnestown, River Road remains closed for emergency roadwork between Maidens Bower Drive and Esworthy Road. The stretch of River Road could remain closed through next week. 

    Pavement problems keep I-395 ramp closed

    Posted by WTOP/Dave Dildine
    June 4, 2019

    Updated: June 6, 2019

    Drivers who take Interstate 395 from Washington toward the Capital Beltway should be prepared for afternoon delays because of an emergency work zone near Lincolnia, Virginia. 
    South of Duke Street, the ramp from the southbound general purpose lanes of I-395 onto the 395 Express Lanes (and 95 Express Lanes) is expected to remain closed through next week. The Virginia Department of Transportation and the operator of the Express Lanes, Transurban, are assessing what they call "pavement issues" that are affecting the ramp.  
    The left exit, known as the "Turkeycock" slip ramp, was closed for a similar reason a couple of years ago. The cavity beneath the driving surface will require time-consuming repairs. 
    Southbound drivers on the I-395 HOV lanes past Duke Street will still be able to transition onto the toll-free main lanes as usual. 
    Another slip ramp was permanently closed near the Pentagon earlier this week. The scheduled closure is a part of construction to convert the HOV lanes into E-ZPass-only lanes.
    Following the rainiest year on record, storm water pipes across the region are failing. Recent repairs under Route 50 near Fair Oaks Mall, Route 355 near the Monocacy River and River Road in Travilah have been completed but there is a long list of metal pipes that need attention. 
    The Maryland Department of Transportation State Highway Administration said that 47 aging metal culverts need to be replaced under Route 77 in Thurmont, Maryland. One of the culverts collapsed last February, forcing the agency to block the road for emergency repairs. Work to secure the others has been completed but the replacement process will continue into next year. 
    Increasingly, maintenance crews are turning to corrugated metal and concrete replacement conduits as they typically have longer lifespans than the galvanized metal pipes commonly installed in the late 1980s and 1990s. 

    Weekend roadwork in and near D.C.

    Posted by WTOP/Dave Dildine
    June 8, 2019


    Drivers and pedestrians headed to the Capital Pride Parade in Dupont Circle should plan for uneven pavement and narrowed sidewalks along Massachusetts Avenue through Embassy Row. 

    The resurfacing of Massachusetts Avenue between Waterside Drive near Rock Creek Park and Sheridan Circle is expected to take a couple of weeks. The lane closures associated with the paving project caused midday and afternoon traffic delays last week.

    According to the District Department of Transportation, the contractor is authorized to work Monday through Friday from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on weekdays but is also authorized to work on Saturdays from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

    South Capitol Street is also scheduled to be closed between Malcolm X Avenue and Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue all weekend long. 

    The closure and detours are related to the Interstate 295 projects, including the Malcolm X Avenue interchange upgrades for the new Department of Homeland Security headquarters. 

    Another weekend closure of the I-395 Express Lanes will likely cause volume delays for inbound drivers headed for the 14th Street Bridge as well. 

    Details on the street closures for Capital Pride are available here.

    Dozens of 'spot improvements' coming to I-270

    Posted by WTOP/Dave Dildine
    June 10, 2019
    The recurring work zones and lane closures in Montgomery and Frederick counties are not related to Gov. Larry Hogan’s proposal to create a public-private partnership to widen I-270 and the Capital Beltway. (WTOP/Dave Dildine)
    We've received several questions regarding the active construction on Interstate 270 recently.
    A separate initiative to improve traffic flow on I-270 is well underway.
    Nicknamed the "Innovative Congestion Relief" project, a slew of spot infrastructure upgrades were funded in 2016 with construction beginning a short time later.
    The construction involves more than a dozen work sites for alterations that include extended acceleration lanes, reconfigured exit ramps, elimination of lane drops through added auxiliary lanes and an extension of the local lanes beyond Maryland Route 124 through the new Watkins Mill Road interchange.
    Each of the work zones associated with the project come with their own start and completion dates.
    One of the first orders of business was the elimination of the left lane drop off the southbound I-270 Spur onto the Outer Loop of the Beltway. That portion of the project was completed more than a year ago. 
    Newly extended southbound acceleration lanes from Maryland routes 80 in Urbana and 109 in Hyattstown were unveiled last month. A new auxiliary lane between Falls Road and Maryland Route 28 is also in the works.
    MDOT will also begin to implement a significant component of the overall project by mid-summer, when ramp meters will be installed on all of the southbound ramps from Frederick to Rockville. These ramp signals are intended to evenly distribute drivers as they merge onto the local lanes to balance the traffic flow. They are all expected to be operational by late 2020.
    Several other elements of the project are just now getting off the ground with completion dates this year or next. The Maryland Department of Transportation State Highway Administration says the project as a whole is currently 33 percent completed, with all work expected to be finished by winter 2020.
    Deborah from Gaithersburg writes:
    "What is the long term work that is being done between exits 9 and 11 on I-270? At times during the day they are blocking the left local lane, the merge lane from local to express and the right express lane."
    A portion of the project will reconfigure the exit ramp from northbound Shady Grove Road onto the northbound local lanes of the highway to reduce the weaving that slows traffic during weekday afternoons.
    In addition to the elimination of the loop ramp within this old-fashioned "parclo" interchange, the slip ramp from the local lanes into the main lanes of I-270 between Shady Grove Road and I-370 will be removed. The slip ramps toward the exit ramps will remain unchanged.
    The State Highway Administration tells us this element is still in the design phase.
    Andrew from Rockville writes:
    "MDOT has been working on an extended lane from Democracy Blvd up the merge between I-270 and I-270 Spur. It is all paved, any idea when it will actually be open? The jersey barriers have been in place for weeks and no construction is going on."
    Using space once dedicated to shoulders, the northbound lanes were shifted more than a year ago on the I-270 Spur from Democracy Boulevard toward Montrose Road. More recently, the southbound lanes were shifted beyond the "Lane Divide" as well.
    Milling and paving has been taking place during the overnight hours. A MDOT spokesperson tell us this work, along with new striping, is expected to be completed "in a few weeks." With more than half a dozen general purpose and carpool lanes merging before the local lane configuration, precision is paramount as far as the Highway Administration is concerned.

    In Shirlington, a perfect storm of traffic abates

    Posted by WTOP/Dave Dildine
    June 11, 2019
    A work zone in Shirlington took Tuesday morning drivers by surprise.
    A perfect storm of traffic conditions caused morning backups in Fairlington and Shirlington near Interstate 395 earlier this week, but transportation officials hope the worst delays will be in the rear view mirror.
    The erection of a long term work zone on the ramp from Quaker Lane and Shirlington Circle to northbound I-395 took drivers by surprise early Monday. Concrete jersey wall reduced the two-lane ramp to a single lane, forcing the four lane flow around the east side of Shirlington Circle into a single file toward the interstate.
    The work zone is a part of the 395 Express Lanes construction and will offer crews space to work while a sound wall is constructed this summer, according to Transurban, the operator of the facility.
    The morning delays were apparently compounded by a malfunctioning ramp meter. The Virginia Department of Transportation found that the signal at the bottom of the ramp was holding on red for more than 10 seconds during morning rush hour.
    VDOT said that the problem has been fixed. As added insurance, an agency spokesperson said signal technicians will have a close eye on the light remotely and on site first thing tomorrow morning.
    Shirlington Circle is a notoriously vexing interchange. Traffic pinwheels around the oval-shaped collection of ramps above I-395 with crashes and congestion routinely stalling drivers.
    On Wednesday, June 12, VDOT will be hosting a presentation on alternatives identified by a study assessing safety and operational improvements at the Shirlington interchange. Residents are invited to stop by Drew Model Elementary School between 7 p.m. and 9 p.m. to view displays and learn more about the study.
    VDOT plans to issue a report on a "preferred alternative" by this fall.
    The 395 Express Lanes will open as an all-electronic E-ZPass facility this fall as well.  

    'BRAC impact' for drivers on Connecticut Avenue

    Posted by WTOP/Dave Dildine
    June 11, 2019
    Off-peak lane closures are scheduled on Connecticut Avenue near Jones Bridge Road for utility work. (Courtesy MDOT SHA)
    Preparing for increased traffic following a Bethesda Base Realignment and Closure, the Maryland Department of Transportation is overseeing utility relocation for a widening of Jones Bridge Road near Connecticut Avenue.
    Midday lane closures are scheduled for the next year near the intersection, less than a mile from Walter Reed National Military Medical Center. Crews are permitted to intermittently close lanes on Connecticut Avenue from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Some work will take place during overnights as well.
    The "BRAC impact" on drivers is expected to be minimal as long as crews adhere to the state's prescribed work hours.
    The project will widen Jones Bridge Road by adding a third left turn lane onto northbound Connecticut Avenue and lengthening the existing turn lanes.
    The utility relocation, performed by Pepco and Washington Gas, is in progress. The roadwork is scheduled to begin late next year.

    Years of traffic impacts in Northeast DC for tunnel project

    Posted by WTOP/Dave Dildine
    June 14, 2019
    Drivers and walkers along Rhode Island Avenue in Brentwood and Bloomingdale are bracing for years of lane and occasional sidewalk closures related to a subterranean tunnel project underfoot. Traffic impacts are likely to become more pronounced later this summer as the utility work intensifies. 
    DC Water's tunnel boring machine is still miles from its final destination but preparations for the Northeast Boundary Tunnel, infrastructure aimed at reducing stormwater flooding, are well underway.
    Several construction areas mark the sites of future pumping stations and diversion chambers that will send stormwater through the tunnel toward the Blue Plains Treatment Plant, instead of into the Anacostia River.
    In order to resolve chronic sewer flooding in Brentwood, DC Water will construct a diversion facility near the Rhode Island Avenue Metro station. The removal of the median along Rhode Island Avenue will block a lane each way for several weeks.
    Additional sections of the concrete median will be removed closer to Bloomingdale, including near the 4th Street NE and 6th Street NE intersections.
    Near North Capitol Street, DC Water's contractor will begin a process known as jet grouting. The injection of cement and water into the ground at high velocities will stabilize the soil for future excavation. The work is expected to take place through August.
    A separate tunnel near the work site will eventually send runoff from a temporary pumping station along 1st Street NW into the Northeast Boundary Tunnel.
    Traffic is expected to be impacted along Rhode Island Avenue for several years.
    Sidewalk and crosswalk closures have been taking place at various intersections along Rhode Island and Florida avenues. Crews are expected to preserve at least one sidewalk and temporary ADA ramps have been installed as needed.
    Round-the-clock parking restrictions have been posted on many blocks near the project. Drivers seeking parking spaces are urged to pay close attention to the white signs posted near the curbs.

    Seven Corners, 10 work zones: Sidewalk upgrades, lane closures along US 50

    Posted by WTOP/Dave Dildine
    June 17, 2019
    Dave, in Falls Church, writes:

    "I've been checking your site, looking for info on the schedule for the shoulder improvements and sidewalk additions on Route 50 in Falls Church, just west of Seven Corners. They are closing lanes during the day, which is leading to traffic backups in the early afternoon. I can't find any updates anywhere online about the anticipated end of this irritating project."

    From a driver-centric perspective, the lane closures for work zones — especially at lengthy projects — can be a frustration. But sidewalk improvements are sorely needed along this stretch of U.S. Route 50, which is heavily traveled by drivers and pedestrians alike.

    The curbside upgrades are being conducted by the Fairfax County Department of Transportation and include construction of new walkways, crosswalks, ADA accessible curb ramps and bus stop pads.

    The sidewalk improvements along a 3-mile stretch of Route 50 (Arlington Boulevard) between Jaguar Trail near the Beltway and Seven Corners, are broken up into 10 phases, each with its own timeline.
    A timeline for the 10 work zones along U.S. 50 in Fairfax County (Courtesy Fairfax County Department of Transportation)
    FCDOT tells us that roughly half of the 10 project areas have already been completed. New crosswalks and curb cut ramps have been installed near Allen Street. More than 1,500 feet of sidewalk has been revamped near Woodlawn Avenue, with similar improvements completed near Patrick Henry Drive.

    The fifth phase of work, focused on eastbound walkway and crosswalks between South Street and Aspen Lane, is expected to wrap up this month.
    Some crosswalks on Arlington Boulevard are spaced out by more than half a mile. By August, new walkways, crosswalks and ADA-compliant ramps are scheduled to be in place west of Annandale Road and near where a 93-year-old pedestrian was struck and killed early this year. Police said he was not in a crosswalk. 

    Other phases of the project closer to Loehmann's Plaza are scheduled to conclude later this fall.

    The final phase, focused on the walkway along the westbound lanes from a point west of Seven Corners to Annandale Road, is scheduled for completion in January, weather permitting.

    The $10 million initiative is funded through federal aid from the Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality Program and Regional Surface Transportation Program. 

    GW Parkway repairs to last through at least August

    Posted by WTOP/Dave Dildine
    June 20, 2019
    The repairs to a crumbling section of the George Washington Parkway between Turkey Run Park and the Capital Beltway are now expected to continue through most of the summer.
    The long-term repairs to a failed drainage inlet will keep at least one right lane on the parkway closed for 10 weeks once the contractor is ready for work, the National Park Service said Friday. Engineers have determined that a 60 year old brick drainage structure buried deep under the parkway needs to be replaced.
    Read more about the long term work zone here

    Closure of US-29 in Va. draws closer

    Posted by WTOP/Dave Dildine
    June 20, 2019
    A crash-prone stretch of U.S. Route 29 between Warrenton, Virginia, and Gainesville, Virginia, will be closed near Vint Hill Road beginning around noon on July 8. The closure of the northbound lanes could last through early August.
    The southbound lanes, and the Vint Hill Road intersection, will remain open.
    Northbound long-distance drivers will be directed toward U.S. Route 17 and Interstate 66, from Warrenton to Marshall, for up to three weeks while the northbound lanes are regraded and rebuilt. Local traffic will be detoured onto Route 605. 
    Read more about the closure here

    Lane closures to shift at Dulles Toll Road's main toll plaza

    Posted by WTOP/Max Smith
    June 20, 2019
    Delays on the Dulles Toll Road are sticking around for a little while as part of back end toll system upgrades.
    Some westbound backups have built with three left lanes closed at the main toll plaza over the last few weeks that are usually EZ-Pass only. The work on those three lanes is nearly finished, Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority Vice President Roger Natsuhara said, but then the work will shift to two other pairs of lanes, one pair at a time.
    After those are done in a few weeks, the work will shift to the eastbound toll plaza.
    Read more about the work here
    (WTOP/Dave Dildine)

    Overnight detour for Memorial Bridge rehabilitation

    Posted by WTOP/Dave Dildine
    June 20, 2019
    Overnight work associated with the rehabilitation of Arlington Memorial Bridge led to delays and nightly lane closures along the Potomac River earlier this week. 
    Northbound traffic on the George Washington Parkway from Reagan National Airport and Interstate 395 was diverted off the parkway toward U.S. Route 50 and Memorial Circle nightly earlier this week. 
    Portions of the old bridge deck above the parkway were cut into pieces and removed. Eventually, a crane will hoist high-performance, precast concrete deck panels in place. 
    The National Park Service said that northbound traffic on the parkway is expected to flow normally for the foreseeable future with the bulk of the heavy lifting above the GW Parkway completed late Wednesday. 
    Delays were magnified earlier this week by the limited number of lanes on Memorial Bridge. 
    Until early 2021, there will be a maximum of three lanes open on Arlington Memorial Bridge. During daylight hours, one lane is open to inbound drivers, one lane is open to outbound drivers and one lane is reversible to accommodate rush-hour traffic. 
    A overnight traffic pattern further reduces the number of available lanes. Traffic alternates across the bridge from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. in a single-file under flagger direction. 

    The combination of both work zones led to significant northbound delays on the GW Parkway toward the diversion into Memorial Circle. 
    Concrete removal is expected to take place on the opposite side of the bridge above Ohio Drive near the Lincoln Memorial and Watergate steps beginning later this week. 
    The Park Service said at least one lane of traffic on Ohio Drive will get by the overhead work in both directions. The lane closures are scheduled to take place from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m.

    Small bridge, long detour in Laurel to last through summer

    Posted by WTOP/Dave Dildine
    June 28, 2019
    Rosemary asks:
    "Is it possible for y'all to get an update out of Montgomery County/Prince George's County officials about the Greencastle Road bridge repair? The road has been closed for several months with no notification as to when it will be reopened?"
    Greencastle Road has been closed between Old Gunpowder Road and Fairland Recreational Park since spring for the replacement of a structurally deficient bridge over Little Paint Branch but the road is expected to be reopen this summer.
    The replacement of the bridge across the creek is headed by Prince George's County. The original structure was built more than 40 years ago. The most recent inspection revealed advanced section loss and deterioration of the bridge deck.
    The Prince George’s County Department of Public Works and Transportation tells WTOP that the detour for local drivers is expected to be lifted by the end of August. Until then, drivers will need to continue using Route 198 or Briggs Chaney Road to travel between Laurel and Burtonsville.
    A paving project on Old Gunpowder Road has complicated the detour for some drivers, with flagging and occasional stoppages of traffic during daylight hours.
    The new bridge superstructure should extend the life of the Greencastle Road bridge another 15 to 20 years. About 8,000 drivers per day used the two-lane bridge before it closed.  

    Flood-prone Md. Route 450 closed this weekend

    Posted WTOP/Dave Dildine
    June 29, 2019
    (WTOP/Dave Dildine)
    Maryland Route 450 will be closed for the replacement of four culverts between Parole and Crofton this weekend. A similar closure is scheduled next weekend. The goal is to reduce the frequency of street flooding near several streams. 
    WTOP reported on the planned closures several months ago. Read more here
    The highway is scheduled to be closed to through traffic between Route 424 and Crownsville Road until early Monday morning this weekend and next. Eastbound traffic will be turned around near Rutland Road. Westbound lanes will be blocked west of Crownsville Road. 
    Route 450, or Defense Highway, courses through a low-lying, marshy area between Crofton and Annapolis. A portion of the highway near the confluence of three South River tributaries is often submerged after periods of rain. 
    State officials say the flooding is getting worse and indicate that climate change may be playing a role.

    Closure for 'Salute to America' to keep portion of Lincoln Circle closed

    Posted by WTOP/Dave Dildine
    June 30, 2019
    A security and staging area for the “Salute to America” event closes most of the plaza in front of the Lincoln Memorial along with a portion of Lincoln Circle. (WTOP/Dave Dildine)
    A staging area for President Donald Trump’s Fourth of July event, “Salute to America,” will likely keep a portion of Lincoln Memorial Circle blocked continuously through the end of the week and could add to morning traffic delays across an already cramped Arlington Memorial Bridge.

    The inbound lanes of Lincoln Circle between 23rd Street NW and Henry Bacon Drive are closed. Several temporary crew tents were erected in the circle last Friday. The work space is also being used to store large electric generators that will power President Trump's celebration. 

    Inbound drivers coming off Memorial Bridge will not have access to Henry Bacon Drive through the end of the week. All traffic on the "inner loop" of Lincoln Circle must bear left onto 23rd Street NW toward Constitution Avenue. 

    Rush hour traffic is expected to be lighter given the mid-week federal holiday but, with the traffic flow already constricted by the long-term rehabilitation of Memorial Bridge, some morning drivers may find themselves moving slower than usual toward the circle early in the week. 

    According to the most recently available traffic counts from the District Department of Transportation, about 11,800 vehicles per day use Henry Bacon Drive and close to 19,000 vehicles per day take 23rd Street NW north of Lincoln Circle. 

    A restricted area closes a swath of the nearby plaza from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial down to near the Reflecting Pool. The rest of the area will remain accessible to the public. 

    The Independence Day event is set to begin at 6:30 p.m. and will include remarks from the president, music, military demonstrations and flyovers. Attendance is free. 

    Memorial Bridge, a traditionally popular place to watch the annual fireworks display, will be off-limits to both drivers and pedestrians this year because of security changes. 

    The list of Independence Day road closures remains largely unchanged from previous years. 

    Fewer traffic lights on Branch Avenue by mid-July

    Posted by WTOP/Dave Dildine
    July 1, 2019
    The traffic signals for Brandywine Road were deactivated late last spring and in a few weeks all signals for Accokeek Road will be permanently deactivated and removed. (Courtesy MDOT SHA)
    The big interchange project along Branch Avenue in Brandywine, Maryland, is entering its final phase and a new traffic pattern is set to go into effect in mid-July. 
    Since spring, the Maryland Department of Transportation has been carefully retiring the interwoven Brandywine Road and Accokeek Road intersections with Branch Avenue. 
    The traffic signals for Brandywine Road were deactivated late last spring, and in a few weeks all signals for Accokeek Road will be permanently deactivated and removed. 
    MDOT expects the new interchange to be in its final configuration during the third week of July. Eastbound and westbound drivers on both Accokeek
    Road and Brandywine Road will thereafter use the new spine road overpass, opened earlier this year, and a roundabout on the west side of Branch Avenue. 

    Cone Zone: Weekend-long diversion for Dulles-bound drivers

    Posted by WTOP/Dave Dildine
    July 5, 2019
    (WTOP/Dave Dildine)
    If you or your loved ones are flying out of Dulles International Airport this weekend, you'll want to be alert for possible traffic delays.
    A westbound closure of the Dulles Airport Access Highway is scheduled throughout the weekend for work related to the Washington Metro's Silver Line extension project.
    From the Capital Beltway toward the Dulles Airport, all westbound traffic will be diverted onto the Dulles Toll Road near Hunter Mill Road. Drivers headed for Dulles Airport will be able to re-enter the Dulles Access Highway near Route 28.
    A similar closure caused significant delays for afternoon and evening weekend travelers last month. The longest backups in the access lanes formed by about 3 p.m. and were worst on Sunday. The Dulles Toll Road wasn't affected. Some travelers reported sitting in bumper-to-bumper traffic in the access lanes for nearly an hour.
    During this busy travel weekend, rail project officials told WTOP that if major delays form, they are prepared to reopen the road early. The closure is scheduled to be in effect from 10 p.m. Friday through 5 a.m. Monday.

    Cone Zone: Flood-damaged roads to remain blocked for weeks, months

    Posted by WTOP/Dave Dildine
    July 15, 2019
    When the D.C. region was placed under a flash flood emergency a week ago, the National Weather Service indicated that some roads could be washed out by the destructive force of the floodwaters. The prediction proved to be accurate, and some flood-damaged roads may end up closed for weeks.

    The District Department of Transportation reopened Canal Road between Reservoir and Foxhall roads late Monday morning.
    Erosion compromised a small culvert underneath the road near Fletcher’s Cove. A concrete slab and new pavement was constructed. 

    The Virginia Department of Transportation said it expects Prosperity Avenue south of Accotink Creek to be reopened in a matter of days. A low-lying section of the road, prone to flooding near a small run, sustained pavement damage.
    (Courtesy VDOT)

    In McLean, a rain-swollen Pimmet Run undermined a large section of Kirby Road. VDOT said the work to repair the road and embankment will take weeks. Part of the project will entail rechanneling the stream away from the roadway, a spokesperson for the agency said.

    A heavily damaged section of Swinks Mill Road south of Georgetown Pike is expected to remain closed for months. VDOT said further assessments of the extensive road and bridge damage will be needed before repair work can proceed.

    VDOT is assembling a specialty “strike” crew comprised of personnel from different maintenance yards to expedite the work on several other roads that were reopened in the days after temporary fixes were made. In total, about 15 roads will be addressed.
    A section of Beulah Road near Wolftrap Creek and Leigh Mill Road near Difficult Run will need to be repaved. Erosion on the wayside of Georgetown Pike and Old Dominion Drive will be addressed as well. 

    Read more about the closures here.

    Cone Zone: Stoppages for steel work to impact overnight Beltway drivers

    Posted by WTOP/Dave Dildine
    July 18, 2019
    Stoppages for steel work will bring overnight traffic on the Capital Beltway to a stop through mid-August. 
    The Maryland Department of Transportation State Highway Administration said lane closures and 15-minute traffic stoppages are on tap between Georgia and Connecticut avenues beginning July 21.
    The lane closures are scheduled to begin around 9 p.m. weeknights. By 11 p.m. up to three lanes could be closed. Temporary stoppages are possible anytime between midnight and 4 a.m. as beams are raised above the Beltway at the Seminary Road overpass. 
    The rehabilitation of the bridge above the Beltway hit a snag last year when crews found that the pier caps, or "headstock," needed to be adjusted for safety reasons. The unexpected but necessary demolition of the caps resulted in a lull in active construction last winter. 
    WTOP reported on the steel work and potential impact last April
    MDOT SHA said the beams should be secured by mid-August. The estimated project completion date has been pushed into this coming winter. 
    (Courtesy MDOT SHA)

    Cone Zone: Lower speed limit on I-295 in effect with or without lane closures

    Posted by WTOP/Dave Dildine
    July 19, 2019
    I wanted to provide additional perspective from a couple of WTOP listeners who wrote to us after the article 'Drivers still taken aback by lower speed limit on I-295' was published on Thursday, July 18, 2019. 
    The 40 mile per hour speed limit is in effect for a roughly six mile long section of the corridor from near East Capitol Street on D.C. Route 295 to Blue Plains and the Naval Research Lab exit on Interstate 295. There are five major projects in progress along the corridor, including the reconstruction the Malcolm X Avenue interchange
    The lower speed limit for highway traffic along I-295 and D.C. 295 still has some drivers reeling. Many do not realize the rules apply 24 hours a day. Others claim that the posted signage is inadequate. 
    "I quickly accelerated to about 50 mph to match the flow of traffic and safely execute a maneuver to the left so as not to be forced onto I-695. Upon completion of the maneuver, I noticed a flash in my rear-view mirror," wrote one driver. 
    Justin, the driver, merged onto the southbound lanes of Route 295 from Pennsylvania Avenue and the Sousa Bridge. The merge onto D.C. 295 can be tricky for those who wish to continue straight ahead onto I-295 since they have less than 1,500 feet to shift over to the left before the ramp that leads onto the inbound 11th Street Bridge. 
    "I am obviously aware of speed cameras throughout the District, but I believed I was travelling at or near the speed limit," he wrote, noting a difficult-to-spot speed limit sign partially obscured by a portable message sign in front of it.
    "The split-second [the sign] may be in a motorist's line-of-sight, it is easily missed by a driver checking his/her rear-view mirrors to safely merge onto the highway," he wrote. 
    The well-being of work crews is one of the District Department of Transportation's top priorities. In early 2014, a worker was killed on the Suitland Parkway just east of I-295. Data from the U.S. Department of Labor show that a death occurs near a D.C. work zone about once every other year. 
    "We're really trying to slow speeds to protect the safety of everyone on the roadway, especially the work zone workers," DDOT's deputy director Everett Lott said yesterday. 
    Several listeners continue to be taken aback by the lower speed limit, even in the absence of active roadwork, crews and lane closures. 
    "I got a $300 ticket for 57 mph on a Saturday ... I thought the zone was during construction hours," wrote J.J. Perry.   
    In the District, fines are doubled in work zones and are more costly for speeds in excess of 15 miles per hour over the limit. 
    Prior to the new speed limit going in effect, a 57 mile per hour headway would not likely have triggered the automated speed enforcement device. 
    Since the inception of automated traffic enforcement in the District, some drivers have claimed that speed limits are artificially low in certain areas where the cameras are placed. This is especially the case on K Street NW under Washington Circle. 
    There are at least three speed enforcement cameras located near the work zones on I-295 and D.C. 295. 
    DDOT said the lower speed limit will be in effect through late 2021. 

    Closure of Old Dominion Dr. planned for 'urgent slope repairs'

    Posted by WTOP/Dave Dildine
    July 24, 2019
    A recurring, midday closure of Old Dominion Drive near the Arlington-Fairfax county line is planned through the end of the week for what the Virginia Department of Transportation calls "urgent slope repairs." 

    Daily detours will be in place near a ravine between 37th Street North and North Edison Street. Traffic will be sent toward North Harrison Street, Williamsburg Boulevard and North George Mason Drive around the work zone. 

    Nearby, detours are expected to remain in place for several more weeks on Kirby Road between Old Dominion Drive and Route 123 after a portion of the road washed away during flash flooding in early July. 

    Milling, paving on BW Parkway to cause delays

    Posted by WTOP/Dave Dildine
    July 29, 2019
    Overnight roadwork will delay evening and overnight drivers on the Baltimore-Washington Parkway between Laurel and Jessup this week, according to the National Park Service. 

    A Park Service construction contractor will mill and repave the BW Parkway between Route 32 and Route 175 weeknights this week. The contractor is expected to begin setting up the work zone around 7:30 p.m. A single lane will get by their work zone but delays are likely during the late evening and early nighttime hours. All lanes should reopen by 5 a.m. 

    On Monday evening, crews are scheduled to block access from the northbound lanes of the parkway to westbound Route 32 while the ramp is resurfaced. Crews are expected to block the ramp to eastbound Route 32 on both Tuesday and Wednesday around 7:30 p.m. Both ramps should be reopened by 5 a.m. the following mornings. 

    Lanes reopen after toll upgrades on Dulles Toll Rd.

    Posted by WTOP/Dave Dildine
    July 29, 2019
    (WTOP/Dave Dildine)
    UPDATE on Aug. 28, 2019: The lanes at the toll plaza have reopened.
    Posted by WTOP/Dave Dildine
    July 29, 2019
    The final push to upgrade tolling technology on the Dulles Toll Road is expected to add to morning delays for eastbound drivers. 
    The Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority said at least two toll lanes will be closed at the main toll plaza for several consecutive weeks. Beyond Route 7, E-ZPass users should stay left and cash customers should stay right to access the full service toll booths. 
    On Monday morning, eastbound traffic was significantly slower than usual from Herndon and Reston toward the work zone where the far left E-ZPass Only lane and at least one center toll lane remained blocked. MWAA urged morning commuters headed for the Beltway to make temporal adjustments by arriving at the main toll plaza before 8 a.m. or after 10 a.m. to avoid the heaviest traffic. 
    The installation of the new toll collection system caused daily westbound delays for several weeks earlier in the summer. The work at the westbound toll plaza was largely completed. 
    MWAA said it is working to provide a minimally disruptive driving experience and a safe construction zone for workers.
    Further adjustments to the lane closures at the eastbound toll plaza are likely later this summer.
    The morning backups on the Dulles Toll Road could lead to overflow traffic on Route 7 at times as well. 

    Daytime closures on 2 14th Street NW lanes through Friday

    Posted by WTOP
    July 31, 2019
    Two northbound lanes on a section of 14th Street Northwest will be temporarily closed during the day this week.
    The District Department of Transportation (DDOT) announced that the northbound driving and parking lanes on 14th Street Northwest from Thomas Circle to Rhode Island Avenue will be closed until Aug. 2 from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. each day.
    Motorists should expect moderate-to-heavy delays, DDOT said.
    DDOT is repaving the lanes as part of the 14th Street Northwest Streetscape project.

    Lane reductions for storm water diversion

    Posted by WTOP/Dave Dildine
    August 2, 2019

    Aga writes us about a work zone on her daily commute that "often blocks two lanes" near the Bladensburg Road and Mount Olivet Road intersection, adding that it "has been going on for few months now and it does not seem to end."
    Never-ending work is a common lament, on and off the highways. In the case of this project, the ultimate completion date remains on the distant horizon but the most impact lane closures in the near term could be mostly in Aga's rear-view mirror. 
    Most of the lane reductions that drivers have encountered this year on Mount Olivet Road, Bladensburg Road and Rhode Island Avenue are just a small, visible component of a massive underground project that we've detailed in this blog in recent months — DC Water's Northeast Boundary Tunnel project. 
    Construction of the miles-long storm water tunnel from near Robert F. Kennedy Stadium to Bloomingdale is well underway. By 2023, DC Water looks forward to a 98 percent reduction in sewage overflow into the Anacostia and Potomac rivers when the entirety of the tunnel system is put into service. 
    The work zone on Mount Olivet Road is for the construction of dewatering wells that actually lower the water table to prepare for the underground arrival of the tunnel boring machine, according to the utility company. 
    Traffic has been shifted slightly south near the work site for a few months. 
    The active lane closures within the 250-foot work zone are scheduled to take place Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Drivers are asked not to tail-gate and to drive distraction-free to keep the workers safe. 

    Weekend closure to block key artery through Seven Corners

    Posted by WTOP
    August 2, 2019
    The Route 50 underpass through Seven Corners will be closed this weekend for the rehabilitation of a Wilson Boulevard bridge.

    Eastbound and westbound traffic on Route 50 will be detoured onto the parallel service road and through Seven Corners’ namesake, the signalized intersections for Route 7 and three other roads, from 10 p.m. Friday until 5 a.m. Monday.
    Once the closure is put into effect, crews will begin demolition of an old one-way, two-lane bridge. The new 87-foot overpass will be carefully hoisted into position above Route 50 throughout the weekend.
    Read more about the closure and bridge replacement here
    (Courtesy VDOT)

    Calvert County highway upgrades ongoing

    Posted by Dave Dildine/WTOP
    August 9, 2019
    Bob from Prince Frederick writes: 
    "The posted signs for a road construction project on MD Route 4 in Calvert County promise a completion by the summer of '19 but it appears that the work is behind schedule. What is the anticipated completion date for this project?"

    Whether you refer to it as Route 4, Route 2 or Solomons Island Road, you can expect Calvert County's busiest highway to be wider through Prince Frederick soon. But, as Bob points out, there were some minor setbacks during the early phases of the project. 

    The widening project will convert Route 4 to a six-lane divided highway between Fox Run Boulevard and Commerce Lane. The early utility relocation was a little more time-consuming than expected, but the Maryland Department of Transportation State Highway Administration said it expects the work will be completed by next spring. 

    Saw-cutting for curb placement and grading continues on the median. Storm drain relocation and replacement continues on the median as well. 

    MDOT will be performing some overnight work this summer with lane closures from time to time. Occasional lane closures should be expected for related roadwork on Dares Beach Road near Route 4. 
    (Courtesy MDOT SHA)

    Long range plans for northern and southern interchanges at tie-ins with Prince Frederick Boulevard are on hold. 

    In Westphalia, roadwork wears on ahead of future development

    Posted by Dave Dildine/WTOP
    Aug. 12, 2019

    Roadwork related to a new interchange near the Capital Beltway in Prince George’s County is slightly behind schedule but the state has good reason to stay on track.
    George, from Dunkirk, asks:
    “What is the status of the road construction project for the intersection of Suitland Parkway and Pennsylvania Avenue? This project was approved several years ago but it seems to be moving at a snail’s pace.”
    As of late last month, the effort to convert the congested at-grade intersection at Suitland Parkway and Pennsylvania Avenue into a diamond interchange was about 28 percent complete, according to the Maryland Department of Transportation.
    Plans are in motion to approve the construction of a large fulfillment center just south of this project area in Prince George's County. Whether the space is developed into a community town center, a busy warehouse or both, it's important that the increased traffic, particularly delivery trucks, be able to seamlessly enter and exit the new development.
    Earlier this year, the preparations for this project included the relocation of a jet fuel line for Andrews Air Force Base.
    The initial utility relocation for large interchange projects such as this, its proximity to a military base notwithstanding, is often time-consuming, without much obvious progress visible above ground during early phases. But according to MDOT, work has been taking place below ground for several months, including excavation for underground power lines and the installation of a 36-inch water line.
    In the months ahead, more physical roadwork is planned along Presidential Parkway, which may soon become the central gateway into the future development.
    More above-ground construction is planned in the months ahead. The left turn from the outbound Suitland Parkway onto the northbound lanes of Route 4, Pennsylvania Avenue, will be closed during the latter phases of the project.
    The completion date, originally slated for the end of 2020, has been nudged forward into the summer of 2021.

    D.C. 295 rehabilitation enters final phases

    Posted by Dave Dildine/WTOP
    Aug. 13, 2019

    There are several construction areas along D.C. Route and Interstate 295. Some of them are scheduled to last for years. 
    A WTOP listener writes: 
    "Do you know when the reconstruction of the 295 bridge over Pennsylvania Ave is expected to be completed? It feels like it's been going on forever - with no noticeable progress for the past several months."
    The bridge rehabilitation along Route 295 is focued on the overpasses that span Nicholson Street just south of Pennsylvania Avenue. There are actually three separate spans, one for the main lanes of Route 295 and two more for an on-ramp and off-ramp.
    The initial phases involved the demolition and reconstruction of the main span, work that required lane shifts and made for a very bumpy ride at times. The District Department of Transportation is now entering the latter phases of the project which involve the replacement of the southbound on-ramp from the outbound Sousa Bridge and northbound off-ramp to outbound Pennsylvania Avenue. 
    DDOT is on track to complete the project by mid-January 2020 but the more disruptive work in the main lanes should be winding down much sooner. 
    In the meantime, drivers would be wise to slow down in the work area. The speed limit along the corridor was lowered to 40 miles per hour in May. WTOP's Max Smith recently found a significant spike in automated traffic citations after the speed limit was lowered last spring. The tickets were generated by the speed camera located along the southbound lanes between the work zone and the ramp to the 11th Street Bridge. 
    The listener adds: 
    "Hopefully when they're done, they'll add a barrier or something to keep northbound drivers who don't make the turn to westbound Pennsylvania avenue from continuing straight — on the shoulder — through the short section before the drivers from westbound Pennsylvania Ave merge in. That's very dangerous, and I see dozens of drivers do it every week."
    If you've ever driven northbound in heavy traffic on this road, you've no doubt seen other drivers queue jumping on the right shoulder between the ramps at this interchange. 
    A curb, or at the very least bollards, rumble strips and better stencils on the exit only lanes, would help to reduce the frequency of this behavior. But formally converting the shoulder into a third lane would likely reduce the efficiency of the merge ahead. 
    In response to this concern, DDOT said they will be "enhancing the roadway's markings" and working with DC Police to improve enforcement but did not elaborate further.
    Several years ago, DDOT widened and lengthened the northbound acceleration lane from Pennsylvania Avenue to move more traffic off the outbound Sousa Bridge during peak travel periods. 
    D.C. 295, technically an expressway, is not built to interstate standards. There are some deficiencies compared to other highways, including the abrupt lane drop that this listener points out. 

    Midday Beltway work zone to slow Inner Loop drivers

    Posted by Dave Dildine/WTOP
    Posted: Aug. 19, 2019
    Updated: Aug. 23, 2019
    (WTOP/Dave Dildine)

    We received numerous questions from listeners regarding the recurring work zone on the Inner Loop of the Capital Beltway near the American Legion Memorial Bridge. 
    The work zone posed a hurdle to late morning and midday drivers — some of whom were unaccustomed to the rush hour-like backups that extended into Tysons at times. The lane closures had gone into place as early as the 8 a.m. hour, putting some stress on the heavy northbound morning traffic flow in Fairfax County. 
    Although the lane closures haven't been implemented for several days, the Maryland Department of Transportation said the maintenance work will occur occasionally through fall.
    The construction barrels are usually rolled out into the right lane near the George Washington Parkway overpass. The right through lane is blocked to give northbound drivers moving off the parkway room to safely merge onto the Inner Loop. Ahead, the bulk of the work takes place in the right transition lane on the bridge between the ramps for the GW Parkway and Clara Barton Parkway on both sides of the Potomac River. 
    Since the project began about two weeks ago, the crews have generally reopened the lanes by about 3 p.m. but longer-lasting closures are possible. 
    A concurrent bridge cleaning and painting project calls for intermittent overnight left and right lane closures through the end of the year. Those closures are scheduled to take place Sunday through Thursday nights from 11 p.m. to 5 a.m.  
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