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.
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.