WASHINGTON (AP) -- In Washington, when the cherry blossoms reach peak bloom, the traffic gets ugly.
It's not just a matter of combating the congestion near the Tidal Basin -- regionally. The sleepy, winter traffic patterns are transitioning into summer-like sluggishness.
Many of the in-demand weekend arteries have been consistently bogging down for the past month. Volume delays on Interstate 95 in Virginia were particularly intense last week. On Friday, the afternoon "rush hour" on I-95 didn't end until Saturday morning when a truck crash in Stafford County caused a 20-mile-long backup to persist well after midnight.
Drivers on Route 50 toward the Severn and Bay bridges experienced heavy traffic on Friday afternoon as well.
Traffic on many downtown roads will flow at molasses-like speeds this weekend with the Cherry Blossom Festival and Parade, the Japanese Street Festival and the IMF World Bank Meetings coinciding.
If you're planning to brave the crowds, Metro will be the best way to get downtown. But despite WMATA allowing eight-car trains on all five Metrorail lines, some downtown platforms and trains will be elbow-to-elbow.
In Upper Marlboro U.S. Route 301 south of Route 4 is closed all weekend to allow CSX Transportation to repair the railroad crossing.
District of Columbia police are warning of street closures and possible traffic delays this weekend due to the National Cherry Blossom Festival and events at the International Monetary Fund and World Bank complex. Roads will also be closed for the Sakura Matsuri Japanese Street Festival.
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