The Inner Scoop
Find out the story behind the back-up on the WTOP Traffic Blog. The WTOP traffic team will have the lastest on road closures, construction projects and other useful information relating to your commute.
Follow @wtoptraffic for the latest updates.
Posted on: Friday 3/29/2013 6:22am
Dave Dildine, wtop.com
WASHINGTON - A major commuting route from Maryland to D.C. is also one of the most accident-prone paths into the nation's capital.
The District Department of Transportation's $390 million reconstruction of the 11th Street Bridge continues and is moving into the second phase. But since opening, many of the new ramps to and from the bridge have played host to crashes.
So far this year, the WTOP Traffic Center has reported on at least 43 accidents on the bridge or on the ramps leading to the bridge. That's about one crash every other day.
The majority of the wrecks occurred on the inbound side of the bridge where drivers merging off Interstate 295 weave together toward Capitol Hill.
That bottleneck should be alleviated when the ramp leading onto the Southeast Freeway is finalized by early next year.
Posted on: Wednesday 3/27/2013 5:33pm
Amy Freedman, wtop.com
WASHINGTON - On Wednesday, March 27, beginning at 11 p.m. weather permitting, the Virginia Department of Transportation will close one lane in each direction of Interstate 95 near exit 166, or the Fairfax County Parkway (Route 286).
This will lead to a full stoppage of I-95 traffic after midnight in both directions for 30 minutes. This closure is to allow Dominion Power to install new overhead electrical lines.
The district's homeland security department also reports that there will be multiple openings of the drawbridge portion of the Woodrow Wilson Bridge for testing purposes on Wednesday night, starting at 10 p.m.
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Posted on: Friday 3/22/2013 1:16pm
Dave Dildine, wtop.com
WASHINGTON -- Getting around Washington should be a little easier this weekend. Cooler temperatures and increasing clouds will likely suppress travel volume across the region.
Over the past several weekends, there has been a noticeable increase in weekend volume on key travel routes such as I-95 in Virginia. Last weekend, heavy traffic was observed in long stretches on I-95 between Spotsylvania County and Springfield in both directions. Delays of this magnitude are more common on weekends during the summer.
Beach Drive and Rock Creek Parkway closures
Weekend delays on Beach Drive and Rock Creek Parkway have also been increasing lately. This scenic byway is a popular, and often a busy weekend travel route into the city from the Maryland suburbs to the north.
The southbound lanes of Beach Drive and Rock Creek Parkway from Porter Street NW to P Street NW will be closed Saturday and Sunday, weather permitting. The National Park Service will be ramping up stream bank stabilization efforts near Waterside Drive and Massachusetts Avenue and will need more space to perform work. The northbound lanes will remain open.
The closure of the Rock Creek Parkway will put extra demand on alternate routes like Connecticut Avenue, Massachusetts Avenue, and 16th Street. Expect longer than usual waits at the traffic lights on the inbound sides of these routes through Northwest Washington. The lanes of the southbound parkway are expected to reopen by 6 p.m. on Sunday.
Metro track work suspended
The trip on Metrorail should be much smoother this weekend. Metro has suspended most of its weekend track work until April 14 in anticipation of increased ridership for the National Cherry Blossom Festival. The festival runs from March 20 to April 14 and draws large crowds to the Tidal Basin as the cherry trees approach peak bloom.
Metro says its ridership increases by more than 15 percent during Cherry Blossom season. Weekend travel volumes can rival rush hour levels during mild weather.
Cooler temperatures this weekend should suppress the cherry blooms and visitor turnout.
Scope it Out 5K
The weather will not deter participants and supporters of the 8th Annual Scope it Out 5K Run/Walk for Colon Cancer Awareness on Sunday. The race kicks off at 9 a.m. from Freedom Plaza and wraps around the west lawn of the U.S. Capitol. Expect a stretch of Pennsylvania Avenue and a few of the numbered streets to be blocked downtown between 5 a.m. and 1 p.m.
WTOP's Mike Jakaitis, an ardent Chris4Life supporter and colon cancer survivor, will be running again this year. Find out more about how you can contribute Chris4Life Colon Cancer Foundation here.
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Posted on: Monday 3/18/2013 1:05pm
Amy Freedman, wtop.com
WASHINGTON - The Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey circus is rolling into town this week and so are its elephants.
The annual parade of elephants -- otherwise known as the DC Pachyderm Parade -- will take place Tuesday, March 19.
Elephants, circus clowns and acrobats will walk from Capitol Hill to the Verizon Center. The expected start time is 8 p.m.; it is not expected to interfere with rush hour traffic.
The parade route will begin at Virginia Avenue at New Jersey Avenue SE, continue west to South Capitol Street and then head north to Washington Avenue SW. From Washington Avenue, the route will move west to 3rd Street SW and head north on 3rd Street. The parade will make its final turn onto G Street NW toward the Verizon Center at 601 F St. NW.
While the parade draws children of all ages, it also attracts animal rights activists, the Huffington Post reports. The People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) has protested the parade in the District for the past two years.
The circus' show, "Dragons," will be at the Verizon Center March 21-24.
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Posted on: Friday 3/15/2013 4:44pm
WASHINGTON - Travel by train, bus and car will be difficult in Washington this weekend. On Saturday, the Rock 'n' Roll Marathon and Half Marathon will block a number of streets throughout the city. On Sunday, the St. Patrick's Day Parade will take place on Constitution Avenue, closing streets between the U.S. Capitol and the Ellipse.
The forecast of wet weather may curb spectator turnout but the street closures on Saturday and Sunday alone are enough to cause heavy traffic and headaches behind the wheel. Routes in Northwest, Northeast, Southwest and Southeast Washington will be affected by the race on Saturday. Motorists should follow posted detour signs and obey police direction.
Bus route detours during the race, track work on Metrorail and road work on New York Avenue will further complicate the trip through downtown Washington.
Rock 'n' Roll Marathon and Half Marathon
Formally known as the National Marathon, the 2013 Rock 'n' Roll Marathon and Half Marathon will take place on Saturday morning. Police will begin blocking various streets along the race route throughout the city as early as midnight. The marathon is scheduled to begin at 7:30 a.m. The Metropolitan Police Department may reopen some streets as early as 9:30 a.m. and all affected streets should be open by 2 p.m.
Click on the automobile icons in the map above for impacts on specific travel routes
Of the many closures that will be put into place for this event, the major road closures include Constitution Avenue, Rock Creek Parkway, Memorial Bridge, Calvert Street, Columbia Road, North Capitol Street, Maine Avenue, South Capitol Street (including the Frederick Douglass Bridge) and East Capitol Street (including the Whitney Young Bridge).
Motorists on I-66 eastbound using the Roosevelt Bridge to access the city will be forced onto the Potomac River Freeway toward the E Street Expressway during the event. United States Park Police plan to keep the Memorial Bridge and Rock Creek Parkway closed until about 11 a.m.
The Chain Bridge, Key Bridge, and 14th Street Bridge will remain open throughout the event. The Southwest Freeway and 3rd Street Tunnel will remain open, but the freeway exit to Maine Avenue will be closed.
Drivers headed into the city from Southeast on I-295 and Kenilworth Avenue should use the 11th Street Bridge. The Frederick Douglass Bridge and East Capitol Street Bridge will be closed through early afternoon for the second leg of the marathon.
Both races will start simultaneously on Constitution Avenue at 14th Street in front of the Washington Monument. The runners will head toward the Lincoln Memorial after a short jaunt up Virginia Avenue. The race course takes participants back and forth across the Arlington Memorial Bridge, then north on the Rock Creek Parkway toward Woodley Park.
Runners will head east toward Adams Morgan on Calvert Street and Columbia Road. They will run through Columbia Heights toward McMillan Reservoir then south on North Capitol Street through Bloomington and Eckington. As they near Union Station they will head east toward the H Street District.
Both races will bend south on 13th Street, then east toward RFK Stadium. The Half Marathon will conclude at RFK while the full marathoners will head west toward the U.S. Capitol on East Capitol Street.
From the National Mall, the 26.2 mile-course follows 9th Street SW to the Southwest Waterfront. The course routes the marathoners past Nationals Park on South Capitol Street and then across the Frederick Douglass Bridge. Runners will head north through Anacostia Park toward Minnesota Avenue. Finally, the participants will again cross the Anacostia River on the Whitney Young Bridge, concluding at RFK Stadium.
The Metropolitan Police Department says that delays are likely in the vicinity of the event and urges motorists to consider alternate routes. Increased pedestrian traffic is likely near the race course through the city as well.
For a complete list of roads affected for the race, see the event website.
St. Patrick's Day Parade
St. Patrick's Day falls on a weekend this year. While many other towns have already hosted their own parades over the past few weeks, the Nation's St. Patrick's Day Parade in Washington D.C. is scheduled to take place this Sunday on Constitution Avenue between noon and 3 p.m.
Constitution Avenue will be closed between 7th Street NW and 17th Street NW through mid-afternoon. The numbered streets, including the 12th Street Tunnel, will be closed to traffic between 9:00 a.m. and 3 p.m.
The parade will include local law enforcement, marching bands and will feature many Irish-themed floats.
Motorists near the National Mall should stay alert for heavy pedestrian traffic and expect delays.
Metrorail Track Work and Early Opening
Track work continues for one more weekend before a month-long reprieve, scheduled to accommodate the large crowds expected during the Cherry Blossom Festival. Riders on sections of the Orange and Red lines will experience delays this weekend. There is no scheduled work on the Green, Yellow, and Blue lines.
Metro will open at 5 a.m. on Saturday, two hours early, to accommodate the runners headed into the city for the Rock 'n' Roll Marathon which begins at 7:30 a.m.
- Buses replace trains between NoMa-Gallaudet and Takoma
- Rhode Island Ave, Brookland and Fort Totten stations will be closed
- Trains will operate 10-minute-intervals from 9 a.m. until 9 p.m. and 15-minute-intervals at other times
- Single tracking between East Falls Church and West Falls Church
- Single tracking between Stadium-Armory and Cheverly
- Trains will operate at 12- to 15-minute intervals between the work zones during the day on Saturday
- Trains will operate at 24-minute-intervals at all other times and stations
Metro Bus Detours
About three dozen Metro buses will be detoured around the Saturday event closures. These detours are expected to result in service delays.
WMATA says the closures put in place for the marathon will have a significant impact on the following routes: 32, 34, 36, 38B, 42, 52, 54, 64, 70, 74, 80, 90, 92, 96, A42, A46, A48, B2, D4, D6, D8, G2, G8, H2, H4, L2, M6, N6, P6, S2, S4, U2, U6, V8, X2 and X8.
New York Avenue Bridge Work
The New York Avenue bridge that spans the train tracks north of Union Station continues this weekend. The work zone will reduce New York Avenue between Florida Avenue and 4th Street/Penn Street to a single lane each way.
Unlike past weekends, however, the work zone is scheduled to last all weekend long. The duration of the work, closure of two Anacostia crossings and event traffic headed downtown will put extra demand on the inbound side of New York Avenue. Delays are likely to result from the work zone on New York Avenue during the day on Saturday and, to a lesser degree, on Sunday.
Posted on: Friday 3/8/2013 5:18pm
Dave Dildine, wtop.com
WASHINGTON - Fair skies and milder weather should lure more of Washington out of hibernation and onto the roads this weekend.
Weekend volume delays have been steadily intensifying through hotspots such as Interstate 66 in Fairfax, the Baltimore Washington Parkway in Greenbelt and Interstate 95 between Lorton and Dale City as springtime nears.
Road work should have a minimal impact on travel this weekend. But Metro has a full docket of track work planned and delays are likely on all five rail lines.
Saint Patrick's Day revelry is also picking up across the region. In addition to the many pub crawls slated this weekend at various bars throughout the city, the Manassas Saint Patrick's Day Parade will march down Center Street on Saturday.
Track work on Metrorail
Metro customers will ride through work zones on portions of all five lines throughout the weekend. Most of the track work will require single tracking, as inbound and outbound trains share the same set of tracks. As usual, the work begins around 10 p.m. Friday and will last through closing time late Sunday.
A portion of the Blue and Orange lines will be closed east of Stadium-Armory for rail and platform upgrades. Free shuttle buses will be available instead of trains.
Metro riders who are planning a night on the town Saturday will want to keep a close eye on the clock.
The last trains will depart before 1:59 a.m. because of Daylight Saving Time. At 2 a.m. Sunday, clocks will spring ahead to 3 a.m., which is Metrorail's normal closing time.
Trains will also leave earlier than normal Friday and Saturday because of nighttime track work.
- Buses replace trains between Stadium-Armory and Cheverly
- Minnesota Avenue and Deanwood stations will be closed
- Local buses will makes stops at all stations between Stadium-Armory and Cheverly with delays up to 30 minutes possible
- Express buses will run directly between Stadium-Armory and Cheverly with delays up to 20 minutes possible
- The last trains of the night from New Carrollton to Cheverly will depart 50 minutes earlier than normal
- Trains will single track between East Falls Church and West Falls Church
- Trains between Vienna and Stadium-Armory will run at 20-minute intervals
- Buses replace trains between Stadium-Armory and Benning Road but both stations will remain open
- Buses will run directly between Stadium-Armory and Benning Road with delays up to 15 minutes possible
- The last trains of the night from Largo Town Center to Benning Road will depart 14 minutes earlier than normal
- Trains will single track between Judiciary Square and Rhode Island Avenue
- Trains will run at a minimum of 20-minute intervals
- Delays up to 10 minutes are possible between Rhode Island Avenue and Glenmont
- Trains will single track between L'Enfant Plaza and Mt Vernon Square
- Yellow Line trains will run at 20-minute intervals between Huntington and Mt. Vernon Square
- Green Line trains will run at 20-minute intervals between Branch Avenue and Greenbelt
- Delays up to 10 minutes are possible
St. Patrick's Day Parade in Manassas
Old Town Manassas will host its 14th annual Greater Manassas St. Patrick's Day Parade at 11 a.m. Saturday.
Parts of Quarry Road, Prescott Avenue, Center Street and West Street will be closed to travel during the parade. Follow the posted detour signs and police direction, if available.
Those who are driving to the event should use the city's municipal parking lots located on Prince William Street, near Osborn High School, City Hall, and on Church Street.
The parade features the U.S. Marine Corps Base Quantico Color Guard, local elected officials, Prince William County law enforcement, American Legion Post 10, the Washington Scottish Pipe and Drum and many other local groups.
Road work ahead
Road work is not expected to have a major impact on travel this weekend.
On Friday night, the eastbound Dulles Airport Access Highway will be closed between Dulles Airport and the Main Toll Plaza in Tysons Corner for work related to Metro's Silver Line extension. The main lanes on the Dulles Toll Road will remain open. Late night air travelers who are driving away from the airport on Route 267 are expected to pay the $1.75 toll at the main toll plaza. The work starts at midnight and lasts until 5 a.m. Saturday.
The I-95/I-395 HOV lanes will be closed again this weekend between Dumfries and Duke Street for construction. Despite a few single-lane closures in the mainline along this stretch, delays are not expected as the work will not begin until well after the Friday evening rush winds down.
On Saturday morning work crews may block up to two lanes at a time on the outer loop of the Beltway in Maryland between I-95 and New Hampshire Avenue. The work is scheduled to take place between 5 a.m. and 9 a.m.
Highway crews are scheduled to inspect the Muddy Branch Road overpass above Interstate 270. On Wednesday, a dump truck struck an overhead sign on the bridge. Crews will block various lanes on southbound I-270 underneath Muddy Branch Road through noon Saturday. This work is not expected to cause delays.
In Northeast Washington, the recurring work zone on New York Avenue will again reduce traffic to a single travel lane each way east of Florida Avenue. The work is slated to last until 1 p.m. Saturday. Delays normally build shortly before noon on inbound New York Avenue and last until the work zone clears.
St. Patrick's Day 8-K Race in Washington D.C.
The St. Patrick's Day 8-K Race will take place on Sunday morning in downtown Washington. Streets will begin closing around 5 a.m.
A stretch of Pennsylvania Avenue will be closed between Freedom Plaza and the U.S. Capitol. Portions of Constitution Avenue, Louisiana Avenue, D Street, 1st Street NW, 3rd Street NW and Independence Avenue near the Capitol will also be blocked. The numbered streets that cross Pennsylvania Avenue near Federal Triangle will also be affected.
All streets should be open by 1 p.m.
Posted on: Saturday 3/2/2013 10:54pm
WASHINGTON - Weekenders will enjoy a smooth trip on most of the roadways around the Nation's Capital this weekend but track work will slow Metro riders on four of the system's five rail lines. The scheduled work zones will affect travel on the Red, Orange, Yellow and Blue lines.
The rail improvements may affect Metro customers with itineraries at Reagan National Airport. The Metro station at Reagan will be closed. Trains will not operate between the Crystal City and Braddock Road stations on the Blue and Yellow lines between 10 p.m. Friday through system closing Sunday night.
Two types of shuttle buses will be available outside the Crystal City and Braddock Road stations. Express buses will route passengers directly between the two stations. Air travelers should look for local buses that will stop at National Airport. Rail customers with outbound flight plans should add at least 15 minutes to their estimated travel time.
On the Red Line, scheduled maintenance will close the Rhode Island Avenue, Brookland and Fort Totten stations. Free buses will operate in place of trains between NoMa-Gallaudet and Takoma. WMATA says delays of up to 40 minutes are possible.
Orange Line trains will share tracks between East Falls Church and West Falls Church and between Stadium-Armory and Cheverly this weekend.
Weekend Metro construction begins Friday at 10 p.m. and continues through system closing Sunday.
- Rhode Island Avenue, Brookland and Fort Totten stations will be closed.
- Red Line trains will only operate between Glenmont and Takoma, and between NoMa-Gallaudet and Shady Grove.
- Free shuttle buses will replace Red Line trains between NoMa-Gallaudet and Takoma.
- WMATA advises that anyone using shuttle buses should add 40 minutes to their trip.
- The Reagan National Airport station will be closed.
- Blue Line trains will only operate between Crystal City and Largo Town Center, and between Braddock Road and Franconia-Springfield.
- Free shuttle buses will replace Blue Line trains between Crystal City and Braddock Road.
- Anyone using shuttle buses should add a minimum of 15 minutes to their trip.
- The closure of the Reagan National Airport station will affect Yellow Line travel.
- Free shuttle buses will replace Yellow Line trains between Crystal City and Braddock Road.
- Yellow Line trains will only operate between Crystal City and Mt. Vernon Square, and between Braddock Road and Huntington.
- Anyone using shuttle buses should add a minimum of 15 minutes to their trip.
- Orange Line trains will single track between East Falls Church and West Falls Church, and between Stadium-Armory and Cheverly.
- Orange Line delays will be at least 15 minutes.
Suffrage Centennial Celebration
Beginning Sunday at 9 a.m., participants will gather at the U.S. Capitol for the Women's Suffrage March re-enactment.
The 3.1-mile parade route will begin at the Capitol and continue along Pennsylvania Avenue to the grounds of the Washington Monument, where closing remarks will take place.
Posted on: Wednesday 2/27/2013 4:32pm
Amy Freedman, wtop.com
WASHINGTON - Traveling to or beyond Richmond this weekend will require flexibility and patience.
A two-mile stretch of Interstate 95 southbound through downtown Richmond between Boulevard (mile marker 78) and North Belvidere Street (mile marker 76) will be closed from 8 p.m. Friday, March 1 until 6 a.m. Monday, March 4. Traffic on I-95. which shares the road with I-64 in that stretch, will run two ways on the northbound side with one lane available in each direction.
Northbound and southbound traffic on I-95, which shares the road with I-64 in that stretch, will each have only one lane available.
The Virginia Department of Transportation is in the middle of replacing 11 bridges along that stretch of I-95. The work has routinely closed lanes at night but crews will need two full weekends to replace a bridge over Overbrook Road.
Similar lane closures are planned for next weekend as well.
Interstate 295 presents an excellent and easy alternative to get around Richmond. Heading southbound you can access this workaround north of Richmond and eventually meet back with I-95 south of Petersburg and I-85.
The additional bonus to this route is the avoidance of the infamous speed traps almost always present in Colonial Heights and Petersburg. However, before you are lulled into complacency by a heavy foot, note that another well known speed trap exists on I-295 in Hopewell.
Also be aware that many others will be using this workaround so there could be volume delays on I-295. At least, if you are caught in volume delays you will be less likely to be caught in Hopewell!
Posted on: Saturday 2/23/2013 11:49pm
Dave Dildine, wtop.com
WASHINGTON - There will be a few work zones worth avoiding on parts of the Metrorail system this weekend.
Riders on the Orange Line will face a detour as crews work to join the Silver Line tracks to the Metrorail system in Falls Church.
Road construction should not cause any major disruptions to travel. The various projects scheduled along parts of Interstate 95, the Capital Beltway, Interstate 270 and New York Avenue in Northeast D.C. will occur during the overnight and morning hours. In Southeast D.C., demolition work is scheduled on Sunday near the 11th Street Bridge. A short stretch of M Street is expected to be blocked near the Navy Yard.
Wet weather may hinder work crews Saturday. Drivers should prepare for slippery conditions and road spray, especially south and east of Washington.
On Metro, detours and delays
Metro riders who use the Orange Line this weekend in Virginia should expect delays.
The Dulles Corridor Metrorail Project continues construction of the Silver Line. There will be no rail service between Ballston and Vienna.
There will also be two work zones on the Red Line this weekend. Metro cancelled its previously scheduled testing of railcars along the Green Line this weekend. The Blue and Yellow lines are expected to run at normal intervals.
- Free shuttle buses replace trains on the Orange Line between Vienna and Ballston.
- Vienna, Dunn Loring, West Falls Church and East Falls Church stations will be closed.
- Work begins on Friday at 10 p.m. and lasts through system closing Sunday.
- Express buses will connect riders directly between Vienna and Ballston. Delays up to 25 minutes are possible.
- Local buses will ferry customers to each of the four closed stations. Delays up to 50 minutes are possible.
- Single tracking between Friendship Heights and Van Ness.
- Single tracking between Takoma and Rhode Island Avenue.
- Riders traveling through either work zone should expect delays of up to 20 minutes.
- Red Line trains will operate at maximum of 24 minute intervals, with increased service during the daytime hours downtown.
Road work ahead, weather permitting
Crews plan to work on a guardrail along I-270 between Clopper Road and Route 118 in Germantown if the weather cooperates. Crews may block up to two lanes either way at times throughout the day. Delays are not expected to result from this work.
Bridge inspection on I-270 under Route 28 in Rockville is scheduled on Sunday from 5 a.m. until noon. Up to two northbound lanes may be closed during this time.
Saturday night repair work on the Beltway is scheduled to block the express lanes ramps to and from Gallows Road. The repair work will last until 8 a.m. Sunday.
Monthly maintenance testing of the Woodrow Wilson Memorial Bridge is scheduled for this Sunday morning, Feb. 24, from 5 a.m. through 8 a.m. The bridge will be fully open much of that time and traffic will not be able to get by.
M Street and bridge demolition
On Sunday, a portion of M Street Southeast will be blocked for demolition of the old inbound span of the 11th Street Bridge. The work is scheduled to take place between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. Most of the old bridge has already been dismantled but the defunct abutments remain exposed on the western edge of the Anacostia River, south of M Street.
The demolition will require crews to block the off-ramp from the current inbound 11th Street Bridge to M Street. Travelers headed to Navy Yard should exit onto 8th Street SE instead. The main bridge will remain open but the inbound side of the smaller Local 11th Street Bridge between Anacostia and Navy Yard will be closed.
Posted on: Friday 2/22/2013 5:30pm
WASHINGTON - A Metrobus collided with a car closing off access from Interstate 66 to the Dulles Toll Road at the start of the Friday evening rush.
Access to Route 267/Dulles Toll Road was blocked for almost two hours. Police reopened the left lane leading to Route 267 about 5:50 p.m.
Four people were taken to the hospital with non-life threatening injuries after the 4:10 p.m. wreck, Virginia State Police say.
Police say the bus hit a Mitsubishi sedan in the westbound lanes of I-66 at Route 267/Dulles Toll Road. The bus stopped off the road, against a guard rail.
More than 30 people were on the bus at the time and two passengers were taken by ambulance to Reston Hospital. The bus driver and the driver of the Mitsubishi were also taken to Reston Hospital, police say.
Another Metrobus picked up the remaining uninjured passengers about 5 p.m.