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.
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Posted on: Friday 12/6/2013 3:45pm
WASHINGTON - Sudden gridlock is common near the White House when motorcades are afoot. This time, the congestion comes with some advanced notice.
The National Christmas Tree Lighting ceremony and concert on the Ellipse begins at 5 p.m. during the Friday afternoon rush hour. Organizers say it will take place rain or shine.
In years past, the closure of the streets of either side of the Ellipse -- 15th and 17th streets -- left many downtown commuters sitting in bumper-to-bumper traffic.
WTOP veteran traffic reporter Bob Marbourg says it would probably payoff to plan on "going into work-around mode."
"If you know something is going to be there, you have the opportunity to rethink your route and go for the end-run around it," Marbourg says.
D.C. police tweeted out a list of street closures early Friday for advance planning:
NATIONAL CHRISTMAS TREE LIGHTING CEREMONY TRAFFIC ADVISORY **ATTACHED** PAGE (1) pic.twitter.com/zfJdMhjjQR— DC Police Department (@DCPoliceDept) December 6, 2013
Jim Battagliese, Director of Traffic and Weather at WTOP, offers this advice:
"If you're trying to get out of town, the best way to go is away from the White House. Whichever side of the White House you're on, head the opposite direction. If you're on the west side, exit to the west. If you're on the east side, exit to the east."
Heading south from K Street on either 19th Street or 9th Street will probably get you around the event. The problem with that route is that everyone else will think of that. The challenge will be to outthink the competition ahead of time. Forewarned is forearmed.
WMATA also says more than two dozen downtown Metro bus routes will be affected by the street closures. Metro officials are also expecting the downtown Metro stations, including Farragut North, to be extra crowded. Click here for a full list.
Stay with WTOP for all the latest on road and traffic conditions.
Posted on: Sunday 12/1/2013 5:57pm
WASHINGTON - Drivers headed home from the long holiday weekend were plagued with major delays on Interstate 95 in Virginia on Sunday, due to a series of accidents in Prince William County.
Four separate wrecks occurred in the 2-mile stretch of the interstate's southbound lanes, between the Prince William Parkway and Dale Boulevard between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. Each crash occurred in the fast lanes of I-95 and the responders to each incident forced traffic to use a single right lane from late morning until mid- afternoon.
At its height, the backup on I-95 extended from near the Telegraph Road interchange on the Beltway into Woodbridge -- nearly 19 miles of bumper-to-bumper traffic.
Interstate 95 is in high demand this time of the year and delays are common on the Sunday after Thanksgiving, says Jim Battagliese, director of traffic and weather at WTOP.
"The Sunday problem is simple. People try to stay with their family as long as possible after Thanksgiving and leave Sunday, since most need to be back to work or school on Monday. There's not as much flexibility going home as there is in leaving," Battagliese says.
The mishaps on I-95 only affected the southbound drivers headed toward Fredericksburg and Richmond. Northbound travelers experienced volume delays through Caroline, Spotsylvania and Stafford counties.
The High Occupancy Vehicle lanes, or express lanes, were oriented northbound and were not available to southbound drivers.
Corinne Geller, with Virginia State Police, explains that as traffic gets heavier, patience and stopping-distance wanes.
"When you've got heavy traffic, anytime you have one crash, you can have chain reaction crashes," Geller says.
When one incident clears, Geller says some drivers lurch forward to get ahead of the pack. If conditions are right, one crash can lead to another.
"People are suddenly putting their brakes on and folks simply don't have enough space between them and the vehicle in front of them," she says.
"We've had additional state troopers working throughout the holiday weekend to make sure that if we do have crashes like what happened on I-95 today we can get the resources deployed as quickly as possible."
All lanes reopened to traffic on southbound I-95 around 3:30 p.m. When the final accident in the series was cleared from the roadway, the heavy traffic surged downstream through Marine Corps Base Quantico and Stafford County.
The WTOP Traffic Center fielded many calls from frustrated motorists during the ordeal. A caller named Ralph was stuck in the delay and was nearing the final stretch of his trip in southern Stafford County.
"It's brutal. I haven't moved in over 10 minutes," the caller said.
Posted on: Monday 11/25/2013 9:51pm
WASHINGTON - Research has found that gratitude as a mindful practice can offer many health benefits.
The Health Benefits
- Physical and emotional well being
- Gratitude group experienced less stress and depression
- Improves your ability to cope with stress
- It is physiological impossible to experience stress and gratitude simultaneously
- Grateful people are more optimistic and optimism boosts your immune system
- Gratitude "resets your thermostat and you instantly focus on what is important in your life"
- You produce healing hormones into the body that restores peace, love and balance
Begin a Gratitude Practice Today
- Waking up: Open your eyes, take a deep breath and be thankful for your body and the healing sleep you received
- Set Your Alarm: Set your alarm on your smart phone three times a day and when the alarm goes off, smile and say something you are grateful for
- Meals: Be grateful for your food, the people and work it took to bring it to your table
- Other people in your life: Tell others that you are grateful for them in your life and why you are grateful for their gifts they bring into your life
- Office: At weekly staff meetings begin the meetings by going around to each person and each tells what they are grateful for in their lives that week
- Bedtime: Close your eyes, take a deep breath, smile and say "Thank you for this day of my life, my family, friends, the people at work. Thank you for my health. Thank you for my prosperity."
Teach Your Children Gratitude
- Gratitude Journal: Teach your children to keep a gratitude journal and have them write three things they are grateful each day
- Before Meals: Teach your children to be thankful for their food, the people who labored to bring the food to their mouths. Grateful to the animals that gave their lives for their life
- Lunch Napkins: Hand write "Thank You" on your child's lunch napkin when you pack their lunch
- Bedtime: Before bed have your children give thanks for their day and specific things that happened
Listen as Kathleen Hall talks about how to become more grateful in your life:
Posted on: Thursday 11/21/2013 4:54pm
WASHINGTON -- Have you heard of the term "backtracking" when it comes to the Dulles Access Highway? If not, you are not alone. That's why police are working to get the message out about "backtracking" and its consequences.
Those who use the Dulles Access Highway instead of the Dulles Toll Road -- even if they're not going to the airport -- be warned. There is beefed up police presence on the road.
"We put out a press release and put it on social media to make the public aware," says Stephen Holl, police chief for the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority. "Backtracking is our one word label for people who are using the Dulles Airport Access Highway without conducting official business at the airport."
Holl says the access road was set up for airport users only, while the toll road was built for local traffic.
Drivers who are caught using the access road despite not heading to the airport will face fines that begin at $92 and three points on their license.
"We generally write out about a thousand of these violations a year," Holl says.
The fines go to the county in which the ticket was written -- Fairfax or Loudoun. Meanwhile, the tolls help fund construction of the Metro Silver Line as well as the operation and maintenance of the toll road and the access road.
Posted on: Tuesday 11/19/2013 8:12am
UPDATE: Tuesday - 11/19/2013, 7:52 am
Amtrak has reopened the railroad. Delays persist.
UPDATE: Tuesday - 11/19/2013, 7:40 am
WASHINGTON - Amtrak is temporarily suspending service between Baltimore and Washington as a crane tows a disabled train from the Baltimore and Potomac Tunnel.
Riders of the Penn Line on MARC should expect 30- to 60 minute delays.
Metro is honoring MARC tickets.
UPDATE: Monday - 11/18/2013, 9:27pm ET
WASHINGTON - MARC and Amtrak report that rail service has resumed between Washington and Baltimore both northbound and southbound.
Amtrak trains are single-tracking in the Baltimore area and delays are expected through the evening.
The passengers on the disabled train returned to the Baltimore Penn Station shortly after 9 p.m.
MARC train No. 548 left Washington on time. However MARC trains 446, 448 and 451 were cancelled.
EARLIER: Monday - 11/18/2013, 8:32pm ET
WASHINGTON - An Amtrak train carrying passengers derailed in a tunnel south of Baltimore Monday evening halting rail traffic along the busy Northeast Corridor.
None of the 158 passengers was hurt in the incident. However the derailment caused delays for MARC riders.
The Amtrak train was heading south when the lead wheels of the locomotive came off the rails about 7 p.m. All passenger cars remained upright and on the tracks, according to Amtrak.
The disabled train remained inside the B&P Tunnel in Baltimore.
A rescue locomotive has been sent to bring the passengers to Baltimore Penn Station.
The disabled train also halted travel on the MARC Penn Line. MARC announced after 8 p.m. that buses were on their way to the BWI station to transfer passengers.
Posted on: Friday 11/15/2013 6:54pm
WASHINGTON - Motorists can expect another weekend with lane closures along Interstates 95 and 395 in Virginia but many Metro riders will also have a longer trip across the Potomac.
No Yellow Line trains will run this weekend. However a shuttle train will take riders between Huntington and Braddock Road.
Riders coming from Huntington toward the District should connect to the Blue Line at Braddock Road. Riders who would normally take the Yellow Line to Virginia from Downtown D.C. should give themselves extra travel time, and take the Blue Line toward Franconia-Springfield.
A stretch of the Green Line will also be shut down between 10 p.m. Friday and closing on Sunday. Buses will run between Archives, L'Enfant Plaza, Waterfront and Navy Yard stations.
On the Green Line, trains will run every 10 minutes between Greenbelt and Archives during daytime hours, and every 12 to 15 minutes between Branch Avenue and Navy Yard. The trains will run less often at night. L'Enfant Plaza will be open for Blue and Orange line trains only.
Orange Line trains will be running every 20 minutes all weekend because of single-tracking near Minnesota Avenue and Deanwood.
Red Line trains will run every 16 minutes this weekend because of track work between Dupont Circle and Van Ness. Extra trains will run during the day between Farragut North and Silver Spring only.
The Blue Line is scheduled to have normal weekend service.
Virginia Road Work
The I-95/395 HOV lanes will close from Friday night through Sunday afternoon.
There are also a number of other lane closures along I-95 in Northern Virginia this weekend for the Express Lanes construction and most will take place from 11 p.m. to 9 a.m.
On Interstate 66, overnight construction tied to the Silver Line will close two lanes in each direction near the Dulles Connector Road. The lane closures will continue overnight during the week.
Other Silver Line-related closures will block lanes on the Dulles Toll Road, Dulles Connector Road and local roads in Tysons Corner.
Maryland Road Work
Sunday morning, the State Highway Administration says two lanes will be shut down on I-95 South at Old Gunpowder Road (just south of the Inter-County Connector). Crews will be inspecting the overpass between 5 and 11:30 a.m.
Further north on I-95 in Maryland, watch out for overnight construction Sunday night that will close two lanes in each direction at the Baltimore/Howard county line.
Overnight road work continues on the Beltway in Prince George's County. The State Highway Administration says there will be lane closures on both the Inner and Outer loops between D'Arcy Road and Arena Drive.
Beginning Monday night, crews are scheduled to close lanes overnight on Georgia Avenue in Silver Spring. The pavement patching project is scheduled to last into late December.
DC Road Work
Sunday afternoon, DDOT plans to close 8th Street SE between Virginia Avenue and I St SE. The closure between noon and 6 p.m. will allow contractors to work on a new ramp from 8th Street to Interstate 695.
Constitution Avenue between 14th and 15th streets will be closed to traffic and pedestrians from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sunday so cranes can place a prison tower and rail car onto the site of the future Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture, which is currently under construction.
Posted on: Thursday 11/14/2013 1:17pm
WASHINGTON - A portion of Canal Road in the District will be closed to traffic next week.
The midday closure between Arizona Avenue and Foxhall Road begins Tuesday, Nov. 19 and lasts through Thursday, Nov. 21.
The stretch of road will be closed from 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. each day for curb and shoulder work, according to the D.C. Department of Transportation.
Detour signs will be posted.
Drivers leaving the District should take Foxhall Road to MacArthur Boulevard to Arizona Avenue and back to Canal Road.
Drivers entering the District should take Arizona Avenue to MacArthur Boulevard to Foxhall Road and back to Canal.
Posted on: Thursday 11/14/2013 9:17am
WASHINGTON - A crash involving a two-vehicle pile-up caused delays on northbound I-395 in Virginia Thursday morning.
The crash, which ended with a vehicle coming to rest on top of a Corvette sports car, happened on northbound I-395 before Seminary Road at about 9 a.m. Only the right lane was open to traffic following the crash, but all lanes reopened to traffic by about 9:40 a.m.
It is not yet clear if anyone sustained injuries the crash. Authorities have not yet said what caused the crash.
Posted on: Monday 11/11/2013 4:11am
WASHINGTON -- Veterans Day weekend means an early getaway for some federal workers trying to get a jump on the long weekend, but it does not mean a reprieve from traffic and transit issues, as Metro shuts down Red Line stations for three days.
Expect motorcades and large crowds around the National Mall, Arlington National Cemetery and other memorials this weekend for Veterans Day ceremonies.
The official wreath-laying ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery's Tomb of the Unknown Soldier is scheduled for 11 a.m. Monday at the Memorial Amphitheater.
Roads in downtown Manassas will be closed Saturday morning for the Veterans Day Parade at 11 a.m.
On Sunday, the Town of La Plata holds a "Salute to Veterans" parade. It begins at 1 p.m at the courthouse on Charles Street.
On Monday, some streets will be closed around the Fredericksburg Area War Memorial Park for a Veterans Day commemoration at 10:15 a.m. organized by the Fredericksburg Area Veterans Council and WarFighters Motorcycle Club.
With numerous events across the area, expect loud flyovers from military aircraft over the entire three-day weekend.
Sunday morning, the Veterans Day 10K & Fun Walk in D.C. will close Ohio Drive from just south of the Lincoln Memorial and Independence Avenue down past Hains Point. Drivers should still be able to access the East Potomac Tennis Center and the golf course via Maine Avenue or the 14th Street Bridge.
Metro will shut down part of the Red Line this weekend for track work, while the Blue, Orange and Yellow lines operate with reduced service. From 10 p.m. Friday through close of business Monday, buses replace trains between Shady Grove and White Flint. Shady Grove, Rockville and Twinbrook stations are closed.
Trains will run every 20 minutes -- including Monday -- on the Blue, Orange and Yellow lines. Yellow Line trains will only run between Huntington and Mt. Vernon Square. There will be some additional Orange Line trains during rush hour on Monday.
With fewer trains, visitors to the National Mall who are able to may want to consider walking over to Arlington Cemetery from the Lincoln Memorial or Vietnam Veterans Memorial.
The I-95/395 HOV lanes in Virginia will be closed from Friday night until 2 p.m. Sunday.
Two lanes will be closed in each direction on I-95 between the Prince William Parkway and the Beltway from 9 p.m. Friday to 9 a.m Saturday. Expect other lane closures overnight on 95, 395 and other roads tied to the 95 Express Lanes construction project.
Drivers on I-66 will again face overnight lane closures near the Dulles Connector Road. Two lanes will be closed in each direction beginning at 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday nights. Some of the closures may not be lifted until 9 a.m. the next morning. There will be other lane closures tied to Silver Line construction, but they should have less of an impact. The overnight closures will continue all next week.
For drivers headed to BWI Airport, there will be a detour this weekend on the Baltimore-Washington Parkway northbound. Maryland's State Highway Administration says the ramp to eastbound I-195 will be closed from 5 p.m. Saturday until 5 a.m. Monday.
In Montgomery County, expect lane closures on New Hampshire Avenue at Sligo Creek Parkway. The closures are overnight on weekends from 7 p.m. to 5 a.m., and during the day on weekdays between 5 a.m. and 3 p.m.
In Prince George's County, there are overnight lane closures on the Outer Loop between D'Arcy Road and Arena Drive.
In Frederick, Md., South Street will be closed between the ramp to eastbound I-70 and Monocacy Boulevard during the day on Saturday and Sunday. The SHA says the closure between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. will allow crews to paint the new bridges there. As a detour, drivers going southbound on South Street will use MD-85 to access I- 70 east, then take Exit 55 for South Street. Drivers heading northbound on South Street can use eastbound I-70 to Exit 56, then take MD-144 west to get back to Monocacy Boulevard.
Road work near Washington Circle will close part of the service road on K Street NW between 24th Streer and New Hampshire Avenue all weekend. It should not create major traffic issues, but could briefly slow drivers down on the way into Washington Circle.
George Washington University men's basketball tips off its regular season Friday night. A tailgate party will close 22nd Street NW between F Street and G Street until about 9 p.m.
Federal government offices and some public schools are closed Monday for Veterans Day.
HOV restrictions will not be in effect in Virginia or on I-270 in Maryland due to the federal holiday.
In D.C., reversible roads like Rock Creek Parkway and Connecticut Avenue will not switch into rush hour mode. The reversible lanes will operate like it is a weekend.
Metro weekend track work continues Monday, with buses replacing trains on the Red Line between Shady Grove and White Flint. Riders may want to consider using stations at the other end of the Red Line to reach downtown D.C. instead. The rail system will open at 5 a.m. and close at midnight Monday like a normal weekday, but trains will operate at Saturday intervals. With track work, that means every 20 minutes on the Blue, Orange and Yellow lines. There will be additional trains between Vienna and Stadium-Armory during rush hour.
Parking at Metro-owned lots and garages is free on Monday. All rail fares will be off-peak.
Metro buses will operate on a Saturday supplemental schedule. MetroAccess will operate on a regular schedule, but subscription trips will be cancelled.
There will be no MARC or VRE service Monday. VRE says there were not enough riders on Columbus Day to justify operations on so-called "soft" holidays when federal workers are off, but many private sector workers still have to go to the office.
Most Maryland commuter buses will not operate. Only Commuter Bus Route 201 will run on a weekend/holiday schedule.
In Montgomery County, RideOn buses will operate on a special modified holiday schedule. There is service on every route, but with fewer trips over the course of the day.
In Prince George's County, The Bus will operate normal weekday service, except for Routes 51, 51-Extended and 52 which serve county government buildings. Those routes will not run. The county para-transit service Call-A-Bus will not operate Monday.
In Arlington, ART buses will run a Saturday schedule on Routes 41, 42, 51, 77 and 87. No other ART routes will operate. STAR is closed, and all standing order rides are cancelled.
In Alexandria, DASH buses will run on a normal weekday schedule.
In Baltimore, MTA local buses, the Metro subway and the Light Rail will run regular weekday service.
All DC Department of Parks and Recreation aquatic facilities and rec centers are closed. All Arlington Community Centers are closed except for Arlington Mill (open 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.). Alexandria libraries and recreation centers are open on a regular schedule. Montgomery County libraries and senior centers are closed, but aquatic and community centers are open.
Veterans Day Parking
In D.C., parking meters, residential parking and rush hour lane restrictions will not be enforced.
Parking meters and permit parking will not be enforced Monday in Arlington or Alexandria.
Parking at public garages, lots and curbside meters is also free Monday in Montgomery County.
All parking decks and metered parking will be free Monday in Frederick, Md.
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Posted on: Wednesday 11/6/2013 1:44pm
WASHINGTON - A tractor-trailer leaked fuel onto the southbound lanes of Interstate 95 Wednesday morning, causing major delays for drivers.
The tractor-trailer leaked fuel from its 150-gallon fuel tank on southbound I-95 just past the Capital Beltway under Route 644/Old Keene Mill/Franconia Road at about 5:30 a.m. Emergency crews blocked several lanes of I-95 to traffic while they worked to clean the spill.
At one point, only one lane of traffic could pass on the left. All lanes reopened by about 9:20 a.m.
The tractor-trailer struck a jersey wall on southbound I-95, which ripped open its fuel tank, says Fairfax County Fire Department Deputy Chief Mike Reilly.
The driver of the tractor-trailer was not injured, Reilly adds.
Virginia State Police identified the driver as Davis S. Westbrooks of Richmond. He was charged with failure to obey highway markings.
The cause of the crash remains under investigation.