Big year ahead for road, rail

2011 will bring mile­stones — and trav­eler de­lays — as ma­jor trans­porta­tion projects make progress

The Washington Post Sunday - - COMMUTER - BY ROBERT THOM­SON AND MARK BERMAN thom­sonr@wash­ bermanm@wash­

Govern­ment rev­enue prob­lems have damp­ened spend­ing on trans­porta­tion im­prove­ments in the D.C. re­gion, yet some of the biggest road and rail projects in the nation will reach sig­nif­i­cant mile­stones in 2011, or at least have ma­jor ef­fects on com­mut­ing pat­terns as their con­struc­tion con­tin­ues this year. We’ll re­visit some of them in more de­tail as the new year de­vel­ops. 11th Street Bridge: The new bridge ris­ing in the Ana­cos­tia River is the District’s biggest trans­porta­tion project, and sev­eral im­por­tant de­vel­op­ments are sched­uled for 2011. This spring, a new seg­ment of south­bound D.C. 295 should open. Then in the fall, the two new free­way spans un­der con­struc­tion be­tween the old bridge spans should be com­pleted. A lit­tle over a year later, the new lo­cal span is sched­uled to be done. In­ter­coun­tyCon­nec­tor: The con­nec­tor high­way also made the list for 2010, be­cause project man­agers had hoped to open the first seg­ment ofMD200 in the fall. But af­ter half a cen­tury of on-and-off plan­ning and con­struc­tion, what’s an­other short wait? We’re pretty con­fi­dent that driv­ers soon will be pay­ing the tolls to use the con­nec­tor be­tween I-270/370 and Ge­or­gia Av­enue. Belt­way HOT lanes: By spring, lanes on the Cap­i­tal Belt­way from Brad­dock to Gal­lows roads are sched­uled to shift right, al­low­ing work to be­gin on new lanes in the mid­dle of the high­way. These mid­dle lanes will be­come the High Oc­cu­pancy Toll lanes when the project is done in late 2012. Later this year, more new bridge spans will open at the Belt­way in­ter­changes. Dulles Metro­rail: Driv­ers will en­counter ma­jor de­tours on In­ter­state 66, the Dulles Toll Road and side roads that in­ter­sect with Routes 7 and 123 in Tysons Corner. Most of these will oc­cur overnight, but com­muters should ex­pect to see lane closings and con­ges­tion through­out 2011. Some Metro­rail ser­vice dis­rup­tions will oc­cur at the East and West Falls Church sta­tions as work con­tin­ues on con­nect­ing the new line to the Orange Line. The first phase of con­struc­tion to Re­ston is sched­uled to be done in 2013. I-66 West: The widen­ing of the west­bound in­ter­state in­side the Belt­way for two miles be­tween Fair­fax Drive and Sy­camore Street is sched­uled to be done by the end of the year. This is the first of the “ spot im­prove­ments” wel­comed by long-dis­tance com­muters but un­pop­u­lar in Ar­ling­ton County. Tele­graph Road in­ter­change: The fi­nal part of the Woodrow Wil­son Bridge project, this con­struc­tion will nar­row north­bound Tele­graph Road to one lane be­tween the ramp to the in­ner loop of the Belt­way and Per­sh­ing Av­enue un­til sum­mer 2012. The con­nec­tion from Per­sh­ing to north­bound Tele­graph Road will be closed, and cars will be de­toured via Eisen­hower Av­enue andHol­land Lane. Gainesville in­ter­change: Work is al­ready un­der­way at Route 29 and Lin­ton Hall Road. De­tour roads should be in place by the sum­mer so that con­struc­tion can be­gin on the in­ter­change that will elim­i­nate the at-grade rail­road cross­ing. The en­tire project, in­tended to re­lieve con­ges­tion at a long-stand­ing bot­tle­neck, is sched­uled to be done by the end of 2014. Fair­fax Park­way in­ter­change: This sum­mer, a six-month de­tour for Fair Lakes Park­way traf­fic is sched­uled to be­gin as part of the Fair­fax County Park­way in­ter­change project. In Novem­ber, county park­way traf­fic will be shifted to new north­bound and south­bound ramps to al­low for the re­con­struc­tion of the park­way over Fair Lakes Park­way and Mon­u­ment Drive. The project is sched­uled to be done by the end of 2013. I-66 pave­ment: This spring, work will be­gin on fix­ing one of the worst stretches of high­way pave­ment in the re­gion, along I-66 from the Belt­way to Route 50 in Fair­fax County. All work will be done be­tween 9 p.m. and 5 a.m. to min­i­mize im­pact on traf­fic. The project will con­tinue through 2012. New York Av­enue: The re­build­ing of the bridge over the rail­road tracks north ofUnion Sta­tion was de­layed dur­ing 2010, but it’s get­ting un­der­way now and will con­tinue into 2013. In the first phase, through the win­ter and spring and into the sum­mer, one of the six lanes along this half-mile stretch of New York Av­enue will be taken away by con­struc­tion. At rush hours, there will be three lanes in the peak di­rec­tion and two in the other di­rec­tion. Start­ing in the sum­mer, two lanes will be taken away for about two years. This will leave two lanes open in each di­rec­tion, and project man­agers think it will re­sult in traf­fic de­lays of 15 to 30 min­utes. Metro track work: Work con­tin­ues this year on the long-term rehabilitation of the Red Line, among other main­te­nance projects. The most sig­nif­i­cant im­pacts on rid­ers are most likely to oc­cur over the long hol­i­day week­ends. The tran­sit author­ity will pile work into those pe­ri­ods of lower rid­er­ship. The first such project is sched­uled for the Martin Luther King Jr. Day week­end, Jan. 14 through Jan. 17. There will be no ser­vice be­tween Ross­lyn and Far­ragut West on the Blue and Orange lines that week­end. Glen­mont garage: Con­struc­tion of a 1,200-space Metro park­ing garage is sched­uled to be­gin this month and last un­til early 2012. It will even­tu­ally in­crease the num­ber of avail­able spa­ces at the Red Line sta­tion to about 3,000. 14th Street Bridge: The rehabilitation project that has re­quired lane closings and lane shifts on the north­bound span since it be­gan in spring 2009 is sched­uled to end this fall.


The con­crete pil­ings of the new 11th Street Bridge rise out of the Ana­cos­tia River. Two new free­way spans are sched­uled to open in the fall.


Work con­tin­ues on the tun­nel that will carry a newMetro line through Tysons Corner on its way to Dulles Air­port.

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