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Drivers hit summer slowdown as construction crews go to work

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Photo - Andrew Harnik/Examiner
 
Traffic makes its way through road construction along P Street at Dupont Circle in Northwest. The District would be the last jurisdiction in the nation to
increase
penalties for drivers who disobey traffic laws in work zones
under
legislation unanimously adopted Tuesday by a D.C. Council
committee.
Ward 1 Council Member Jim Graham, chair of the public works
and
environment committee, introduced the bill in February to
further
address the problem of speeding, particularly along busy city
commuter
corridors. The District has seen a steady decrease in work
zone
crashes in recent years: 398 in 2004, 311 in 2005 and 286 last year. In Washington, DC on Tuesday September 25, 2007.
Andrew Harnik/Examiner Traffic makes its way through road construction along P Street at Dupont Circle in Northwest. The District would be the last jurisdiction in the nation to increase penalties for drivers who disobey traffic laws in work zones under legislation unanimously adopted Tuesday by a D.C. Council committee. Ward 1 Council Member Jim Graham, chair of the public works and environment committee, introduced the bill in February to further address the problem of speeding, particularly along busy city commuter corridors. The District has seen a steady decrease in work zone crashes in recent years: 398 in 2004, 311 in 2005 and 286 last year. In Washington, DC on Tuesday September 25, 2007.
Local,Transportation,Liz Essley,Metro and Traffic

Drivers, get ready for summer stop-and-go.

That's the message from Washington-area transportation agencies as they roll out their construction crews for the intense road work possible only in the summer, when temperatures are high enough and rain rare enough to let them to put down lots of pavement.

"We have a lot of projects going on, especially down in your area, the Washington suburbs," said Maryland State Highway Administration spokesman Charlie Gischlar. "You'll start to see the construction cones going up."

Need info on road delays? Here are your options:
Twitter
Maryland: @MDSHA, @MD511State
Virginia: @VaDOT, @I95VA, @511northernva
D.C.: @DDOTDC, @NYAve411
Web
Maryland: md511.org, roads.maryland.gov
Virginia: 511virginia.org, virginiadot.org
D.C.: ddot.dc.gov, godcgo.com
Phone
Maryland or Virginia: call 511
D.C.: call 311
Major local road delays to look out for:
Maryland
MD 650/New Hampshire Avenue, bridge over Sligo Creek Parkway
Lane shifts, day and night.
MD-355 and MD-185 at Jones Bridge Road
Work and delays near the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center.
MD-193/University Boulevard, bridge over the Beltway
Lane closures as crews repair the bridge deck.
Beltway/I-495/I-95
Nighttime lane closures between Glenarden Parkway to U.S. 50, and D'arcy Road to Arena Drive.
Virginia
I-95, from D.C. to Stafford County
Lane closures, day and night, and some full weekend closures.
Route 50 at 10th Street and Courthouse in Arlington
Detours, lane closures.
Fairfax County Parkway interchange with Fair Lakes Parkway
Nightly lane closures through July for paving.
Route 50 at the Fairfax/Loudoun county line
Lane closures midday and some overnight.
Route 7 in Reston/Herndon area
Lane closures as crews widen the road.
D.C.
U.S. 50/New York Avenue bridge
Lane closures, some full bridge closures as crews rehabilitate bridge.
First Street NE, Union Station to M Street NE
Street will be one-way, southbound for a year.
M Street NW, Thomas Circle to Georgetown
Street work as crews install a bike lane.
11th Street Bridge area
Ongoing delays as crews continue to work on new bridges.

Travelers trying to get out of town should watch out for road work on major highways in the area, especially Interstate 95 in Virginia, from D.C. to Stafford County. Officials there are warning that work on the new tolled express lanes will be in full force after Memorial Day, with crews closing lanes midday and overnight, as well as closing the HOV lanes for entire weekends or overnight. Construction could shut down entire sections of the highway some nights as workers lift steel girders above the road.

"To keep the more than $1.5 billion worth of transportation improvement projects underway along I-395/95 in Northern Virginia on schedule, VDOT and its contractors and partners will be intensifying construction efforts this summer," said John Lynch, a Virginia Department of Transportation planner. "We are working hard to minimize impacts to the traveling public. However, lane closures on 95 are unavoidable during certain times."

Drivers also can expect to see overnight delays on the Maryland section of I-95 north of the Beltway as crews build a new interchange for Contee Road in Laurel, as well as resurface pavement in two places in the Prince George's County section of the Beltway/I-95, from Glenarden Parkway to U.S. 50 and from D'Arcy Road to Arena Drive.

"The Beltway never sleeps down there," Gischlar said.

Travelers trying to take U.S. 50 out to the Eastern Shore for weekend beach trips also should keep construction in mind, officials said. In D.C., crews will continue to work on restoring the New York Avenue bridge that carries U.S. 50, shutting it down entirely some weekends and narrowing it to one lane on others. And Maryland crews will be closing lanes and ramps on U.S. 50 overnight at U.S. 301

as they put new asphalt down.

The bottom line, transportation experts say, is expect traffic, and adjust plans accordingly.

"It's going to be delayed driving this summer," said AAA Mid-Atlantic's John Townsend. "No part of the Washington metro area is going to be untouched by road crews, so you have to plan ahead."

lessley@washingtonexaminer.com

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