Weekend Road & Rail: Best times for Labor Day travel and a look ahead on I-66 and Metro


Here’s a look at long-term work changes on Interstate 66 and the best times to cross the Chesapeake Bay and Nice/Middleton bridges this Labor Day weekend.

No major roadwork is planned this weekend; there generally isn’t on long holiday weekends. So we’ll take a look at long-term work changes on Interstate 66 and the best times to cross the Chesapeake Bay and Nice/Middleton bridges. We’ll also take a look ahead at Metro’s bridge tunnel project.



Labor Day weekend tips

The Maryland Transportation Authority (MDTA) is recommending that Labor Day weekend motorists travel during off-peak to help minimize delays at the Chesapeake Bay Bridge and the Nice/Middleton Bridge.

Motorists traveling to and from the Eastern Shore may also save some time by taking the Interstate 95 northern route, over the Tydings Bridge.

The Bay Bridge. (Courtesy MDTA)

The MDTA estimates more than 350,000 vehicles will cross the Bay Bridge between Friday, Sept. 2, and Labor Day — Monday, Sept. 5. Motorists should expect delays at the bridge and along the U.S. 50 corridor, with heavier eastbound volumes through Saturday, Sept. 3. Heavier westbound volumes are likely Sunday and Monday.

Drivers are always advised to stay on U.S. 50 on both sides of the bridge, to keep local roadways open for first responders and residents.

The MDTA suggests the best times to travel the Bay Bridge this weekend are:

Friday, Sept. 2 — before 8 a.m. and after 9 p.m.

Saturday, Sept. 3 — before 8 a.m. and after 4 p.m.

Sunday, Sept. 4 — before 11 a.m. and after 9 p.m.

Labor Day Monday, Sept. 5 — before 9 a.m. and after 10 p.m.

Tuesday, Sept. 6 — before 7 a.m. and after 6 p.m.

Weather and traffic volumes permitting, the MDTA will use two-way operations to help alleviate eastbound delays at the bridge. Two-way operations are prohibited during bridge wind warnings/restrictions, fog or times of precipitation. Learn more about two-way operations here.

At the Harry W. Nice Memorial/Sen. Thomas “Mac” Middleton Bridge between Charles County, Maryland, and King George County, Virginia, more than 90,000 travelers are expected between Friday and Monday.

The MDTA suggests the best times to cross that bridge are:

Friday, Sept. 2 — before 11 a.m. and after 8 p.m.

Saturday, Sept. 3 — before 9 a.m. and after 6 p.m.

Sunday, Sept. 4 — before 11 a.m. and after 8 p.m.

After the weekend

The Maryland State Highway Administration said it will suspend major lane closures for nonemergency roadwork on major roads and interstates through Monday.

A paving project is scheduled to begin Tuesday, Sept. 6, along U.S. Route 1/Baltimore Avenue, north of Regents Drive in College Park.

Starting at about 8 p.m., crews will begin paving U.S. 1 from College Avenue/Regents Drive to the Campus Drive intersection. Single lanes will be closed evenings, Monday nights through Friday mornings, for about three weeks. Check their website for specific details as well as real-time traffic information.

Virginia roadwork

The Virginia Department of Transportation will suspend many highway work zones and lift most lane closures on interstates and other major roads between noon Friday, Sept. 2, and noon Tuesday, Sept. 6.

While lane closures will be lifted in most locations, semi-permanent work zones will remain in place. A full listing of those lane closures can be found on VDOT’s website.

As for the 66 Transform Outside the Beltway Project, the left travel lane on westbound I-66 between Manassas and Gainesville will be closed round-the-clock through Saturday, Sept. 10.

This work reduces westbound I-66 to three travel lanes from west of Route 234 Business (Sudley Road) near Groveton Road to Route 29 (Lee Highway) in Gainesville. There will be other lane closures in this area during the overnight hours.

This closure will allow crews to complete work for this section of roadway in preparation for the opening of the 66 Express Lanes Outside the Beltway later this year.

Metro

This will be the final weekend for the three-month closure of five Orange Line stations. Saturday through Monday, work will continue at the New Carrollton, Landover, Cheverly, Deanwood and Minnesota Avenue stations in preparation for reopening on Tuesday.

The stations were closed through the summer as part of the WMATA’s Platform Improvement Project.

CLICK IMAGE TO ENLARGE: Metro’s Platform Improvement Project wraps up this weekend. (Courtesy WMATA)

Metro will open at 7 a.m. this weekend, and close at 1 a.m. on Saturday and midnight on Sunday and Monday. Trains will operate normal service during daytime and evening hours.

Trains will operate on a Sunday schedule for Monday’s Labor Day holiday.

The full weekend schedule with service adjustments can be found on Metro’s website.

Metro encourages riders to begin travel planning for major construction on the Blue and Yellow lines, which will result in rail service changes this fall. Starting Sept. 10, work begins to fix the aging Yellow Line tunnel and bridge, adding critical improvements necessary to open the new Potomac Yard Station later this fall.

Between Sept. 10 and Oct. 22, six Blue and Yellow line stations south of Reagan National Airport Station will be closed to connect the Potomac Yard Station to the existing tracks. For more on that work, check WMATA’s project page.



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