Tuesday, June 08, 2004

STATE FUNERAL: Authorities Warn of Massive Traffic Gridlock in District

If you have a car, you're best to leave them home as Reagan-related funeral activities will close major avenues and commuter corridors in and around the District. Adding to the confusion is the secrecy of the motorcade route from Andrews Air Force base. According to The Washington Post, commuter alerts have been issued for the entire Mid-Atlantic to avoid the eastern arc of the Beltway in the vicinity of Andrews Air Force Base. This is all supposed to hit during Wednesday's evening rush hour.

The exact path for the funeral procession from Andrews Air Force Base in Prince George's County to the 1600 block of Constitution Avenue Northwest -- where Reagan's coffin will be transferred to a horse-drawn cassion -- will be keeping area commuters guessing. Expect the Beltway, Suitland Parkway, Anacostia Freeway and the South Capitol and 11th Street bridges to be affected directly or indirectly.

Here's what will be closed:
Constitution Avenue between the Roosevelt Bridge and the Capitol
12th Street tunnel between Constitution Avenue and I-395
Ninth Street tunnel between Constitution Avenue and I-395

Also, watch for closures around the Capitol, including Independence Avenue. And Pennsylvania Avenue will be shut down as well.

Inbound traffic on the Roosevelt Bridge will be diverted to the E Street Expressway

The I-395/Third Street/Center Leg tunnel beneath the Mall will remain open to traffic and will be one of the only north-south corridors across the Mall open. Expect traffic on the Whitehurst Freeway and M Street through the West End and Georgetown to be jam-packed, as the Key Bridge will be overloaded with Virginia bound-commuters.

(And we haven't even touched on the potential closures on Friday for the official state funeral service at the National Cathedral in Upper Northwest. That promises to affect a good chunk of the Northwest quadrant directly or indirectly.)

What about WMATA? Local authorities are encouraging commuters to take public transportation ... err, metrorail. Nowhere on the Washington Area Transit Authority's website is there any notice on how Reagan's funeral procession will disrupt buses that use Constitution Avenue or cut across the Mall or go near the Capitol, except that 20 metrobus routes will be rerouted causing "brief" delays. (There is information about shuttle buses from RFK Stadium to the Capitol for the public viewing in the Rotunda.) So if you're waiting for a 30-series bus to take you to Georgetown or take you uptown tomorrow evening, don't count on the buses to be anywhere near to schedule.

More information:
"Region Braces for Funeral Processions" [The Washington Post]
"Traffic and Security Information for Reagan Procession" [AP/WTOP]

The funeral route from Andrew's to D.C. has been released ... Suitland Parkway to I-295 to I-395 to the George Washington Parkway to the Memorial Bridge to Constitution Avenue ...
WMATA has posted a notice of metrobus detours for the funeral procession ...


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