The posted speed limit on Route 1 on a one-mile stretch between Huntington Avenue and Franklin Street will be lowered from 45 miles per hour down to 35 miles per hour this week. The reduced speed limit precedes major traffic shifts coming this winter, which are necessary to continue building a new Route 1 Beltway overpass. When finished, the overpass will provide six lanes of travel, as compared with four lanes currently.
Beginning later this month and continuing in early February, all lanes on Route 1 will be shifted to the west side of the roadway at two locations just north and south of the Beltway. This traffic shift will allow workers to build the first half (east side) of the new Route 1 overpass without taking away lane capacity. Because this is such a highly constricted work area, a reduced speed limit ensures the safety of drivers and workers. The reduced speed limit and traffic shifts will remain in effect until the first half (east side) of the new Route 1 overpass is completed, scheduled for 2007. At this time, traffic will be shifted onto the newly completed first half, while workers begin building the second half or west side, which is slated for completion, along with all other improvements to the Route 1 Interchange, in 2008 or early 2009.
Another traffic impact on Route 1 was anticipated to begin Wednesday, Jan. 18 or shortly afterwards, when the ramp that takes drivers from southbound Route 1 (Old Town Alexandria) toward the Woodrow Wilson Bridge heading into Maryland (Interstate 95 North/Capital Beltway’s Outer Loop) shrinks down to one lane about 300 feet earlier than it currently does. Drivers should expect additional backups on southbound Route 1 as a result of this lane reduction. This change is to provide the space necessary to build a pier support for the new southbound Route 1 to Outer Loop overpass ramp, which is slated to open this spring. All Route 1 drivers heading toward the Outer Loop will see their commutes improve with the opening of this new ramp, as it will completely separate Route 1 South traffic from Route 1 North traffic when merging onto the Outer Loop.
Ongoing progress on the remaining new ramps from Route 1 to the Beltway will continue to require periodic, temporary lane and ramp closures at and around the Route 1 Interchange throughout 2006.