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Author Topic: Some Woodrow Wilson Bridge notes  (Read 23162 times)

froggie

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Some Woodrow Wilson Bridge notes
« on: May 28, 2009, 10:51:42 AM »

Since I hadn't posted these before the forum meltdown, and since there were a few updates last week, I thought I'd post this compilation of WWB-related notes and observations over the past few weeks:

- A couple weeks ago (around Monday the 11th, give or take a day), the ramp from SB US 1 to the Outer Loop Thru Lanes opened.

- Around that same time, the configuration of the Outer Loop Local Lanes was changed slightly, to where the 3rd lane going across the bridge begins with the on-ramp from NB US 1.  Not sure if this is a temporary or permanent setup...it looks temporary given that the right shoulder at that merge point (NB US 1 ramp onto the Local Lanes) is blocked off for some sort of work (and as of this morning the 28th is still blocked off).

- On Friday the 15th, the right lane on NB US 1, before the ramp to access the Beltway, was reopened.  It had been closed for the past 2 months.

- The new ramps from the Outer Loop to Telegraph Rd/Kings Hwy/Huntington Ave are progressing, and VDOT recent announced that the two flyover ramps from the Outer Loop to Kings Hwy and Huntington Ave, as well as the ramp from the Outer Loop to SB Telegraph Rd and the loop from SB Telegraph to Huntington Ave, will all open up this Saturday (the 30th).  The ramp to Huntington Ave in particular will make my drives home from Springfield and points west a lot easier.  Here's a WTOP story on the upcoming ramp openings.

- On the Inner Loop approaching MD 414, the overhead guide sign for the next 3 Thru Lane exits has had some changes lately...about a week or two ago.  First, the Eisenhower Ave listing has been uncovered, even though the ramp to the Eisenhower/Mill Rd intersection hasn't opened yet (should be any day now according to the project website).  Second, the route shield for the Van Dorn St listing has been changed.  IIRC, it showed VA 401 previously...now it shows SR 613.

- Permanent pavement and striping is in progress in some areas (except for the Thru Lanes themselves, most road surfaces through the project area have been old pavement/temproary pavement/base pavement, and not the permanent top layer).  Areas that have had permanent pavement and striping added lately include the loop ramp from the Inner Loop to SB US 1, the Inner Loop just prior to the Thru/Local Lanes split (east of MD 210).  Judging from the bridge-approach milling I've seen, permanent pavement for the Inner Loop Local Lanes in Maryland is in progress.

- Probably related to that permanent paving/striping, the large overhead guide sign at the Inner Loop Thru/Local split (between MD 414 and MD 210) was put up over this past weekend.  It wasn't there Thursday morning, but was there Monday afternoon.  Got a photo of it on my way home yesterday.

- Lastly, as was noted in an earlier MTR thread, the bike/ped path on the north side of the WWB is set to open on June 6.  No word yet on when the path connection to US 1 will open (it's being "unofficially used" already).
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74/171FAN

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Re: Some Woodrow Wilson Bridge notes
« Reply #1 on: May 28, 2009, 03:11:57 PM »

Right now I'm planning on traveling through here on the morning of June 27 on the way to church camp New York.  I'll have to make sure I'm up then ;-)
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froggie

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Re: Some Woodrow Wilson Bridge notes
« Reply #2 on: May 31, 2009, 09:49:18 AM »

Took a "quick stroll" on the new ramps at Telegraph/Huntington/Kings Hwy this morning (they opened yesterday).  A few observations and comments:

- Permanent pavement for the future Outer Loop Local Lanes, in the vicinity of Exit 176A (the off-ramp to Telegraph/Kings Hwy/Huntington), has been completed.

- The three permanent/semi-permanent guide sign installations built as part of the new ramps (two on the ramp from the outer loop, one "semi-permanent" for the loop from SB Telegraph to Huntington) all use Clearview font.

- The previous Exit 176A has been blocked off, but isn't going to be removed anytime soon.  As mentioned elsewhere, it will be serving as a detour route for Exit 176B (Outer Loop to NB Telegraph) later this summer.

- The left turn lane from SB Telegraph to Huntington has also been blocked off.  This means that the Telegraph/Huntington traffic signal is now just a simple two-phase signal, which should help with traffic flow.

- While I was waiting at the Telegraph/Kings Hwy light, there were two cars who made a U-turn from SB Telegraph to NB Telegraph in order to turn onto Huntington Ave.  Apparently they were either unaware of (or didn't care about) the new loop from SB Telegraph to Huntington.

- It'll probably take a couple weeks of getting used to, but I think this will greatly improve traffic operations at Telegraph/Huntington/Kings Hwy.

Took about 30 photos...will try to get them posted sometime this week.
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Re: Some Woodrow Wilson Bridge notes
« Reply #3 on: June 03, 2009, 07:25:16 AM »

Also known now as the widest bridge(but not as many travel lanes as the GWB or New Jersey's Driscoll Bridge)  http://www.tollroadsnews.com/node/4192
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Re: Some Woodrow Wilson Bridge notes
« Reply #4 on: June 03, 2009, 10:16:33 PM »

Also known now as the widest bridge(but not as many travel lanes as the GWB or New Jersey's Driscoll Bridge)  http://www.tollroadsnews.com/node/4192
Driscoll Bridge is really two separate structures now.  But then, so is the Wilson Bridge.  I don't know how they count the record though.

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Re: Some Woodrow Wilson Bridge notes
« Reply #5 on: June 04, 2009, 12:08:32 AM »

Driscoll Bridge is really two separate structures now.  But then, so is the Wilson Bridge.  I don't know how they count the record though.

By total structural width (feet/meters). Driscoll has 15 lanes to Wilson's 12. Wilson has a lot more shoulder width to it since it's four roadways with wide right shoulders and wide left shoulders to the outer lanes. Driscoll has three roadways with narrower shoulders.

But what makes Driscoll then soar ahead are the twin US 9 spans directly next to it. Nowhere else in the country can you see that much bridge clumped together in parallel, by lanes or by feet. So it wins.
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froggie

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Re: Some Woodrow Wilson Bridge notes
« Reply #6 on: August 30, 2009, 04:37:34 PM »

A few more WWB notes from over the summer:

- On the Maryland side, crews have laid the final pavement layer on the Local Lanes in both directions and on several ramps, converted the ramp from the Outer Loop Local Lanes to NB I-295 to a 2-lane ramp, and removed the temporary haul bridge that sat over the ramp from SB I-295 to the Inner Loop Local Lanes.

- In Virginia, there's now a large overhead sign straddling both sides of US 1 between Fort Hunt Rd and the Beltway.  This went up about a week ago.

- Earlier in the summer, the Outer Loop was reconfigured into a 2+1 split at the Eisenhower Connector for bridge work, utilizing the ramps for the rightmost single lane.  And quickly became the scene of several traffic backups.  Traffic was reconfigured "back to normal" last week, so the Outer Loop ramps to/from Eisenhower are back open.

- A lot of paving has been going on with the future Local Lanes on both sides between Eisenhower and Telegraph.

- Not much new at Telegraph Rd since the new ramps from the Outer Loop that cross over Telegraph Rd opened.  Any day now, the ramps from the Inner Loop will be reconfigured to the single exit/C-D road configuration they were in last year.

- A temporary signal has been installed, but turned off, on NB Telegraph at the access ramp to Pershing Ave.  This signal will be activated when the current ramp from the Outer Loop to NB Telegraph closes sometime late winter.
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Alex

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Re: Some Woodrow Wilson Bridge notes
« Reply #7 on: September 16, 2009, 04:35:40 PM »

Have you posted any of your Inner Loop photos from the stretch that includes the local/thru lanes yet?

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Re: Some Woodrow Wilson Bridge notes
« Reply #8 on: September 16, 2009, 07:09:49 PM »

N'yet...never got around to it.  But it's on the "to do" list...
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Re: Some Woodrow Wilson Bridge notes
« Reply #9 on: September 17, 2009, 06:56:51 AM »

N'yet...never got around to it.  But it's on the "to do" list...


I asked because I was looking at the project website and other areas to see how the current configuration looks, and could find nothing outside of the interchange diagram .pdf's. Your photos of the eastbound direction were helpful in determining the changes.

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Re: Some Woodrow Wilson Bridge notes
« Reply #10 on: September 17, 2009, 07:00:18 AM »

Inner Loop isn't really all that much different than the Outer Loop in that regard.

I'm on travel to San Diego next week (Navy-related)...if there's interest in seeing the Inner Loop photos, I might bring them along and get them prepped for the website during my off-time.
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Re: Some Woodrow Wilson Bridge notes
« Reply #11 on: September 17, 2009, 07:08:31 AM »

Inner Loop isn't really all that much different than the Outer Loop in that regard.

I'm on travel to San Diego next week (Navy-related)...if there's interest in seeing the Inner Loop photos, I might bring them along and get them prepped for the website during my off-time.


I worked on updating our Beltway guides yesterday and linked to your site for photos of the current Outer Loop configuration. Since I have no new photos in either direction, I'll do the same for the Inner Loop pages whenever you get them posted.

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Re: Some Woodrow Wilson Bridge notes
« Reply #12 on: October 20, 2009, 07:34:56 AM »

Oscar Voss alluded in another thread that the speed limit on the Wilson Bridge was being bumped up to 55 MPH.  Yesterday on my way home I noticed the variable speed limit sign halfway across the bridge on the Inner Loop was displaying 55 MPH.  Nothing corresponding on the Outer Loop, but I usually get on right at US 1 so if there's a speed limit sign showing 55 on the Outer Loop before US 1, I haven't seen it yet.
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Re: Some Woodrow Wilson Bridge notes
« Reply #13 on: December 04, 2009, 09:35:26 AM »

Word is that VDOT will be doing work this weekend (weather-permitting...given that we're expecting 1-2 inches of snow tomorrow, I doubt it'll happen) that will supposedly extend the local/thru lane split on the Virginia side.  Though looking at the project website, it appears that what is happening instead is that Inner Loop traffic will be shifted in stages this weekend between Telegraph Rd and Eisenhower Ave to the futuer local lane roadway.  Outer Loop will have the same thing happen next weekend.  This is to allow reconstruction of the existing Beltway lanes on both sides (the currently-narrow 6-lane stretch) into the future thru lanes.

On a related note, the long-closed exit from the Inner Loop to the Eisenhower Ave Connector will reopen as part of the lane shift this weekend.
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Re: Some Woodrow Wilson Bridge notes
« Reply #14 on: September 29, 2010, 05:52:13 PM »

Google Earth has recently added imagery dated 8/29/10 which shows, amongst other things:

- The final configuration of the overall project from the Mill Rd ramps (just west of US 1) to the east end of the project east of MD 210.

- The ramps from the Outer Loop to go to both Kings Hwy and Huntington Ave (opened last year)

- The new ramp from NB Telegraph Rd to Eisenhower Ave (opened over the summer)

- The even newer ramps from the Outer Loop to both NB Telegraph and Eisenhower Ave (opened last week)

With that last opening, the old ramp from the Outer Loop to Telgraph/Huntington can be torn down and the future ramp from SB Telegraph to Kings Hwy can be built.
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Re: Some Woodrow Wilson Bridge notes
« Reply #15 on: December 19, 2010, 12:47:02 PM »

Some notes from over the past few weeks:

- Traffic on both sides of the Beltway has been fully shifted to the future Local Lanes in each direction between the Eisenhower Ave connector and the completed Local/Thru Lanes east of Telegraph Rd.  There's no longer that weird curving that was complained about in another thread previously.  This also, thankfully, eliminates the serious pavement problems that have been existing with the old Inner Loop bridge over Cameron Run (just west of Telegraph Rd).

- However, the above switch has required narrowing the Inner Loop Local Lanes to 1 through lane before it merges with the Thru Lanes.  This has created a bit of a backup situation that usually backs up traffic to Route 1.

- The loop ramp from northbound Telegraph Rd to the Inner Loop has been closed for about a week, while crews put the finishing touches on the new loop bridge over Telegraph Rd.  The new loop is being bridged over the loop ramp from the Inner Loop to southbound Telegraph in order to eliminate weaving.  According to the project website (and weather permitting of course), the loop ramp should reopen by the end of the year...it'll tie into the new ramp from southbound Telegraph to the Inner Loop that's been open for some time now.

- With the reconfiguration on the Outer Loop, some of the permanent overhead signage is now in place.  Also, the ramp from the Outer Loop to northbound Telegraph and Eisenhower is now a 2-lane ramp.  Haven't been on the ramp yet, but presumably the lanes split, with 1 lane each going to northbound Telegraph and to Eisenhower.

- Work has begun on widening the Telegraph Rd bridge over Cameron Run (just north of Huntington Ave).  The widened bridge will carry additional lanes on Telegraph Rd as well as a bike/ped path on the east side of the bridge that will connect over the Beltway to Eisenhower Ave.

- Work has also begun on widening the Telegraph Rd bridge over the railroads north of Eisenhower.  This will require some long-term lane closures that will have a notable impact on Telegraph Rd traffic until 2012.
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Re: Some Woodrow Wilson Bridge notes
« Reply #16 on: December 31, 2010, 05:41:27 PM »

Noticed today that the loop ramp from NB Telegraph Rd to the Inner Loop is now open.  This ramp is bridged over both Telegraph Rd and the loop ramp from the Inner Loop to SB Telegraph, to eliminate weaving.
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Re: Some Woodrow Wilson Bridge notes
« Reply #17 on: January 28, 2011, 03:15:56 PM »

Whoever designed the new bridge, kudos to them! :cheers:

Not to say that the 1961 original was bad, but considering the overwhelming traffic volumes that increased in the years since the original plans for I-95 through DC were cancelled, it really needed to go. I'll bet no one out there misses it.
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Re: Some Woodrow Wilson Bridge notes
« Reply #18 on: April 28, 2011, 06:11:52 PM »

Whoever designed the new bridge, kudos to them! :cheers:

Not to say that the 1961 original was bad, but considering the overwhelming traffic volumes that increased in the years since the original plans for I-95 through DC were cancelled, it really needed to go. I'll bet no one out there misses it.

I live about two or three miles south of the Van Dorn Street exit. The new bridge has worked wonders in terms of opening up the Beltway. For a while the daily afternoon backup on the Outer Loop had largely disappeared, but it's been present again for the past several months due to the ongoing widening. Once the quad-carriageway is completed, I'm optimistic that things will improve IF—and this is a big "if"—they get the signage right. I understand that the FHWA now favors the "Local"/"Thru" terminology being used on that road, but the downside of that terminology is that it creates potential confusion if a sign is posted reading "All Lanes Thru," similar to the ones used in New Jersey when you approach a toll plaza. The problem I see all too often on the Beltway is that non-local drivers do not realize that the "Local" carriageways in fact go to exactly the same place as the "Thru" carriageways, leading to some mad-dash cross-gore lane changes at the last second. If the sign said "All Lanes Thru" it might eliminate some of that, but then the problem is that it makes no sense to designate only one carriageway as "Thru" but to say "All Lanes Thru." I think a reasonable compromise would be to list Baltimore as a control city on both carriageways on the Outer Loop and Richmond as a control city on both carriageways on the Inner Loop—in other words, right now on the Outer Loop the sign has I-95 North/I-495 East THRU to Baltimore and LOCAL to Alexandria. I'd add a "Baltimore" underneath the "Alexandria" as a way of indicating to drivers unfamiliar with the area that you can still reach your longer-distance destinations regardless of which lane you choose.

By far the single biggest improvement the new Wilson Bridge brings, though, regardless of quad-carriageways or rebuilt interchanges or the like, is adequate shoulders. The old bridge had insufficient space to move wrecks or breakdowns out of traffic and the result was predictable. The new bridge(s) correct(s) that problem.
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Re: Some Woodrow Wilson Bridge notes
« Reply #19 on: April 28, 2011, 10:31:51 PM »

I'm not so sure on that.  The only way this is going to work long-term is to encourage as many of the longer-distance drivers to use the Thru lanes as possible....this being because of the HEAVY volumes of traffic that enter and/or exit the Local lanes at both Route 1 and I-295.  You're not going to get that by signing "Baltimore" (or, conversely, "Richmond") as a control city for the Local lanes.
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Re: Some Woodrow Wilson Bridge notes
« Reply #20 on: April 28, 2011, 10:51:48 PM »

New Jersey uses the Local-Express designation for the quad carriageways along I-78, I-80 and the Garden State Parkway.  Would this terminology work here any better than using "Thru" for the fast lanes?
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Re: Some Woodrow Wilson Bridge notes
« Reply #21 on: April 29, 2011, 08:10:50 AM »

Perhaps if they had gone with that from the get-go.  But it's too late now..."Thru Lanes" has already ingrained itself into the local nomenclature.
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Re: Some Woodrow Wilson Bridge notes
« Reply #22 on: April 29, 2011, 09:31:48 AM »

I'm not so sure on that.  The only way this is going to work long-term is to encourage as many of the longer-distance drivers to use the Thru lanes as possible....this being because of the HEAVY volumes of traffic that enter and/or exit the Local lanes at both Route 1 and I-295.  You're not going to get that by signing "Baltimore" (or, conversely, "Richmond") as a control city for the Local lanes.

Oh, believe me, I understand the intent behind signing it that way and I agree with it. What I would really like to see, though the money obviously doesn't exist and it would disrupt this part of the county big-time, would be to have the quad-carriageway extended all the way west to the Springfield Interchange (though I have trouble visualizing how to configure the lanes at the western end of that setup). That is, just separate the long-distance traffic all the way across. But what I was trying to suggest is not necessarily that they should encourage long-distance traffic to use the "Local" carriageway, but rather that there ought to be some way to configure the signage to indicate to people unfamiliar with the road that you need not panic to get into the "Thru" carriageway at the last minute because the other lanes will take you to the same place. Some of the panicky maneuvers I've seen through there are quite dangerous.

In other words, I suggested the control city idea simply as a compromise because I couldn't come up with a better way of communicating this information. The "Local"/"Express" designation would have been more effective precisely because you can use the "All Lanes Thru" signage seen in New Jersey and on I-270 in Maryland. But apparently, according to Mike Tantillo on misc.transport.road, the FHWA now wants the term "Express" to be reserved for HOV/HOT/Express Toll facilities, i.e., what the MUTCD calls "Managed Lanes," rather than for a separate carriageway that simply has fewer exits. (It seems to me that "fewer exits" is precisely what "express" connotes, like when you ride the express train on the New York subway.) That's evidently a major reason for the terminology being used on the Beltway. I suppose in Virginia the only road generally referred to as "express" is the express lanes on Shirley Highway, although many people new to the area call them the "HOV lanes" instead.
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"You know, you never have a guaranteed spot until you have a spot guaranteed."
—Olaf Kolzig, as quoted in the Washington Times on March 28, 2003,
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Re: Some Woodrow Wilson Bridge notes
« Reply #23 on: May 19, 2011, 08:04:22 AM »

I haven't taken a look yet, but the new ramp from southbound Telegraph Rd to Kings Hwy is now open, and as with when the Huntington Ave ramp opened awhile back, mass confusion reigns.  Confusion stems from two parts:  first, the former movement was a left turn, and now this is a ramp on the right.  Second, the ramp for Kings Hwy comes first, even though drivers physically encounter Huntington Ave first.

I'll give it a couple weeks to see how traffic sorts out.
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Re: Some Woodrow Wilson Bridge notes
« Reply #24 on: May 19, 2011, 09:42:42 AM »

I was going to check out the new ramp yesterday on my way back from a morning hearing in Greenbelt, but it was raining quite hard such that I just wanted to get out of the bad weather. WTOP reported that a lot of people have been baffled and I'd like to see what they've done as to signs. When the Huntington Avenue ramp opened sometime ago, VDOT put all the signs for it on the right, reasoning that for a right-hand exit the sign goes on the right (overhead signs not being an option in that heavy work zone). Normally I'd say they have a point, but in this case people have been making those two left turns for well over 30 years and so are somewhat on autopilot. A driver who's been going left for 30 years perhaps understandably isn't necessarily looking for a sign on the right, so a temporary sign on the left is in order until drivers get used to it.

VDOT did put up some additional signs for Huntington Avenue back then after Mike Tantillo of misc.transport.road and I raised the issue via Dr. Gridlock. I'll be interested in seeing if they learned from that go-round. If I go down to Old Town today or tomorrow I'll check it out....I'm waiting for the workmen to come do a roof repair and so my whole schedule is in limbo.

(I suppose it's probably fair to assume that the temporary signs already in place will be even more temporary if they just stuck on revised info...of course, when they're probably going to replace all the crappy-looking signs when this is all done, I have to concede that it's reasonable to try to stick with temporary signs for as long as possible.)


(edited to fix typos)
« Last Edit: May 19, 2011, 12:24:10 PM by 1995hoo »
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"You know, you never have a guaranteed spot until you have a spot guaranteed."
—Olaf Kolzig, as quoted in the Washington Times on March 28, 2003,
commenting on the Capitals clinching a playoff spot.

"That sounded stupid, didn't it?"—Kolzig, to the same reporter a few seconds later.

 


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