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For those that live in the DC area stay away from the eastern beltway tomorrow night


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Drivers Warned of Gridlock During Processions

By Steven Ginsberg

Washington Post Staff Writer

Tuesday, June 8, 2004; Page A07

Transportation officials in the Washington area sent out alerts across the East Coast yesterday advising drivers to avoid the eastern arc of the Capital Beltway tomorrow evening when former president Ronald Reagan's coffin is taken from Andrews Air Force Base to the Capitol.

It was one of many warnings to travelers in the hopes of avoiding three days of gridlock in the region.

Officials also asked people to use mass transit tomorrow through Friday, try to leave work early tomorrow and even take time off, if possible.

Traffic problems are likely throughout the ceremonial period. Tomorrow's evening rush hour may be the worst as the coffin is moved at 6 p.m. from Andrews into the District. It will be transferred from a hearse to a horse-drawn caisson for a procession that is to start near 16th Street and Constitution Avenue NW, head down Pennsylvania Avenue and arrive at the Capitol about 6:50 p.m.

District officials yesterday did not have a complete report of road closures, but they said that Constitution Avenue from 17th Street past the Capitol probably would be closed tomorrow from about 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. Parts of Independence Avenue near the Capitol also are likely to be closed during that time.

Parking will be prohibited on Constitution Avenue NW between 17th Street NW and First Street NE from 3 p.m. today to midnight tomorrow, District transportation officials said. Cars will not be able to cross that stretch of Constitution for blocks of time between 2 and 9 p.m. tomorrow. Drivers can get updated information on the radio by tuning to 1630 AM.

The route through the suburbs has not been disclosed, but Maryland officials said they expect significant traffic tie-ups on major and secondary roads. They advise drivers to circle around the western half of the Beltway or follow Route 301.

Should the motorcade take a route that includes the Beltway, that highway would be closed for an hour or more, a situation that transportation officials said would cause traffic reverberations across the region.

Inner loop drivers could sit for hours as the road is cleared for the Reagan motorcade. Outer loop drivers almost certainly would be stuck in bumper-to-bumper congestion as drivers slow for a look at the motorcade. Secondary roads would be crammed with people trying for alternative routes, and motorists trying to avoid the Andrews area by heading around the other side of the Beltway would overwhelm already strained roads in Montgomery County and Virginia.

"People will have to expect major delays for several hours Wednesday night," said David Buck, a spokesman for the Maryland State Highway Administration, who struggled to think of a comparable traffic event.

Buck said traffic operations would be at the high level of staffing they were for the millennium New Year's celebration and other major events and would include extra operations and maintenance personnel.

On Thursday, transportation officials expect tens of thousands of people to view Reagan's coffin at the Capitol. Even if all roads are open, officials are asking people to take Metrorail to the Capitol.

Metro officials said that several bus routes would be affected by road closures. Because Friday has been declared a federal holiday, MetroAccess customers must call to schedule regular trips. Metrorail will operate on its normal weekday schedule all week, including Friday, officials said.

On Friday, Reagan's coffin will be taken from the Capitol to Washington National Cathedral at 10:30 a.m. for the funeral service. Afterward, at 1:15 p.m., the coffin will be taken to Andrews. Officials said they don't have the details of that day's route, but they noted that there is no easy way to get from Wisconsin Avenue NW to Andrews. The motorcade will either have to twist back through the city or head north to the Beltway and follow it for several miles, interrupting trips for midday drivers.

Virginia officials said they are debating whether to lift HOV restrictions Friday, the federal holiday.

There are not many things Washington area drivers will accept as legitimate reasons for slowing their drive times, but transportation officials are hoping that this occasion will be one of them.

"We are the capital of the United States," said Lon Anderson, spokesman for AAA Mid-Atlantic. "While it will certainly slow up traffic for those out there, regionally we're very good at making adjustments [for] these kinds of special events."

Buck begged drivers for a little patience.

"We have one of the most popular presidents of the 20th century" in Reagan, he said. "I hope people are willing to put up with an afternoon's worth of bad traffic out of respect for what's happening."

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I was cringing. I work very near Andrews and live in Baltimore. Taking some time off tomorrow evening may be in order. Leaving a little early should keep me ahead of the traffic. I just wish they would release the travel routes so I could know if Suitland Parkway will be open or closed in the afternoon.

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I think it's safe to say that the next three or four days in DC will be a clusterduck, trafficwise, touristwise, etc. Thank goodness the Feds all have off on Friday, too. I wonder if DC will follow suit.


National Day of Mourning for President Ronald Reagan:

President George W. Bush Orders Federal Government Closure

on Friday, June 11, 2004

The President has issued an Executive Order to close Federal offices and excuse all Federal employees from duty for the scheduled workday on Friday, June 11, 2004, except those who, in the judgment of the head of the agency, cannot be excused for reasons of national security, defense, or other essential public business.

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Is it so wise to make public the exact route of Reagan's funeral procession? Why don't they just close exit and merge ramps when it's absolutely necessary so as to keep the route relatively secret? It seems in this current climate of terrorist warnings and heightened Homeland Security, they wouldn't go announcing things like this and potentially provide the "undesirables" an idea.

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Thats part of the problem as a commuter. If you know, you go another route. If you don't know, you sit in the traffic caused by them closing the roads for an hour. Closing the roads for an hour causes back ups that are longer than an hour.

I understand the perceived need. It just doesn't make things any easier. Some roads, they'll close for longer too.

Honestly, tomorrow will be worse than Friday. Many people will be off on Friday, so the traffic should be less. What's more, the moving times aren't at rush hour.

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Silly question, but couldn't we just stick him in a helicopter? Why shut down the roads at rush hour? Whose great idea was that?

Somewhere along the way, it's like people forgot that the point was to get him from Andrews to the Capitol.

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Originally posted by kam

Damn he is dead and still manages to screw everything up.

you need to get a life, i was just trying to help out fellow extremers in the area, since you don't live here don't comment :doh:

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Originally posted by NavyDave

See how I avoided calling cam a d1ckhead or worse though its difficult to maintain.

Deep breaths Navy. Deep breaths. :)

As Om explained in another thread, that was likely Kam's very last post on this board.

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