Do not make plans to go north on Interstate 95 to get to Tysons Corner or Washington, D.C., Saturday night unless you want to wait.
A major detour of I-95 traffic northbound to I-395 and I-495 West will be detoured to I-495 East to turn around at the Van Dorn Street exit from 8 p.m. Saturday to 10 a.m. Sunday for the installation of football field-size steel girders on a bridge in the Mixing Bowl.
“If they need to be on I-95 north at night to get through the area without hassle, try getting through Springfield prior 5 o’clock,” said project spokesman Steve Titunik.
A left lane closure will begin at 6 p.m., then another lane at 7 p.m., with all lanes to I-395 closed at 8 p.m., he said. Traffic heading into the Mixing Bowl will all be sent to the outer loop I-495 East.
Traffic can then take the Van Dorn Street Exit 173, get on Eisenhower Avenue, and come back on the inner loop I-495 West to go toward Tysons or get on I-395 North.
The Virginia Department of Transportation estimates the detour could add 45 minutes or more to a trip.
The detour is scheduled for next weekend, too. It is necessary to allow for safety of traffic and construction crews for the lifting of 100-ton girders 280 feet long 100 feet into the air for the closing of the gab in a one-mile-long bridge that will carry inner loop traffic to I-95 south. The new bridge will open to traffic next summer.
A total of six beams will be put in place each night, two spliced together and lifted with three cranes. Each end of the beam will take 40 bolts to fasten in place, Titunik said.
The $676 million Mixing Bowl project is a massive effort to build and upgrade bridges linking I-95 to I-495 and separate local traffic and through-traffic on the major East Coast route to ease congestion of 430,000 daily vehicles. It began in 1999 and will be finished in 2007.
Staff writer Chris Newman can be reached at (703) 878-8062.