- The Washington Times - Monday, July 2, 2018

A heat wave, baseball fans and road closures are set to converge in the D.C. area for Independence Day.

The Fourth of July will feature a Washington Nationals home game against the Boston Red Sox in addition to the District’s annual fireworks display and parades. The events will mean travelers will have “hell to pay” for traffic, according to AAA Mid-Atlantic.

“A grand total of 3.4 million persons from the Washington, D.C. metro area, Maryland and Virginia will travel for the Fourth of July,” said AAA spokesman John Townsend in an email, adding that most of those travelers — 2.9 million — are expected to be in cars.

Scott Sedlik, vice president at traffic analytics company INRIX, said that although “travel times are expected to nominally increase throughout the week, Tuesday afternoon will, hands down, be the worst time to be on the road. Our advice to drivers is to avoid peak commuting hours altogether or consider alternative routes.”

Peak traffic in the greater Washington area is expected from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday.

D.C. officials announced the following road closures from 5 a.m. to 11 p.m. Wednesday:

Theodore Roosevelt Bridge inbound to Constitution Avenue. All traffic will be diverted to the E Street Expressway.

Independence Avenue SW from 15th to 23rd streets.

Northbound 23rd Street from Constitution to Virginia Avenues NW. Southbound 23rd Street will be allowed to flow and access outbound Theodore Roosevelt Bridge.

20th, 21st and 22nd streets NW from C Street to Constitution Avenue.

18th and 19th streets NW from Virginia to Constitution avenues.

17th Street NW from New York to Constitution avenues.

15th Street NW from Pennsylvania to Independence avenues SW.

Henry Bacon Drive and Lincoln Memorial Circle to Constitution Avenue NW.

Constitution Avenue from Sixth to 23rd streets NW.

The District’s Department of Public Works said it will not enforce “parking meters, residential parking, rush hour lane restrictions or tow abandoned vehicles Wednesday, July 4, except along the streetcar line.” Parking at all Metro stations will be free.

Metro trains in the city will arrive every 12 minutes Wednesday until 6 p.m., and then increase to every eight minutes. Metro will stay open until midnight, but the Smithsonian station will be “entry only” at its Mall entrance to handle the firework crowds. Bicycles and large coolers will not be permitted on trains due to crowding.

The DC Circulator will not be operating on the Mall on Wednesday, and the DC Streetcar will run on a weekend schedule from 6 p.m. until midnight.

Meanwhile, the current heat wave is expected to keep area temperatures in the 90s for some time to come.

“The biggest thing is that there is a chance for some scattered showers and thunderstorms because of the all the heat and humidity,” said Jeremy Geiger, a meteorologist for the National Weather Service meteorologist.

Mr. Geiger said the District’s sweltering temperatures are likely to cool this week and “a chance of rain will be more on Thursday and Friday.”

The D.C. Department of Health and Human Services said it is “more than likely” to issue another emergency heat alert on Tuesday or Wednesday. Cooling centers will be open around the city, and can be found by calling (202) 399-7093.

D.C. Homeland Security Director Chris Rodriguez joined D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser on Monday to remind the public to “stay hydrated, check on pets, children & seniors,” according to a department tweet.

Events schedule for Wednesday:

The Barracks Row parade will start at 10 a.m. at Eighth and I streets SE.

The Smithsonian Folklife Festival will be open on the Mall from 11:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.

The National Independence Day Parade will begin at 11:45 a.m. at Seventh Street and Constitution Avenue NW.

“A Capitol Fourth,” an annual concert on the U.S. Capitol’s West Lawn, will begin 3 p.m. and will be hosted by actor John Stamos.

Fireworks will start on the Mall just after nightfall at 9 p.m.

• Julia Airey can be reached at jairey@washingtontimes.com.

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