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National Christmas Tree Lighting 2012 Street Closures Will Cause Big Traffic Headaches On Thursday

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The National Christmas Tree lighting ceremony will close portions of 15th and 17th streets NW during Thursday's evening rush hour.
The National Christmas Tree lighting ceremony will close portions of 15th and 17th streets NW during Thursday's evening rush hour.

WASHINGTON -- While it's certainly not unusual for D.C. area drivers to complain about traffic delays and congestion, there's one day of the year that can create a moment of dread for some commuters: the annual National Christmas Tree Lighting ceremony.

Typically, major commuter roadways adjacent to the Ellipse are closed to traffic during the middle of the evening rush hour, causing a ripple effect of gridlock around the White House and downtown.

This year's tree lighting ceremony, set for Thursday and hosted by award-winning actor Neil Patrick Harris, will close portions of 15th and 17th streets NW from 4:15 p.m. to 7 p.m.

15th Street will be closed between Constitution Avenue and E Street/Pennsylvania Avenue. 17th Street will be closed between Constitution Avenue and New York Avenue. Both routes are used by thousands of Virginia-bound commuters trying to reach the 14th Street, Arlington Memorial and Theodore Roosevelt bridges during the evening rush hour.

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