Berliner: Montgomery Co. kept out of loop on possible Red Line closure

Montgomery officials should have received a heads up that Metro is considering closure of a key segment of the Red Line for repairs, the chairman of the County Council’s transportation committee said in a letter to Metro General Manager Richard Sarles over the weekend.

News4 first reported Friday afternoon that repairs to curb water leakage in tunnels could close the heavily-traveled line between the Friendship Heights and Medical Center stations for up to six weeks.

“I deeply regret and am disappointed to have learned about this possibility in the press,” said Council member Roger Berliner (D-Potomac-Bethesda), chairman of the Transportation, Infrastructure Energy and Environment Committee. While Metro officials emphasized that no final decisions have been made, Berliner said the matter “clearly has advanced to the stage where senior WMATA staff were discussing the possibility.”

“In my view, this possibility should not have advanced this far along without consultation with our county,” he said.

Berliner asked Sarles for a full briefing after an engineering analysis is complete and that all alternatives to a full closure of the stations be explored.

(The Washington Post)

Relations between Metro and the county have been bumpy of late because of tensions over the Silver Spring Transit Center. The council was also taken by surprise when it learned in April that Metro had told County Executive Isiah Leggett (D) it wouldn’t operate the facility as planned because of added maintenance costs caused by construction and design issues.

Bill Turque, who covers Montgomery County government and politics, has spent more than thirty years as a reporter and editor for The Washington Post, Newsweek, the Dallas Times Herald and The Kansas City Star.

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