Metro weekend shutdowns to affect Blue, Orange lines

Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, February 26, 2011; 10:27 PM

Metro is announcing big weekend shutdowns at a more rapid pace. Over Presidents' Day weekend, the Orange and Blue lines were split for a project that focused on replacing track switches outside Smithsonian Station. Next weekend, another major shutdown will affect a different part of the same lines. Here's a look at that project and some other plans for 2011.

Focus on Cheverly

The centerpiece of the work scheduled for this coming weekend is an aerial structure outside the Cheverly Station. Metro says that a developer's work on adjacent land shifted the ground and caused the aerial structure to move. The transit authority discovered the problem in December 2007 and has been working on a fix since, but it has always considered the tracks safe for trains.

A similar shutdown in November was part of the preliminary work for the fix, which will stabilize the aerial structure and the ground around it. More work is planned for the spring, when the project is scheduled to be completed.

Metro's standard practice now is to pile on as much other work as possible when it has to shut down stations. So in addition to the work on the aerial structure, crews will upgrade train controls outside the Stadium-Armory Station; install 6,000 feet of communication cables that will eventually improve cellphone service in the rail system; and replace 2,000 feet of track, 380 insulators, 1,400 rail ties and 400 track fasteners.

Rider impact

Metro's strategy for shutting stations and helping riders get around the closings is similar to the one it developed for the first round in November.

From the rail system's 10 p.m. Friday closing through midnight Sunday, there will be no Orange Line service between Stadium-Armory and New Carrollton. Five stations will be closed: Minnesota Avenue, Deanwood, Cheverly, Landover and New Carrollton. The Blue Line will not operate between Stadium-Armory and Benning Road. The Benning Road Station will remain open.

As usual during these disruptions, Metro will operate shuttle buses to get riders around the work zones. Anyone going that route should add up to 40 minutes to normal travel time.

The transit authority says service will return to normal Monday, March 7.

Shuttle schedule

Metro will operate three shuttle routes between the affected stations from 10 p.m. Friday through midnight Sunday.

Blue Line shuttle: This route will operate between the Stadium-Armory and Benning Road stations. Metro says riders should add 15 to 20 minutes to their trips.

Orange Line express shuttle: This express route will operate between Stadium-Armory and New Carrollton, making no stops in between. Add a half-hour to normal travel time if taking this route.

Orange Line local shuttle: This local route will operate between Stadium-Armory and New Carrollton, stopping at the Minnesota Avenue, Deanwood, Cheverly, Landover and New Carrollton stations. Add 40 minutes to normal travel time if taking this route.

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