Metro will restore service to all its bus routes on Thursday– bringing the nation’s sixth largest bus network fully back online after nearly a week of service disruptions.

Metro has been gradually restoring bus operations since the weekend’s blizzard shut down all public transportation in the Washington region.  The transit agency restored 22 routes on Monday, 79 on Tuesday, and 160 on Wednesday.

All 320 routes are expected to operate on a “light snow” service plan Thursday, meaning that some routes may have detours, particularly those that trek through hilly and narrow streets.

“If all goes well, by Friday we will be back to normal– without detours,” Metro Spokesman Dan Stessel said.

With snow mounds in the way, it was still too difficult for 40-foot-long buses to navigate through some neighborhood streets on Wednesday, Stessel said. But bus supervisors have been driving each route, assessing conditions, and believe that all lines will be ready for service by Thursday morning.

Detours will be in place in the event that there is a refreeze overnight, but they will be lifted as conditions improve,  Stessel said. Details about the “light” service operations, and detours for individual routes can be found here.

Modified service will continue on the Metrorail system, with trains on all lines running every 8 minutes during rush hour. More frequent service will available at stations with multiple lines.

Trains may be more crowded because Metro is running fewer cars. And bus customers should anticipate more than the usual delays.

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