Metro will conduct several maintenance projects this summer and fall that will dramatically affect service on almost every line — including the shutdown of two Red Line stations for 45 days, the transit agency announced Tuesday.
For a 45-day stretch starting July 21 and lasting through Labor Day, Metro will shutter Rhode Island Avenue and Brookland stations on the Red Line. Buses will provide shuttle service from Fort Totten to NoMa, as there will be no train travel between those stations.
Workers will use the shutdown to tackle the long-term structural issues on the platform at Rhode Island Ave. station. The problems became glaringly apparent in September 2016, when the station was closed for several days after a chunk of ceiling concrete fell inside the station. Later that year, the station was included as part of a SafeTrack surge that targeted both the station structure and the tracks between Fort Totten and NoMa stations.
“Metro engineers stabilized the structure and advanced as much remediation work as possible during a SafeTrack surge in 2016,” Metro said in a statement. “This 45-day project will allow crews to complete structural repairs at Metro’s oldest outdoor station, including addressing deteriorating platform conditions that affect the ADA-accessibility of the station.”
In the midst of the Red Line project, there also will be disruptions in the downtown core, with 16 days of “significantly reduced service” on the Blue, Orange and Silver lines between McPherson Square and Smithsonian stations. That project is scheduled to start Aug. 11 and continue through Aug. 26, and will entail several lengthy bouts of continuous single-tracking.
“Working around the clock, crews will rebuild the track infrastructure, including installation of new rail, new fasteners, and repairs to the concrete pads that support the rails,” Metro said. “Crews will work on each track for approximately one week at a time so that single-track service can be maintained.”
Additionally, Metro also is planning work on the Yellow and Blue lines on the Virginia side of the Potomac River, which will impact riders’ access to Reagan National Airport.
During one project, Nov. 2 through 5, National Airport and Crystal City stations will be closed. Buses will provide access to those stations.
Then, Nov. 26 to Dec. 9, Metro will conduct extensive track rehabilitation work on the Yellow Line. During that time, the Yellow Line will run only between the airport and Huntington station. Riders seeking to travel from Arlington and Alexandria into the District — or from the District to the airport — will need to rely exclusively on the Blue Line.
“The projects, which are necessary to ensure continued safe and reliable operations, are being scheduled during times of the year when ridership is lighter to minimize customer inconvenience,” Metro’s statement said.
Commuters may be displeased to learn of some of the fine print included in Metro’s plans for late-2018 track improvements. During those four projects, Metro will adjust some of the qualification criteria for its “Rush Hour Promise” program, which offers refunds to passengers whose train or bus trips take significantly longer than expected.
When Metro announced the refund program, officials made sure to specify that planned service disruptions, including previously announced track repair projects, are not be included among the types of delays for which passengers can be reimbursed.
Passengers whose commutes are directly affected by these four construction projects may not qualify for refunds, though other commuters who travel on routes or lines unaffected by the shutdowns and single-tracking will still be eligible for refunds.
“Additional details and service information will be announced in Summer 2018,” Metro said.
In the summary of the upcoming shutdowns, single-tracking, and rehabilitation projects, Metro officials note there is no large-scale maintenance work planned for the spring and early summer, when events such as the National Cherry Blossom Festival, Independence Day and the Major League Baseball All-Star Game are expected to bring droves of visitors to the region.
To that end, Metro said, officials decided to delay another maintenance project at Huntington Station on the Yellow Line, which was originally scheduled to take place in May. The project has been rescheduled for 2019.