Lines

Mitigating the impact of closures coming to the Metro’s Blue and Yellow lines starting September 10, alternative travel options for Metro riders will be available while construction is underway.

As a result of the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority’s (WMATA) 10-year, $15 billion Metro Capital Program investing in Metro infrastructure and safety, changes made between September 10 and May 2023 will yield a new Potomac Yard Station, as well as a stronger tunnel when crossing the Potomac River.

During a six-week period between Sept. 10 and Oct. 22, the Metro’s Blue and Yellow lines will be closed to conduct construction and testing for the new Potomac Yard Station.

The new Potomac Yard Station will sit between the Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport station and the Braddock Road Station, with service south of the airport set to open on Oct. 23.

Before this time, local shuttles will run every 10-20 minutes from seven Blue Line stations including Franconia-Springfield, Van Dorn St, Kings St-Old Town, Braddock Road, and Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport.

Additionally, for those wishing to utilize the Yellow Line, shuttles will run every 10-15 minutes from Huntington, Eisenhower Ave, King St-Old Town, Braddock Road, and Crystal City. The Yellow Line will not stop at the airport during this period.

The Blue Line will be operational north of the airport and will provide additional service alongside the Green Line for stations in that region. The DASH Bus and Virginia Railway Express (VRE) will be fare-free in the affected regions, as well. For more information on rail service, express shuttles, the Fairfax Connector, and OmniRide, visit bit.ly/3P8jDlX.

The Potomac River portion of the Yellow Line will remain closed until May 2023 to rehabilitate the more than 40-year-old tunnel connecting the Pentagon and L’Enfant Stations.

“We’re [looking at this] in [the] big picture,” said Metro Board Chairman Paul Smedberg. “We’re catching up on things that really weren’t looked at for quite some time.”

During this period of repair, major concerns for WMATA include the replacement of water drainage pumps in locations experiencing leakage, general mitigation of water leakage, as well as tunnel ventilation.

Following the 2015 Metro smoke incident, which left many metro riders trapped inside the tunnel and led to one woman’s death, WMATA is taking precautions following a directive from the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) to prevent further ventilation issues.

Proper safety testing of the new infrastructure is very important for WMATA.

“Really what’s driving the schedule is the removal of all the systems cables on the tunnel wall and then the reinstallation and testing of those once the tunnel is rebuilt,” said Interim General Manager Andrew Off. “We quickly learned that to do good quality work, four months was simply not going to be enough time to do it.”

Additionally, standardizations to meet the fire code, as well as upgrades to fiber optics for the rail’s general communication system will be made.

“Once they get the tunnel work done, and they can protect the steel liner, it will be good for the next 45 to 55 years,” Smedberg added.

According to WMATA, the schedule is subject to change based on the needs of construction. However, they plan to work closely with local jurisdictions and communities to ensure quality travel alternatives during this time.

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