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Could Metro water problems deter commuters?

Monday - 8/26/2013, 8:23pm  ET

WASHINGTON - Groundwater is leaking into a section of tunnel along the Red Line, and one concerned local leader has been told repairs won't start for two years.

The water problems are between the Friendship Heights and Medical Center stations. A source told NBC 4 repairs may force those stations and that section of tunnel to be closed for as long as six weeks.

Montgomery County Councilmember Roger Berliner was concerned about that, and worried the county would not be consulted before a decision on how to attack the problem was made.

He fired off a letter Saturday that led to a Monday meeting with a top Metro official.

"They will bring in experts from around the world, they will consult with our county, and ... any work that would be done would be two years into the future," Berliner says.

He fears a long closure would force more people to drive in an already congested area.

He also thinks Metro riders forced to change their routines for that long might not ever return.

"It will take riders away from Metro and I don't know if it will get them back," he says.

"A shutdown should only be pursued as an option of last resort."

In a statement about the water problems, Metro says "this is not a safety issue," adding that "any decision around the appropriate long-term repairs, including timeline and possible effects on service, will be made only after final engineering designs are submitted in the coming months."

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