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Why did Metro add more 24/7 track work, including on some areas hit before?

Rotting and damaged rail ties lie along a work zone on the Orange and Silver Line in Virginia in July. Deteriorating ties allowed a section of track to spread too far apart causing a train to derail outside the East Falls Church Station on Friday, according to Metro's initial investigation. Ties are being replaced and tracks resecured as part of accelerated maintenance work that will stretch into 2017. Fifteen sections of the Metro system will be refurbished to address long overdue maintenance and safety concerns. The section of track where the train derailed was not among the 15 scheduled work zones. (WTOP/Max Smith)

WASHINGTON — Metro scheduled new 24/7 track work on Thursday, after uncovering additional problems that must be addressed and after juggling the competing crumbling parts of the system to outline a new schedule.

“In a perfect world, you have lots of time to think this stuff through, but the reality of where we are, we’re in a triage mode, and that’s what we’re doing,” General Manager Paul Wiedefeld said.

The next 24/7 work zone will shut down the Blue Line between Rosslyn and Pentagon from Feb. 11 to Feb. 28.

While that work zone was part of original the plans announced last spring, other work zones have been added under the new schedule, including in part of May and June on the Orange Line between Minnesota Avenue and New Carrollton.

Wiedefeld said the decisions were based on the overall conditions of each stretch of track.

“When we find things, we deal with them; we’re not pushing them off, so as we’ve gotten out there and find more things, we are dealing with them now,” he said.

The only other upcoming surge with specific dates scheduled impacts the Blue and Yellow lines south of Braddock Road.

Metro officials said the first part of the surge there will significantly cut both Blue and Yellow Line service March 4-26.

From March 26 to April 2, the work will shift to affect only the Blue Line tracks north of Van Dorn Street, so the Yellow Line will operate normally except for the cancellation of rush-plus trains to Franconia-Springfield.

From April 3 to April 9, the work will only affect the Yellow Line tracks north of Huntington, with regularly scheduled service at Franconia-Springfield.

If those three work periods are counted as a single surge, as presented by Metro, Metro now has a total of 16 surges scheduled since the round-the-clock work zones began in early June. The schedule, which originally included 15 surges, has changed a few times because of new findings or other problems.

In late November, Metro said it would delay 24/7 work in January in order to address significant issues in underground sections of the system.

This month, Metro has focused work on the most heavily trafficked part of the system: the Blue, Orange and Silver lines downtown. On Super Bowl weekend, the entire stretch from Foggy Bottom to Eastern Market will be shut down for track work.

For now, Metro plans to wrap up the planned surges that directly affect rush-hour riders in June with a 24/7 work zone on the Red Line between Shady Grove and Twinbrook. Metro expects to work on the track that was not fully addressed during a surge there this summer as crews turned their focus to interlockings following a July derailment.


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