Metro riders from Alexandria and other parts of Northern Virginia will see several stations shutting down for weeks — as well as an entire line, for up to eight months.
It’s all part of two substantial Metro projects to add a new station and rehabilitate the Yellow Line Potomac tunnel and bridge.
The projects will start Sept. 10. Metro will begin to connect the Yellow and Blue line rails to the long-delayed Potomac Yard station. That will require a six week shutdown of all rail service to stations south of Reagan National Airport.
It will begin when Metro links up the new Potomac Yard station to the Yellow and Blue lines. All stations south of Reagan National will be closed until Oct. 22.
“This is to allow our contractors to do the earthwork required to create a lower grade necessary for the new track installation and alignment to conduct important testing and provide Metro with access to turnouts at National Airport and Braddock Road,” Yon Lambert, director of Alexandria’s Department of Transportation and Environmental Services, told the city council Tuesday night.
Metro will also use the shut down to begin rehabbing the Yellow Line’s bridge over the Potomac River and the steel-lined tunnels between the Pentagon and L’Enfant Plaza stations.
“This will be significant repairs to the steel line sections of the tunnel, bridge bearings and expansion joint replacement, this will be for eight months,” Lambert said.
Lambert detailed Metro’s plan to mitigate these inconveniences for commuters. Mainly buses and shuttles will fill the gap during the first phase of the project from Sept. 10 to Oct. 22.
There will be free Yellow and Blue Line replacement shuttles both local and express. As well as free downtown connection shuttles for those headed to the heart of D.C. that is usually served by the Yellow Line. There will also be a free airport connector shuttle.
Once stations reopen after the Potomac Yard cutover is complete, Metro’s Yellow Line will become as a separate branch of the Blue Line.
“What Metro will be doing, will be running two Blue Lines and no Yellow Line. One Blue Line will be running from the airport to Largo (Town Center), it’s the regular Blue Line. And then there will be one Blue Line running from the airport to New Carrollton and that’ll be replacing the Yellow Line,” said Lambert.
Shuttles to downtown D.C. will continue.
Mayor Justin Wilson said that some things need to happen before the start date.
“If we reach September, and we don’t have the 7000 series back, we can’t further degrade the service. That is just as unacceptable for the transit riders in this in the city and in this region, to further degrade an already unacceptable level of service right now, at a time where we’re trying to get people back in on transit into offices,” Wilson told WMATA officials at the meeting.
Officials responded that the Washington Metrorail Safety Commission concurred with Metro’s return to service plan last week. They plan to have the 7000 series car back in service by late summer.
Exact service plans like schedules will be released in the coming as construction plans are finalized