Metro to replace more than 100 aging escalators, starting at Gallery Place

Metro will launch an extensive, yearslong effort next week to toss out more than 100 of its oldest and least reliable escalators — some of which have been deteriorating for decades.

A pair of escalators at the Gallery Place Metro station’s 9th and G street entrance will be the first to go as part of a $179 million investment to replace 130 of the D.C. transit system’s 617 escalators over the next seven years, Metro said in a news release Wednesday.

Work at Gallery Place will start on Monday, April 26, and is expected to take about six months, during which the 9th and G street entrance near the National Portrait Gallery will be closed. Nearby entrances at 7th and H streets, and 7th and F streets, will remain open.

Metro rated these two escalators, installed in 1976, as among the system’s poorest. The Westinghouse Electric Co., the manufacturer, went out of business in 1989 and sold its elevator and escalator division to Schindler. Spare parts are hard to come by, Metro said, and decades of exposure to the elements before the addition of canopies above the entrance took their toll.

Metro will bring in two heavy-duty transit escalators made by Illinois-based KONE, designed and manufactured specifically for Metro. The demolition and electrical work will be done on both escalators simultaneously, which Metro says will reduce the duration of the project by three months.

Metro will spend the next seven years overhauling 130 other escalators across 32 different stations, with the New Carrollton Metro station next in line around late May. A full list of stations included in the project is posted on Metro’s website.

Funding for the project comes by way of Metro’s 10-year, $15 billion Capital Improvement Program, which includes financial contributions from D.C., Maryland and Virginia for new railcars and buses, improving stations and platforms, replacing aging infrastructure and upgrading emergency response systems.

Alejandro Alvarez

Alejandro Alvarez joined WTOP as a digital reporter and editor in June 2018. He is a writer and photojournalist focusing on politics, political activism and national affairs, with recent multimedia contributions to Reuters, MSNBC and PBS.

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