Metro GM: Region is ready, but don’t expect magic from repairs

WASHINGTON — With riders and the region rushing to figure out how rush-hour track work during the next year will impact their lives, Metro’s general manager said the region is ready for the repairs to begin this weekend.

Paul Wiedefeld said the efforts from Metro and local governments to tell riders about the disruptions and bus service available during the maintenance work to rebuild tracks and other equipment have helped and will continue. But he is most worried about the rush hour.

Wiedefeld met Wednesday with the top administrative officers of cities and counties across the region at the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments to make sure all were clear on the track work and Metro’s efforts to get out information about it.

After the meeting, Wiedefeld emphasized that the repairs won’t be a remedy for all of Metro’s problems.

“It will be better, it won’t be perfect,” he said.

“The expectations, I think, may be high of what this is. Remember all we’re doing is rebuilding, in effect, the track. So stations don’t get improved. We still have issues with railcars. All those issues. But the goal here is to reduce the track-related delays that people experience and obviously (to improve) the safety,” he explained.

Track work will rotate to different portions of the system through March 2017.

Wiedefeld announced the yearlong repair plan in May. The work is intended to address years of neglected maintenance. In some places wooden rail ties will be replaced. Power and electrical equipment will be replaced in some spots. And in other areas, tunnel drainage problems will be addressed.

The scheduled repairs were revised to incorporate fixes identified by the Federal Transit Administration, which currently monitors Metro to ensure it meets certain safety standards.

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