No work done during first morning of new Metro surge

WASHINGTON — Despite commuters sitting through single-tracking Wednesday morning in the latest round-the-clock work zone, Metro was not actually getting any work done.

Crews began working overnight to disconnect power cables to prepare for the planned track work. But Wednesday morning, crews identified additional cables that needed to be disconnected to keep workers safe. So no actual work was done until the both sets of tracks were de-energized after the Wednesday morning rush had ended.

For safety reasons, workers needed to stand clear of the tracks until Metro officials were sure that all of the power cables were properly configured, said Metro spokesman Dan Stessel.

“Power crews executed on the plan last night,” Stessel said in an email. “However, this morning, they discovered that there were additional cables — beyond the plan — that needed to be disconnected for worker safety.”

During Wednesday’s rush, crews were still able to move equipment into the work zone between the East Falls Church and Ballston stations. But actual work on the trakcs was delayed, even while riders coped with reduced service and trains sharing a single track.

In order to finish reconfiguring the power cables, Metro had to shut down a stretch of the Orange and Silver lines between the two station and added a previously unannounced bus bridge to take riders around the closure. Officials waited until after the Wednesday rush to close the track in order to reduce the impact on riders.

Stessel said the work to reconfigure the cables Wednesday morning took about 15 minutes once the tracks were clear.

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