3 things to know about Metro track work: Aug. 22-28

WASHINGTON — Concerning findings from track inspections and a series of new safety directives mean there is no rush-hour track work scheduled this week, but a series of other issues instead, including the latest round of weekend shutdowns.

1. No scheduled rush-hour work

In a mix of convenience and safety needs following last month’s derailment, Metro now has a series of complete weekend shutdowns scheduled before and during upcoming 24/7 work zones.

Originally, Metro had scheduled round-the-clock Blue Line single-tracking this week between Franconia-Springfield and Van Dorn Street, but that has been delayed until Aug. 29 so that crews can first complete repairs on tracks that will get heavy use during that work zone. The repairs will be done during a complete shutdown of the Franconia-Springfield Station next weekend, Aug. 27-28. The Blue Line work zone, the eighth “surge” since Metro’s 24/7 track work began in June, is now scheduled to last through Sept. 11.

2. … But that doesn’t mean no work at all

Metro’s planned weeknight and midday single-tracking continues as usual, which is scheduled to include work at various times this week that could affect all lines at one time or another.

This work is in addition to the increasing amount of unscheduled work that comes as inspectors identify more problems in the system that must be addressed and maintenance crews follow through to fix them.

With concerts, sports and some other events picking up as summer winds down, riders should also remember that the Metro system now closes at midnight on Fridays and Saturdays rather than 3 a.m.

3. Look ahead, but not too far

Metro plans to change the 24/7 track work schedule to address many of the serious issues identified in a Federal Transit Administration track safety investigation and the review of last month’s derailment. Metro Transit Police could make criminal charges over skipped inspections or other issues tied to the derailment.

While riders await word on additional changes that are expected to be announced early next month, Metro said last week that riders can expect shutdowns on at least one stretch of tracks each weekend through at least mid-October.

After the 24/7 Blue Line single-tracking ends Sept. 11, Metro plans to begin 42 days of single-tracking between Vienna and West Falls Church on the Orange Line between Sept. 15 and Oct. 26. That work has been shifted to begin a few days later than originally planned, and it now includes complete shutdowns on weekends for four of the six weeks.

The next work zone, a three-week shutdown of the Red Line between NoMa-Gallaudet and Fort Totten, is scheduled to start Oct. 10. Given both the timing of the work and the location, it is expected to have the largest impact of any of the scheduled “surges.”

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