Here’s how Metro says it protects riders from falling debris

WASHINGTON — After pieces of the ceiling fell at the Rhode Island Ave. Metro Station Wednesday night, some riders are asking what Metro does to prevent similar problems from happening elsewhere.

Metro station managers are supposed to regularly look around the station and report any issues that may need to be addressed.

“Metrorail station managers regularly conduct visual inspections of the station, platforms and tracks,” Metro spokesman Richard Jordan said in an email. “In addition, all Metrorail stations are inspected yearly. That inspection consists of concrete sounding and the examination of any inconsistencies. If any deficiencies are discovered, the appropriate personnel are notified for further investigation.”

A 2007 oversight review by the now-defunct Tri-State Oversight Committee found the structural inspection group dealt with more than 3,000 reports a year tied to stations and other structures like parking garages, bridges and pedestrian walkways. Those all had to be maintained and prioritized.

The 2011 Metro System Safety Program Plan also outlines the need for station manager inspections. But that document also requires twice-a-week track inspections and regular interlocking inspections, and  federal investigators said, in a report issued this month, many of those inspections are not done or not done correctly.

Metro’s chief safety officer said track problems were not all properly classified in internal Metro databases to indicate the true risk.

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