More 24/7 Metro work to come after scheduled surges end

A Metro train at the Reagan National Station is seen in this WTOP file photo. (WTOP/Dave Dildine)
WASHINGTON — Metro’s round-the-clock track work zones focused on replacing crumbling wooden rail ties are expected to end within two months. But Metro General Manager Paul Wiedefeld said that will not be the end of delays for riders due to major repairs.

“SafeTrack does not solve all of our issues by any means. It was dealing with almost emergency-type issues. There are major capital projects that we have to do — there’s interlockings throughout the system, the chillers that we’ve got to do,” Wiedefeld said last week. “There’s all kinds of things that we still have to do, and they will impact the service. There’s no doubt about it.”

The Greenbelt station on the Green Line reopened Monday morning, and a major Orange Line shutdown is set to begin Tuesday. The final scheduled work zone focused on rail ties and similar basic track safety issues will be on the Red Line in June.

Any further work zones for major construction projects would come with significant planning and advance warning, Metro has promised.

“We have major interlockings we have to look at, we have a lot of elevated structures,” Wiedefeld said. “Again, we’ve been focusing primarily on the tie issues, but there are other major, major parts of this system that need to be addressed.”

Those issues include water getting into Metro tunnels.

“We’ll minimize [the impact] where we can, but some of these things are very complex, and they will impact us, there’s no doubt about it. And that’s not something that’s over the next year, that’s forever. That’s just as the system ages,” he said.

Wiedefeld likened the needs to a highway with a bridge that needed to be shut down to allow for crucial repairs and replacement.

The major Metro work has driven ridership down further over the past year, contributing to Metro’s plans to raise fares and cut service beginning June 25.

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