New Huntington entrance, shutdown work drive Metro capital spending over budget

A Metro train is seen passing through a station. (WTOP/Dave Dildine)

Metro is building a new entrance at the Huntington Metro station that will eventually mean riders at the Fairfax County, Virginia, rail station will no longer have to walk through an essentially condemned garage.

The new entrance is one piece of a significant increase in capital spending that Metro is seeking board approval for this week, even as work is already underway.

The Metro Board has been asked to approve a $300 million increase in capital spending, including $110 million for the budget year that ends Sunday night and $190 million for the following year.

As justification for the increases from the already approved $1.434 billion and $1.573 billion annual budgets, documents prepared for the Metro Board cite the “finalized scope” of platform repair and related shutdown work, like the new Huntington station entrance and additional planned Potomac Yard station construction during this summer’s Blue and Yellow Line shutdown.

The increases also are tied to the a number of factors:

  • Additional track work;
  • Water leak sealant efforts;
  • Track cleaning equipment;
  • A land purchase for a new railcar overhaul facility;
  • Business support changes, such as additional management costs for capital projects, roof fixes, “station commercialization” and office consolidation costs.

Metro plans to cover the additional costs with $329 million in debt (which includes the estimated interest costs) and additional funding from federal or other sources.

The increases are on top of an already approved additional $155 million, mainly for the platform reconstruction work and Metro’s new office buildings.

Metro’s budget amendments reduce the expected spending on bus and paratransit due to delays in delivery of spare bus parts, a reduced number of rehabilitation kits, and the decision to not purchase longer articulated compressed natural gas buses over the next year.

New Huntington entrance

The new entrance from the middle parking garage at Huntington to the middle of the Huntington platform will include a bridge to the other side of the station. The entrance and exit down the hill at the north parking garage will remain.

A new timeline provided ahead of Thursday’s Metro Board meeting projects the new entrance at the middle garage could open in 2021. Delayed demolition of the south garage and entrance could then be done over the following year, which could set up private development on the site.

During the current closure of the station, crews are laying the groundwork for the entrance from the middle garage, Metro disclosed this month.

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