As Metro winds down its longest total track shutdown yet on the Blue and Yellow Lines, riders on other lines need to prepare for closures next summer.
“Oh yeah … and the summer after that,” General Manager Paul Wiedefeld said.
Metro plans to provide more details about next summer’s closures in September or October, but it announced last year that platform repair and station upgrade work would focus on the Vienna end of the Orange Line in Virginia and the stations north of Fort Totten to Greenbelt on the Green Line in Maryland.
“I want to keep the focus on what we’re doing right now … but we’ll be coming out with a whole plan,” Wiedefeld said last week on a tour of construction at the Van Dorn Street station.
He has already met with Prince George’s County about the Green Line closures, he said, and Metro is also working with Fairfax County regarding the Orange Line work.
It is unclear how much of the work will be done with total shutdowns, and how much could involve single tracking. Metro’s plans for the shutdowns will include what type of rail service will be available across the rest of the system.
“Right now, let’s focus on this, get this over [with] and get people focused on what we achieved here. Come back and use the service, and then we’ll … start moving to that,” Wiedefeld said.
Laura Mason, who leads Metro’s major track work efforts, said details on next year’s closures would be released in early fall.
Metro is finalizing contracting plans for the Orange and Green Line work, including which stations will be fully or partially closed when next year.
The plans will incorporate lessons learned from this summer’s closures, Mason said, likely continuing the practice of large-scale contracting for the work to draw some of the largest construction companies to the project.
The next round of work is scheduled to include platform repairs and other station upgrades at Vienna, Dunn Loring, West Falls Church, East Falls Church, West Hyattsville, Prince George’s Plaza, College Park and Greenbelt.
Last fall, the Virginia Department of Transportation had been told the Orange Line closures at Vienna and Dunn Loring were most likely to occur from July 5 through Sept. 7, 2020, but no dates were certain.
Metro had initially announced the work at East Falls Church for winter 2021, but there is a chance it could be shifted, because the station serves both Orange and Silver Line trains, and the Silver Line extension to Dulles Airport and Loudoun County is projected to be open by then.
In summer 2021, Metro plans closures or long-term single tracking at the New Carrollton end of the Orange Line in Maryland (New Carrollton, Cheverly and Landover); Addison Road on the Blue and Silver Lines in Maryland; at Arlington Cemetery on the Blue Line in Virginia; and Reagan National Airport on the Blue and Yellow Lines.
Weekslong or monthslong work zones let Metro or its contractors do more work more quickly, Wiedefeld said.
“I understand it’s painful when you go through it, but then you’re done,” he said.
The platform-related shutdowns are in addition to any closures needed for other Metro work or for regional construction projects, like the Interstate 66 toll lanes along the Orange Line and the Maryland Transit Administration’s Purple Line near the Red Line tracks in Silver Spring and Bethesda. Some of that work could be coordinated with Metro’s shutdown plans.