The six Blue and Yellow Line stations that closed over three months ago are set to reopen on Monday, and Metro General Manager Paul Wiedefeld is both “excited and nervous.”
During a media event Friday on the Braddock Road platform in Alexandria, Virginia, Wiedefeld said inspections and testing will proceed over the weekend on such things as signals, power and the track.
Rest assured: Shuttle buses will be at the ready Monday morning for that station and the five other ones that have been closed since May 25: King Street–Old Town, Eisenhower Avenue, Huntington, Van Dorn Street and Franconia–Springfield.
But Wiedefeld sounded optimistic that Metro won’t need the shuttles. “Right now, everything looks good for Monday,” he said.
The project’s goal has been to repair deteriorating platforms and “all the other things we could do while we’re out there,” Wiedefeld said. These include track work and station upgrades.
When commuters return, they’ll see new stainless steel shelters, digital displays, renovated bathrooms, slip-resistant tiles, platform speakers and brighter LED lighting, among other improvements.
“This is also probably our largest construction project in a short period of time we’ve ever done,” Wiedefeld said. “… It was very stressful for us to do that, but the customers were very understanding, I think, of what we were trying to do.”
And while old commuting routines will resume around Alexandria, the work won’t quite be complete. Expect to see construction equipment and workers in the near future.
“With any construction project, there’s a ramp-down period,” Wiedefeld said. “… But from a customer perspective, using the train, they’ll be having normal service.”
More shutdowns are set for next year on the Green Line north of Fort Totten and on the Orange Line west of Ballston. Asked what the transit agency learned after this experience — which was not without its hiccups — Wiedefeld did single out the need for better communication, but later mentioned improvement “across the board.”
“There’s a series of things that you constantly want to do better,” Wiedefeld said.
WTOP’s Kristi King contributed to this report.