Metro says work on the Yellow and Blue lines that has shuttered stations south of Reagan National Airport will take two weeks longer than expected to complete — and the opening of the new Potomac Yard Metro station, in Alexandria, has been delayed until sometime next year.
This is the second delay in the opening of the Potomac Yard Metro station. Located near the sprawling Amazon headquarters development, the station was originally slated to open in April.
Metro said in a news release Friday that the delay in completing construction work to tie in tracks to the new station comes after crews discovered soil issues “that affected the structural stability of the ground beneath the tracks.”
That work was supposed to conclude on Oct. 22, but is now expected to finish up Nov. 5.
After the structural issues were discovered, construction was halted until a remediation plan could be developed.
“This work was beyond the initial scope of the tie-in work,” Metro said in the release. “Reinforcing the ground below the tracks required removing any work already completed, excavating additional soil beneath 1,400 feet of track, and installing new subgrade materials to provide the required stability.”
Alexandria mayor slams delay
Regarding the delayed opening of the Potomac Yard station, Metro blamed a contractor’s “failure to meet the project delivery schedule.”
“We are frustrated with these developments on the Potomac Yard Station project,” said Metro Executive Vice President of Capital Delivery Andy Off in a statement. “The team has been working around the clock to push the project delivery team to perform in accordance with the schedule. Recently, it has become clear that the published schedule will not be met, unfortunately delaying the opening of this important station.”
He apologized to “our customers and the City of Alexandria.”
Metro did not provide a new date for when the station is expected to open, saying only that it will provide an update by the end of this year.
Alexandria Mayor Justin Wilson slammed the delay.
“The numerous delays to the Potomac Yard construction project are unacceptable,” he said in a statement. “This critically important project requires more intentional oversight by WMATA. Our residents and businesses deserve better from our partners.”
When the opening date for the Potomac Yard metro was pushed back last summer, Metro cited design flaws in its Automatic Train Control system for which it was responsible.
“This latest setback must be met with urgency and significant actions by WMATA and its contractor to recover from the time and money lost,” Wilson said. The City of Alexandria has provided specific operational actions to WMATA that we believe will more effectively manage the contractor’s efforts to complete this project in an expedited and efficient manner. The City is also demanding that the financial impacts of the numerous delays be assessed and adjusted by WMATA to the benefit of our community. ”
Since Sept. 10, six Blue and Yellow Line stations south of Reagan National have been closed to accommodate the construction work to tie in the new track. The Yellow Line tunnel and bridge are also closed for repairs through May 2023.
With construction now expected to last into early November, Metro said free shuttle bus service would also continue through Nov. 5. Metroway-Potomac Yard will continue to be free, and parking fees at Franconia-Springfield, Van Dorn and Huntington stations will also remain on hold.