Plan ahead for Metro Blue/Yellow station closings this summer

Metro has released travel alternatives and a detailed project website – wmata.com/platforms – to help customers begin planning for this summer’s closure of the six Blue and Yellow line stations south of Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport for full platform reconstruction and major station improvements.

The six stations — Braddock Road, King Street, Eisenhower Ave, Huntington, Van Dorn Street, and Franconia-Springfield — will be closed from Saturday, May 25 to Monday, September 2, 2019, to allow for around-the-clock work. Metro plans an extensive network of free express and local shuttle bus services to help customers get around the region during construction.

The station closures are part of Metro’s three-year Platform Improvement Project that will completely reconstruct the outdoor platforms at 20 Metrorail stations, making platforms safer and more accessible for customers with disabilities, while also addressing safety concerns and longstanding structural issues.

Crumbling Platform Braddock Rd Crumbling Platform Van Dorn St
Current platform conditions at Braddock Rd and Van Dorn St stations

“Thanks to the region’s investment in Metro safety and reliability, we are now able to get after these stations where there are structural deficiencies,” said Metro General Manager and Chief Executive Officer Paul J. Wiedefeld. “To reduce the length of time riders are inconvenienced, we have incentivized the contractor to rebuild deteriorating concrete platforms using an aggressive construction approach that reduces the project duration and contains the service disruption as much as possible to provide normal rail service elsewhere on the system.”

Metro’s contractor, Kiewit, will work concurrently at all six stations this summer to expedite construction and ensure the stations are ready to reopen for customers after Labor Day. To minimize customer impact, crews plan to complete as much invasive work as possible while the stations are closed; however, construction activity may continue into the fall with crews working in designated areas that will be cordoned off from customer access.

Providing customers with personalized travel alternatives is the first step in a three-month countdown to help riders prepare for this summer’s station closures. Metro has developed a personalized tool to help riders navigate through the long-term station closures. By selecting their start and end stations, customers will receive specific recommended travel options for their trip. Earlier today, Metro emailed nearly 60,000 registered SmarTrip card holders who have entered or exited this year at the six stations that will be closed, encouraging them to start planning now using the personalized travel tool available at the project website.

“As Metrorail continues to be a crucial part of our transit infrastructure in the National Capital Region, Fairfax County supports WMATA’s efforts to bring the system back into a state of good repair. We appreciate the patience of Fairfax County residents, employers and visitors as this important work is being done,” said Fairfax County Board of Supervisors Chairman Sharon Bulova. “To avoid increased traffic on our roadways this summer, we urge everyone traveling in and out of Fairfax County to plan now for alternate travel options such as bus connections, ridesharing, telework and alternate work schedules.”

“We are doing our part to help provide transportation options in conjunction with these important platform improvements,” said Alexandria Mayor Justin Wilson. “The City and its partners are expanding local bus, trolley, and water taxi service; managing traffic flow; emphasizing rideshare, pedestrian, bicycle, and mobility device use; encouraging telework and alternate commuting schedules; and other mitigation strategies. Our preliminary plans are detailed at alexandriava.gov and will be updated throughout the year.”

Summer 2019 Travel Alternatives

Free express and local shuttle bus service will be provided while the stations are closed. Customers should plan on adding an extra 30 minutes of travel time to their commutes.

  • Franconia – Pentagon Express
    Express shuttle between Franconia-Springfield and Pentagon stations
  • Blue Line Shuttle
    Shuttle between Franconia-Springfield, Van Dorn St, King St-Old Town, and Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport stations (No stop at Braddock Rd Station)
  • Huntington – Pentagon Express
    Express shuttle between Huntington and Pentagon stations
  • Yellow Line Shuttle
    Shuttle between Huntington, Eisenhower Ave, King St-Old Town, Braddock Rd, and Crystal City stations (No stop at National Airport Station)

Other convenient Metrobus options for customers include routes 8Z, 10A, 10E, 11Y, 21A, and Metroway. Metro plans to add additional buses to several of these routes to provide additional capacity throughout the duration of this summer’s Platform Improvement Project work.

Platform Project All Free Shuttles
Summer 2019 Shuttle Bus Options

In addition to working with the Alexandria Transit Company’s DASH bus system, which plans to operate one of the free shuttle routes, Metro is working closely with regional partners on additional alternative travel options and transportation demand management, including promoting existing transit services, park and ride locations, flexible telework policies, and carpool and vanpool options. Regional partners are also continuing to finalize additional service enhancements in coordination with Metro.

“With the Reagan National Airport Metro Station remaining open throughout the summer, we encourage travelers to plan ahead and continue using trains and free shuttle bus service to avoid potential roadway congestion at the airport,” said Reagan National Airport Manager Paul Malandrino.

About the Platform Improvement Project

The station closures are part of Metro’s three-year Platform Improvement Project that will completely reconstruct the outdoor platforms at 20 Metrorail stations, making platforms safer and more accessible for customers with disabilities, while also addressing safety concerns and longstanding structural issues.

The Platform Improvement Project is a major initiative under Metro’s 10-year, $15.5 billion Capital Improvement Program. Metro developed the Platform Improvement Project to advance the reconstruction of platforms at 20 stations while minimizing customer impact. The three-year project will primarily use extended shutdowns, rather than single tracking, to provide contractors with 24-hour access to selected work sites. This approach was developed to improve safety while significantly reducing project duration because workers do not have to repeatedly set-up and break down their equipment. The approach also minimizes customer impact outside the work zone by allowing Metro to continue to provide normal rail service elsewhere on the system.

“This critical rehabilitation project, funded by the additional $154 million in annual capital support from Virginia, represents a major step towards our commitment to return WMATA to the safe, efficient, and reliable service our citizens deserve,” said Jennifer Mitchell, Virginia Department of Rail & Public Transportation Director. “While the short-term pain of this major shutdown will not be easy, we are also working closely with transit providers across Northern Virginia to ensure commuters and visitors have ample public transportation services throughout the summer.”

Following completion of the first six stations, the remaining 14 station platforms to be reconstructed in 2020-2021 are Greenbelt, College Park, Prince George’s Plaza, West Hyattsville, Vienna, Dunn Loring, West Falls Church, East Falls Church, New Carrollton, Landover, Cheverly, Addison Road, Arlington Cemetery and National Airport. Service plans for these stations are being developed, including possible coordination with construction activity associated with the Purple Line in Maryland and the Transform 66 project that includes new lanes on I-66 and other multimodal improvements.

Customers can stay up-to-date on the project at wmata.com/platforms.

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Truman Lewis
A former reporter and bureau chief, Truman Lewis has covered presidential campaigns, state politics and stories ranging from organized crime to environmental and consumer protection.