Metro says it will conduct a two-year study of the Blue, Orange and Silver lines to try to figure out how to handle growth on the lines, which all share a single set of tracks between the Rosslyn tunnel and the Anacostia River.
The single-track design creates a major bottleneck that limits the number of trains that can cross between Virginia, Maryland, and the District of Columbia.
The limited capacity means that Metro can’t easily add more trains and has limited ability to work around service disruptions. With the current configuration, a disruption on one line can have a ripple effect on all three lines.
The study — dubbed the BOS Study — “will identify potential infrastructure improvements and service alternatives to resolve these issues,” Metro said in a news release.
“Our rebuilding efforts and ongoing preventive maintenance have improved Metro’s reliability to the highest levels in eight years, but it’s time to start thinking about the Blue, Orange and Silver lines’ infrastructure constraints so that Metro is well positioned to serve future generations,” said Metro General Manager Paul J. Wiedefeld.
Key issues and trends
The first phase of the study will assess key issues and trends and document why improvements to the Blue, Orange, and Silver lines are necessary. Subsequent phases will include the development and evaluation of alternatives, as well as a thorough analysis of costs and benefits, with recommendation of a preferred alternative expected to occur by the fall of 2020.
Ultimately, the study will identify and analyze a range of potential alternatives before recommending a “locally preferred alternative” to move forward with federal environmental review, full design, and competition for federal funding. Over the next two years, Metro plans extensive outreach to engage the community, stakeholders, and transit experts to gather feedback and make recommendations.
To learn more about the project and opportunities to get involved, and to track the status of the project, visit the project website at www.wmata.com/BOSstudy.