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The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (Metro) was created by an interstate compact in 1967 to plan, develop, build, finance, and operate a balanced regional transportation system in the national capital area. Metro began building its rail system in 1969, acquired four regional bus systems in 1973, and began operating the first phase of Metrorail in 1976. Today, Metrorail serves 91 stations and has 117 miles of track. Metrobus serves the nation's capital 24 hours a day, seven days a week with 1,500 buses. Metrorail and Metrobus serve a population of approximately 4 million within a 1,500-square mile jurisdiction. Metro began its paratransit service, MetroAccess, in 1994; it provides about 2.3 million trips per year.
Metro is planning a three-year capital project that will reconstruct the outdoor platforms at 20 Metrorail stations to address structural deficiencies after decades of exposure to the elements. At many of these stations, temporary measures have been installed to stabilize the platforms to ensure passenger safety until reconstruction can take place. The project is estimated to cost between $300-400 million and will be the first major construction project to benefit from dedicated capital funding recently approved by the legislatures in Virginia, Maryland and the District of Columbia.
Rebuilding platforms is heavy construction activity that requires that tracks be taken out of service to allow for demolishing existing structures, access to the construction area, and concrete pouring.
Metro has already rebuilt platforms at 10 of the system's 45 outdoor stations; however, the process used previously resulted in years of single tracking and customer inconvenience. Rebuilding the two most recently reconstructed platforms, at Minnesota Avenue and Deanwood stations, took approximately three years.
Following extensive internal planning and consultation with construction contractors with the goal of minimizing customer impact, Metro developed a program that advances the reconstruction of the next 20 platforms primarily using extended shutdowns during summer months-rather than single tracking-to provide contractors with 24-hour access to selected work sites. The approach improves 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 by allowing Metro to continue to provide normal rail service elsewhere on the system.
Under the first phase of the plan, beginning next year, Metro is planning to demolish and rebuild the station platforms at Braddock Road, King Street and Eisenhower Avenue stations, resulting in a shutdown of rail service south of Reagan National Airport during the summer of 2019. Blue and Yellow line service will operate at regular intervals between the airport and Largo Town Center (Blue Line) and Fort Totten/Mt Vernon Square (Yellow Line). Six of Metro's 91 stations will be closed between Memorial Day and Labor Day 2019: Braddock Road, King Street, Eisenhower Avenue, Huntington, Van Dorn Street, and Franconia-Springfield.
Metro will partner with the jurisdictions and other transportation agencies to develop traffic mitigations and customer travel alternatives. Metro customers will be given at least three months of advance notice prior to any service change under the program.
Following the 2019 summer shutdown, Metro will reconstruct the platforms at Van Dorn Street, Franconia-Springfield, Huntington, and Reagan National Airport between September 2019 and May 2020. The location and configuration of these stations allows construction to take place while all rail stations remain open. During this phase, rail service is expected to operate normally except for the Blue Line in September 2019, which will be impacted by the reconstruction of Van Dorn Street Station.
The remaining 13 station platforms to be reconstructed in 2020-2021 are: West Hyattsville, College Park, Greenbelt, Rhode Island Avenue, Vienna, Dunn Loring, West Falls Church, East Falls Church, Cheverly, Landover, New Carrollton, Addison Road, and Arlington Cemetery. Service plans for these stations are being developed, including possible coordination with construction activity associated with the Purple Line in Maryland and the widening of I-66 in Virginia.
Metro GM/CEO Paul J. Wiedefeld on March 10, 2018 issued the following statement:
"This morning, the Virginia General Assembly passed historic legislation that will provide, for the first time, a dedicated funding source for Metro’s safety and reliability programs. On behalf of all Metro customers and employees, as well as the communities whose economic wellbeing depends on a safe, reliable Metro system, we are truly grateful."
Metro today announced nine new schools are joining Metro's University Pass program for the Spring 2018 semester.
U·Pass is now available to students enrolled in the Washington, D.C. programs at the following nine schools:
At about $1 per student per day, Metro's U·Pass offers an affordable transportation option for students to travel throughout the region for classes, internships, jobs and other activities.
Since the U·Pass program began in August 2016, students from American University, Washington College of Law and Carnegie Mellon University/Heinz College have taken more than 2.2 million rides on Metrorail and Metrobus using U·Pass.
The U·Pass program is available to any accredited college or university in the Metro service area. The decision to participate is made by each university community.
Metro is considering the redevelopment of the Park & Ride surface lot of the east side of the College Park-U of Md station into a multifamily residential building with ground floor retail. The proposed project concept by a private developer is anticipated to include:
To implement this joint development project, the surface lot on the eastern side of the station will be removed. In anticipation of this project, the State of Maryland and Prince George's County financed the construction of the 1,290-space Park & Ride garage that opened in 2005 to replace and expand the number of spaces lost from this proposed project.
Curtain grouting is a leak-mitigation technique used to treat an entire area that is leaking by adding a rubberlike membrane on the outside of the concrete tunnel wall. To do this, holes are drilled in the ceiling of the existing tunnel until the exterior of the tunnel is reached. From there, a proprietary polymer-based emulsion (PBE) grout is injected into the hole at high pressure, which begins cascading down the curved exterior of the tunnel (like the way chocolate syrup cascades down an ice cream sundae). Two holes are drilled every 10 feet for the injections. The holes are then sealed at the conclusion of the process. The injected material forms a rubberlike impenetrable membrane, or "curtain," between the exterior of the tunnel wall and the surrounding ground medium.
The contractor has successfully used this solution in the mining industry to seal ground water inflows - some with flow rates of 50 gallons per second.
Metro plans to test this technique in the two different environments that exist along the Red Line segment - one in a linear bored tunnel and one in a blasted-rock cavern. The linear tunnel segment that will be used for the pilot will be a 2,000-foot section of the inbound track between Medical Center and Bethesda. For the second test location, Metro plans to use the entire Medical Center interlocking area, which is a cavernous space that was constructed out of blasted rock.
Metro is seeking feedback on the two proposed projects: surface lot removal for a Capitol Heights Metrorail station joint development project and a surface lot reconfiguration at the Morgan Blvd Metrorail station.
Metro is considering the conversion of the Capitol Heights Metrorail station’s surface parking lot into a new multifamily residential project with self-contained parking for residents and retail space facing the Kiss & Ride area and the Metro entrance as part of a joint development project.
Metro's contractor, KONE, replaced the escalators two at a time in succession. The overall project took more than two years to complete, including site preparation, demolition and removal of the old escalators, installation of complex gantries and cranes to move the new escalators and supporting structures into place, as well as testing and tuning.
"Metro's infrastructure is aging and this is another example of the kind of investment that is needed across the system to provide customers with good, safe and reliable service," said Metro General Manager/CEO Paul J. Wiedefeld. "Before being replaced, these escalators were more than 30 years old and beyond their useful life. With these brand-new escalators customers will see the improvement."
With the completion of the escalators at Woodley Park, construction will begin Monday, June 5, to replace five entrance escalators at Cleveland Park Station. The project is expected to take 20 months to complete. The station's elevators will remain in service for the duration of the project.