WMATA readies for summer Metrorail capital work

March 9, 2022
WMATA will advance the next phase of its platform reconstruction project, as well as the rehab of the Yell Line River tunnel and bridge crossing.

The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) will advance a series of capital projects as part of its planned investment in safety-critical infrastructure this summer. Additionally, the authority is readying for the opening of the second phase of the Silver Line extension and the opening of the Potomac Yard Station.

WMATA’s Yellow Line tunnel has been identified as the agency’s top structural priority by the authority’s chief engineer. In September, WMATA will begin a rehab project in the tunnel that will require a shutdown between Pentagon and L’Enfant Plaza stations, closing the Yellow Line crossing of the Potomac River for seven to eight months. Crews will rehabilitate the Yellow Line Bridge spanning the Potomac River and repair the steel-lined tunnels between Pentagon and L’Enfant Plaza stations, both of which date to original construction more than 40 years ago. Exact service plans will be released later this year as construction plans are finalized. The project is expected to be completed by the spring of 2023.

Construction of new tracks to connect the future Potomac Yard Station to the mainline tracks will occur between September and late October. Construction near the station will require a six-week shutdown of rail service south of Washington National Airport station to build new tracks that “tie-in” the new station with the existing Metrorail system. Engineering, testing and commissioning needed to integrate the track, power, communications and signal systems into the system will also be conducted during this time. This will be followed by additional testing and training to determine when service can begin. The station is expected to open this fall.

While an opening date has not been confirmed, the opening of the second phase of the Silver Line extension is expected later in 2022. The new 11.5-mile extension includes six new stations and a new rail yard. WMATA is working with Metropolitan Washington Airport Authority on remediation of open issues with the line before proceeding with final testing.

In May, WMATA will start platform reconstruction and station improvements on the eastern end of the Orange Line. Five stations - New Carrollton, Landover, Cheverly, Deanwood and Minnesota Ave - will be closed during the work. At New Carrollton, Landover and Cheverly, crews will demolish and reconstruct the concrete platforms. Deanwood and Minnesota Ave stations will receive upgraded safety and customer experience improvements. WMATA notes it will take advantage of the shutdown, to repair and strengthen aerial structures at numerous locations in the area.

In addition to the work on major projects, WMATA plans the complete the following in 2022:

  • Replacement of drainage pumping stations and discharge line piping at critical locations, including Medical Center, Wheaton, Metro Center, Federal Triangle and L’Enfant Plaza stations;
  • Tunnel leak mitigation work between Silver Spring and Forest Glen, and between Tenleytown and Friendship Heights; and
  • Tunnel ventilation pilot project’s final phase between Cleveland Park and Woodley Park; part of Metro’s effort to improve tunnel safety by upgrading the ventilation system and responsive to a National Transportation Safety Board directive following the 2015 smoke incident at L’Enfant Plaza.

“In order to maintain a healthy system, Metro needs an aggressive capital program. We will continue working with our regional partners to advance construction and rehabilitation projects that ensure a state of good repair for critical regional infrastructure. While service outages can be disruptive, we know they are foundational for maintaining safe and reliable service,” said WMATA General Manager and CEO Paul J. Wiedefeld. “We have a lot of work to do this year and we will tackle major state of good repair projects while also introducing new service.”

About the Author

Mass Transit Staff Report

Stories under this byline were produced through a team effort by the editorial staff of Mass Transit. 

To learn more about our team, click here

If you have a story idea, let us know by emailing [email protected]. Please review our contributor guidelines found here