Washington’s Metro released final plans Thursday to shut down or restrict service on 15 segments of its rail system as the agency seeks to pack three years’ worth of much-needed repairs into nine months.
Five segments will be fully closed during the project and 10 others will be slowed by continuous single-tracking, according to Metro’s final SafeTrack plan which covers service disruptions on all subway lines between June 2016 and March 2017. The plan mostly conforms to a draft released this month, but the agency changed the dates of some projects after expanding maintenance work hours and outsourcing some work to contractors.
In the longest disruption, the Orange Line will single-track between Vienna and West Falls Church for 42 days in September and October. More than 100,000 expected Red Line passenger trips will not run from Oct. 10 to Nov. 1 between Fort Totten and NoMa-Gallaudet in the longest full shutdown of the overhaul.
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Metro — formally the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority — will add 40 buses to substitute for rail line disruptions, which the agency dubbed “safety surges.” The plan also includes earlier closing hours and a one-year ban on stations requesting early opening or late closings for special events.
The release of the final plan came ahead of a House Transportation and Infrastructure panel hearing on Metro safety and reliability scheduled for Tuesday. The top-ranking Democrat on the Highways and Transit Subcommittee, D.C. Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton said in a news release this month she planned to use the hearing to question whether the nine-month program would be sufficient to allow Metro to reach acceptable standards.
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The transit system has endured widespread criticism from lawmakers, federal regulators and riders after a string of operational failings in recent years, including a January 2015 smoke incident that killed a passenger.