Starting Monday, three new escalators will be up and running at L’Enfant Plaza Station following eight months of construction that closed the north entrance at Maryland Avenue and 7th Street SW. The project, completed on budget, will provide better, more reliable escalators for customers and includes the latest safety features and LED lighting. The reopening of the north entrance will also restore the connection to Virginia Railway Express (VRE) and the closest Metro entrance for government agencies, office buildings and some of the most popular museums on the National Mall.
During construction, Metro’s contractor, Kone, removed all three escalators at once. New concrete encased support beams had to be installed before replacement work could begin. Each escalator is custom built to fit the entrance and is industrial grade, designed to be more durable for the weight and traffic of a busy station. The completion of the north entrance escalators is part of a seven-year project to replace 130 escalators by 2028 and brings the number of escalators replaced in the past two years to 39. Work will begin next year to replace the remaining six escalators at L’Enfant Plaza’s two other entrances.
In addition, Metro is currently replacing 11 escalators at eight other stations – Ballston, Metro Center, Potomac, Rockville, Silver Spring, Takoma, Tenleytown and Union Station – with construction beginning at Farragut North next week. The $179 million project continues Metro’s efforts to improve escalator availability and provide customers with a better experience from the street to the platform, on trains, buses and in stations. Metro owns 643 escalators systemwide, with some of the deepest stations and the two longest escalators in North America at Wheaton and Bethesda. Some of Metro’s escalators are now 46 years old and at the end of their useful life. At L’Enfant Plaza, the north entrance escalators were 39-years old making them more prone to problems, with obsolete parts that make repairs more difficult.
Information on Metro’s escalator replacement program can be found on the Escalator, Canopy and Elevator project page. Customers are also encouraged to sign up for MetroAlerts text or email messages to receive project updates and service information or contact Customer Service at 202-637-1328 with additional questions.