Red Line Tunnel Ventilation Upgrades Expected to Cause Around-the-Clock Single Tracking/Station Closures

Red Line Tunnel Ventilation Upgrades Expected to Cause Around-the-Clock Single Tracking/Station Closures

Per WMATA:

As part of Metro’s investment in safety and reliability, construction will begin in July on the first of two major capital projects on the Red Line that will upgrade the tunnel ventilation system and repair deteriorating platform canopies. The work is expected to cause significant impacts for customers, with around-the-clock single tracking and station closures.

“It is important that we continue with this safety critical work so that we are ready and able to resume normal operations as the region reopens,” said Metro General Manager Paul J. Wiedefeld. “We will be working around the clock, seven-days a week, to maximize efficiencies and allow us to get the work done more quickly.”

Beginning Saturday, July 17, and continuing through Sunday, August 29, Metro and its contractor will install new, more powerful fans in the tunnels between Woodley Park and Cleveland Park as part of a pilot project to improve tunnel safety in the event of a smoke or fire emergency.

The 24/7 schedule will help Metro reduce the duration of the project and minimize the impact to customers. During construction, trains will continuously single track between Dupont Circle and Van Ness. Crews, working in the tunnels more than 100 feet below Connecticut Avenue, will build the infrastructure necessary to add new evacuation fans at the base of the ventilation shafts.

Two weekend shutdowns will also be needed, with free shuttle buses replacing trains this summer. Additional weekend closures will be necessary in 2022 to complete the project, commissioning and safety testing.

The tunnel ventilation project was developed in response to a National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) directive to upgrade tunnel ventilation after the 2015 smoke incident at L’Enfant Plaza.

As the oldest line in the Metrorail system, the Red Line ventilation shafts and fans were installed prior to the establishment of the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) safety standards for transit systems.

Following the completion of the ventilation upgrades, Metro will begin work in September to replace the platform canopy at Rockville, with additional canopy repairs at Shady Grove. The concrete beam structures, original to construction in the 1980’s, are deteriorating.

The canopy project will take three months and require the closure of the Rockville and Shady Grove stations from September 11 through December 4. Free shuttle bus service will be provided to/from the closed stations.

Replacing the canopy at Rockville Station will require heavy equipment and the demolition of the existing structure, section by section. The new canopy structure will be pre-fabricated and lifted into place for installation.

Additional customer improvements will also be made to the canopy, including new, more efficient LED skylights, upgraded speaker system for station announcements, new digital screens for passenger information and new CCTV cameras for improved security among others.

During this time, Metro will also make repairs to the aging canopy at Shady Grove Station and perform other safety critical work to enhance service for customers. 

The ventilation improvements and canopy rehabilitation projects are funded through Metro’s 6-year, $9.7 billion Capital Improvement Program, which invests in system safety, reliability and the region’s economy.

Service Information:

July 17 – August 29

  • Continuous single tracking between Dupont Circle and Van Ness stations.
  • Trains will operate every 18 minutes between Shady Grove and Glenmont.
  • Additional trains will operate between Glenmont and Farragut North from opening until 7 p.m. on weekdays only to provide more frequent service.
  • Customers may also wish to use Metrobus Route L2 which runs along Connecticut Ave between Chevy Chase Circle and Farragut Square as an alternative.

Weekends of August 7-8 and August 28-29

  • Red Line trains will operate in two segments: Shady Grove to Van Ness; and Dupont Circle to Glenmont.
  • Free shuttle buses replace trains between Dupont Circle and Van Ness stations.
  • Cleveland Park and Woodley Park stations closed.

Additional weekend shutdowns and single tracking may be necessary in 2022 to allow for safety testing.

September 11-December 4

  • Red Line trains will operate normal service between Glenmont and Twinbrook only.
  • Free shuttle buses replace trains between Shady Grove and Twinbrook stations.
  • Shady Grove and Rockville stations closed.
  • Park & Ride customers at Shady Grove and Rockville may wish to use Twinbrook or White Flint as an alternative.
  • MARC and Amtrak service will continue to operate at Rockville, with no disruption to service.
  • Due to the staging of heavy equipment and construction materials, Metrobus and other bus service will be rerouted. Additional details will be provided at a later date.

Additional information about service and how to stay informed can be found on the Ventilation Project page and the Rockville Canopy page on wmata.com.

Photo courtesy of www.wmata.com

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