Huge Labor Day project on Red Line
Metro has released more details about a track work project that will have a huge impact on Red Line service over the entire Labor Day weekend. Metro plans to do several projects along the tracks. To clear room for the work, five stations will be closed in what amounts to the biggest maintenance shutdown in Metro's history.
Here are more details, but my best travel tip is this: On Labor Day weekend, you don't want to be near the eastern side of the Red Line when the stations from Glenmont through Takoma will be closed. Metro will follow its usual procedure of setting up bus bridges to connect those stations, but that will greatly lengthen your trip time.
From 10 p.m. Sept. 3, till the midnight closing on Sept. 6, The Glenmont, Wheaton, Forest Glen, Silver Spring and Takoma stations will be closed. The first open station will be Fort Totten, which also is a transfer station to the Green and Yellow lines. The stations will reopen at 5 a.m. Sept. 7.
Metro plans to operate free shuttle buses between Fort Totten and Glenmont. The transit authority advises riders to add 40 minutes to their normal travel times through that area. But if you recall the bus bridges that operated in that area after the Red Line crash, you remember that the buses are necessarily slow, because they are often on neighborhood streets, with plenty of traffic, stop signs and signal lights.
Metro still is working out the details on exactly how the shuttle system will operate.
The transit authority also recommends these regular Metrobus routes as alternatives.
-- C8 (College Park-White Flint) line, which serves the Glenmont Station.
-- J2 (Bethesda-Silver Spring) line, which serves the Silver Spring, Bethesda and Medical Center stations.
-- Q1, 2, 4, 6 (Veirs Mill Road) line, which serves the Shady Grove, Rockville, Wheaton, Forest Glen and Silver Spring Metrorail stations.
Some weekend travelers heading for downtown Washington may find it convenient to park at the public garages in Silver Spring and board either the S buses that run along 16th Street NW or the 70s buses that travel along Georgia Avenue.
Others might simply head for other rail stations. For example, the Greenbelt Station, just off the Capital Beltway at the end of the Green Line, has a big parking lot. Some travelers may be closer to the parking garages in Bethesda or Grosvenor, where they can catch the other side of the Red Line for downtown. Parking at Metro lots and garages is free on weekends. (Just make sure it's a Metro-operated facility.)
Why the holiday weekend?
Metro has set a pattern of doing major track work on the long holiday weekends when ridership is down. It's a lot more efficient and less costly than trying to do these things on consecutive weekends or as a long string of overnight jobs, when crews would spend a lot of their time just setting up and taking down the work zones.
The Labor Day weekend project will involve 500 workers doing several projects, some of them related to the National Transportation Safety Board recommendations following the June 2009 Red Line crash.
Track workers will replace two old track switches at Silver Spring, install 750 new track fasteners, 1,720 new cross-ties, 525 feet of new track, 500 new rail insulators, new heater tape, new tunnel safety lights and new communications cables that will upgrade underground cell phone service.
| August 3, 2010; 12:50 PM ET
Categories: Metro, Red Line, Weekend Work | Tags: Dr. Gridlock, Metrorail
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