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Metro Deals With Brush Fire

During a Live Online discussion today, readers asked about a rail situation and a road situation, and we have some updates for you.

One chatter told us this:
"I was on the Blue Line train today that encountered the brush fire on the side of the tracks ... The operator was professional and stopped our train and tried to extinguish the fire. I'm glad we were going northbound because the fire was on the southbound tracks."

Metro spokesman Steven Taubenkibel provided details about the incident:
The incident started at 10:29 a.m. outside Van Dorn Street Station on the outbound Blue Line track.

A Blue Line train operator on the inbound track reported the brush fire to the Operations Control Center, stopped the train and used a fire extinguisher to put it out. However, the brush was still smoldering. The control center told him to continue on with the train.

Metro offloaded a Blue Line train at King Street that was traveling toward Franconia-Springfield and used it as an inspection train to check out the fire spot. By the time train moved to the scene, there was still some light smoke and fire officials were notified.

Shortly after 11 a.m., Metro allowed one Blue Line train to travel down the inbound track to King Street and Largo Town Center. Based on what Metro could see between 11 a.m. and 11:12 a.m., operators moved two Blue Line trains past the scene on the outbound track to Van Dorn and Franconia-Springfield.

From 11:12 a.m. to 11:25 a.m., power was down to both tracks to allow firefighters to deal with the smoldering brush. Full power was restored at 11:26 a.m., and service resumed with continued delays.

Another chatter wanted the latest on the repaving along Georgia Avenue, north of the Beltway:
"A couple of months ago you answered a question about Georgia Ave (past the Beltway to Veirs Mill Roadl) being repaved and said it should be done by May. Well, it is truly a mess. There is one layer down over 2/3 of the road. The right lanes have nothing and are hard to drive on. All the grates, etc are high and look as tho a tire will pop if hit. Any clue as to when they will actually be finished?"

I've heard from community residents and commuters about this one. Bad weather earlier this year slowed down progess. The work is being done overnight to minimize the impact on commuters, but that's making for some sleepless nights among those who live along Georgia.

Chuck Gischlar, a spokesman for the Maryland State Highway Administration, told me this today:
The resurfacing project along Georgia Avenue is still moving forward. "We expect the right lane to be paved by the end of the week, weatherpermitting," he said. " We appreciate the patience of motorists in the area."

By Robert Thomson  |  May 7, 2007; 2:29 PM ET
Categories:  Metro  
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Next: D.C. Prepares for Bridge Shutdown


I've always wondered this: Why is it that the old pavement gets milled up but it takes months to get repaved? I understand if repairs are being made to the underlaying pavement and base, etc. But too often, we drive on this rough pavement for months on end with nary an indication of any work being done.

Posted by: cb | May 7, 2007 3:16 PM | Report abuse

Try that GA Ave on a motorcycle if you think its bad in a car.

Posted by: Stick | May 7, 2007 3:42 PM | Report abuse

I can report that on the NB side, they finally got the top layer down on the inside lane. Since my commute is against the flow, I got to experience it this morning.

Posted by: jmcnerney | May 7, 2007 3:59 PM | Report abuse

I hear you, Stick.

Posted by: cb | May 7, 2007 9:31 PM | Report abuse

Looks like the evening service for the blue and yellow lines was as messed up as the morning service. The wmata website says Pentagon City station is currently closed. That's it. Nothing about why or for how long or what the hell commuters should DO! Dr. G, my deafblind friend, commuting from Silver Spring to Alexandria, emailed me and said the following at 10 pm tonight (YES PM!): "There is emergency on the blue and yellow lines...I was stuck here for a long while. I asked for help and metro workers HAVE NO CLUE. I approached a DC police officer and he guided me to a bus from DC to the Pentagon just now. The metro is really crazy this morning and this evening. I advise you not to take it anytime soon."

Metro workers have no clue why the station is closed? Dr. G, despite all of the feedback you, riders, bloggers, and customers of the Metro give the management, change is glacial. The bureacracy is a joke, and I for one am at my wits end with all of it. I'm completely disillusioned with Metro. It'd be nice if there was some indication that Metro is listening and making changes. This issue of clueless workers, stuck passengers, and service disruptions should have been addressed decades ago! Why do the WMATA executives still have jobs? WHERE IS THE ACCOUNTABILITY?

Posted by: CyanSquirrel | May 7, 2007 10:40 PM | Report abuse

As the head of the Metro Union, we feel that we are grossly underpaid and grossly overworked. So we are demanding a raise of 10x our current salary and will only work for 75% of the time, which would equal out to about 45 minutes anyway. The other 7 hours and 15 minutes of our work do, please do not ask us anything. We've already put in our time and are just waiting for the day to end. Do you really expect us to do anything while we have this union to protect us from so much work for so much money? Our union is too strong to allow anyone to come in here and change it.

Posted by: Union | May 8, 2007 12:22 PM | Report abuse

I find it hard to back Metro on anything, anymore.

Their negligence towards customer service is unbelieveable. I'd be more than happy to learn how to drive a train, anyone else with me?

Maybe it'll take someone on top that won't accept it when someone says, we can't do that because... I always enjoyed riding Metro but their problems are becoming too frequent and too costly to even consider taking them anymore. Metro will be out of business in 5 years if they keep this up.

Posted by: Jarrod | May 8, 2007 12:24 PM | Report abuse

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