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Red Line Rehab Program Approved By Metro Board

The Metro board has just voted to approve a $177 million program that will rehabilitate the Red Line between Dupont Circle and Silver Spring over the next few years.

There was little discussion. Board member Peter Benjamin wanted assurance from staff that Metro would have the flexibility to redirect the money if necessary to deal with other contingencies, such as those that might arise out of Red Line crash aftermath.

After getting that assurance, the board voted in favor of the plan.

Here's a review of what's involved in the Red Line program.

There are lots of important improvements to the line in this plan, including fixes for platforms, stations, escalators and elevators and track. Also, it targets some of the oldest and most heavily used portions of the rail system.

My continuing concern is how close Metro will come to maintaining the train schedule while the work is underway. The idea is to start work at 8 p.m. on Sunday through Thursday nights. (This would probably be next year.) At those late hours, Metro officials say, it's possible to come pretty close to maintaining the train schedule even with trains taking turns on one track to get around the work zones.


By Robert Thomson  |  July 16, 2009; 11:55 AM ET
Categories:  Metro  | Tags: Dr. Gridlock, Red Line, rehabilitation  
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Comments

Didn't Metro recently get rid of its badly maligned construction group? It's my understanding that the GM was not thrilled with their track record, lack of organization, cronyism, unsuccessful completion of work within budget. So who's going to manage the work and wnsure the hundreds of millions are well spent? Do we get another dose of the old system again? Has Mr. Catoe given this any thought yet?

Posted by: heirgunther | July 16, 2009 1:04 PM | Report abuse

Didn't Metro recently get rid of its badly maligned construction group? It's my understanding that the GM was not thrilled with their track record, lack of organization, cronyism, unsuccessful completion of work within budget. So who's going to manage the work and ensure the hundreds of millions are well spent? Do we get another dose of the old system again? Has Mr. Catoe given this any thought yet?

Posted by: heirgunther | July 16, 2009 1:07 PM | Report abuse

From Dr. Gridlock: John Catoe did eliminate Metro's construction division a while ago. The construction division built the rail lines, so when the rail lines were done, Catoe decided, Metro no longer needed a construction division. He wanted to focus the transit authority's resources on running the system. Any further extensions -- like the Rail to Dulles project -- would be built by the jurisdictions involved.

A big maintenance project, like the one we're talking about now, would be contracted out. It would not have been the responsibility of the construction division.

Posted by: Robert Thomson | July 16, 2009 2:00 PM | Report abuse

Don't we need additional lines to eliminate these delays? Why spend $177 million and not fix the root cause of the problem, a lack of third and fourth tracks.

Posted by: anarcho-liberal-tarian | July 16, 2009 3:04 PM | Report abuse

I hope the rehab includes the four elevators in the relatively new Large Parking Garage at Shady Grove. At best only two elevators work at any one time, often only one and at times the Schindler Elevator repair truck would be parked at the garage so as to be on-hand for the next repair job. Because the garage is so new, it is hard to understand how the elevators could be so faulty. One wonders if there is to be a lawsuit to recover the costs from the contractor...

Posted by: iseyij | July 16, 2009 3:05 PM | Report abuse

"Don't we need additional lines to eliminate these delays? Why spend $177 million and not fix the root cause of the problem, a lack of third and fourth tracks."

Dr. Gridlock should correct me if I'm wrong, but my understanding is that retrofitting the current Metro subway for additional lines is a non-starter, not only because of the cost, but because you can't build additional tracks while running trains on the current tracks. Subways have to be built on rock, so enlarging the tunnels involves blasting, just as the original tunnels were built. No way you can keep trains running while that's happening.

Posted by: WashingtonDame | July 16, 2009 8:09 PM | Report abuse

Not to mention, $177 million might buy a few thousand feet of track. That's all. Adding 3rd and 4th tracks to the system is a billions of dollars project.

As WashingtonDame points out, the logistics would make adding a 3rd or 4th track to existing lines impossible, so the best we can hope for is an additional line paralleling the overcrowded ones.

Posted by: thetan | July 16, 2009 10:00 PM | Report abuse

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