Repairs to disrupt Red Line over MLK Day weekend
Many of the maintenance projects that so annoy Metro riders when they are strung out across many nights and weekends will be concentrated into a repair program on the western side of the Red Line during the Martin Luther King Jr. Day weekend.
Look for this pattern to continue throughout the rail system during in 2010: extensive and disruptive repairs focused on one section of track over a long holiday weekend, sparing riders a dribble of disruption over many weeks and saving money for Metro.
The target zone for MLK Day weekend is the Red Line between White Flint and Medical Center. From 10 p.m. Friday, Jan. 15, through the midnight close on Monday, Jan. 18, the line will be split in two, with the Grosvenor Station closed. Free shuttle buses will bridge the gap. Allow 40 minutes of extra travel time to get through the work zone. The Red Line will be whole again at 5 a.m. Tuesday, Jan. 19.
Disruptive as that will be, the maintenance plan for President's Day weekend will probably have a greater impact on a greater number of riders: Rosslyn Station will be closed. The transit authority plans to release more details about that in a few weeks.
Red Line plan
The MLK Day weekend repairs on the Red Line are part of the larger rehabilitation project for the line that will continue through 2013. The weekend work includes installation of 1,400 feet of new rail, 310 new crossties, 200 tons of new ballast, 300 track fastener replacements, 600 new anchor bolts, repair of 200 feet of grout pads on the elevated tracks in that area and track circuit upgrades.
A normal weekend of maintenance work might involve a couple of those replacements; crossties and fasteners, for example. Metro's new goal is to collect a group of repair projects and then attack the zone. If all the work involved in the long weekend were strung out in the typical pattern of late night, overnight and weekend work, said Metro planner Jim Hughes, it would take about five weeks to complete. Plus, the rail replacement part requires that both tracks be shutdown.
Dealing with disruption
MLK Day weekend is a relatively low ridership time. Still, the repair work will disrupt travel for many. Here's how Metro plans to handle that.
From Jan. 15 through Jan. 18, the last Red Line train leaving Shady Grove will depart 30 minutes earlier than usual to allow riders to connect with the shuttle buses and the last train leaving Medical Center toward Glenmont.
From 10 p.m. Jan. 15 through midnight Jan. 18, Metro will operate the free shuttle bus to link Medical Center, Grosvenor and White Flint. At Medical Center, use bus bay F. At Grosvenor, use bus bay C to White Flint and bus bay D to Medical Center. At White Flint, go to Marinelli Road in front of the station.
The shuttle will operate every six to eight minutes during the days and every 15 minutes after 9:30 p.m.
I have yet to speak with a rider who liked getting off a train, getting on a bus, then getting on a train again. Consider avoiding this by driving to or taking a bus to the eastern side of the Red Line for a trip downtown. Glenmont Station has more than 1,700 parking spaces. Wheaton has more than 950 spaces. Silver Spring doesn't have a Metro garage, but there are several Montgomery County garages very near the station. Parking at those garages and at Metro garages is free on weekends and holidays.
If you're going to an event at Strathmore Center over the MLK Day weekend, consider driving to the Metro garage at Grosvenor. Though the station will be closed, the parking garage will be open.
January 6, 2010; 1:51 PM ET
Categories: Metro | Tags: Dr. Gridlock, Metrorail, Red Line delays
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