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Metro makes 'em mad

People are going to be mad at Metro this weekend. The delays caused by track maintenance will be the longest and most extensive in months. At the same time, Washington is going to host three major sports events: Baseball at Nationals Park, soccer at RFK Stadium and playoff hockey at Verizon Center.

Those planning to ride the Orange, Blue, Red and Green lines can see details about the disruption here.

The Orange and Blue delays, starting at 10 p.m. and continuing through Sunday, will be the worst. Add at least 40 minutes to a trip through Rosslyn, where a rail switch is being replaced. Next worst will be the Red Line, between Medical Center and Friendship Heights. Add at least a half hour to a trip, also starting at 10 p.m. and continuing through Sunday. The Green Line delays are moderate. Add at least 20 minutes to a trip between College Park and Greenbelt from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.

The one that pushes all this over the top is the switch replacement at Rosslyn. Metro spokesman Steven Taubenkibel said this is the one that transit managers wanted to get done over Presidents' Day weekend by closing Rosslyn and Arlington Cemetery stations. Switch replacements are among the biggest repair projects that Metro does, and they're the most disruptive.

Taubenkibel said that once the snowstorms forced postponement of the Presidents' Day work, managers felt they couldn't wait until the next three-day weekend, at Memorial Day. The switches at Rosslyn are among the oldest in the system. Also, there are a couple of other projects coming up on the Red and Orange lines that need to get done over that long weekend.

Riders who travel the western portion of the Red Line on weekends feel like they've been singled out for special attention by the maintenance crews. They're right. Workers have been spending a lot of time repairing the tunnel, tracks, rails and rail fasteners in that zone for many months now. Metro had planned to start its Red Line rehabilitation project downtown, at the oldest stations. But officials decided that the deterioration up the line had to get tackled first.

By Robert Thomson  |  April 16, 2010; 3:10 PM ET
Categories:  Advisories , Metro , Weekend Work , transit  | Tags: Dr. Gridlock, Metrorail crowding  
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Are we still going to see signs that state that "to avoid delays, take Metro"?

Posted by: brandonssherman | April 16, 2010 3:52 PM | Report abuse

"Avoid delays, drive to events"

Posted by: wpjunk | April 16, 2010 4:06 PM | Report abuse

You know what metro should do this weekend? Shut down all escalators but one at each station in the system. That would be awesome.

Metro really sucks. Like do they really need to muck up 4 out of the 5 lines at the same time??

Posted by: Ellvee | April 16, 2010 4:34 PM | Report abuse

Repairs like this make me wonder why the line out to Dulles isn't being built with at least three tracks to allow express trains and maintenance without disruptions like what we'll encounter this weekend. At least that part of the system could avoid the 40-year-old mistake of building rail lines with only two tracks.

But since an additional track costs more money and would have required relocating parts of I-66, 123, 7, and the Dulles Access/Toll Road so the median would be wide enough, two tracks is all we get.

Our shortsightedness and desire to do things on the cheap -- as opposed to doing things right -- will continue to hold us back.

Posted by: jcbcmb68 | April 16, 2010 4:41 PM | Report abuse

It's almost as if Metro is TRYING to drive its riders into their cars.

Posted by: WashingtonDame | April 16, 2010 5:09 PM | Report abuse

Metro is doing a great job of getting me in a cab.

Posted by: brandonssherman | April 16, 2010 5:33 PM | Report abuse

Metro is doing a great job of getting me in a cab.

Posted by: brandonssherman | April 16, 2010 5:35 PM | Report abuse

Taubenkibel said they couldn't wait for the next 3-day weekend to schedule this track work, right? Instead, they picked a weekend with two (and then a third, when the Caps' made the playoffs, which were pretty much guaranteed) scheduled sporting events – and tourists in town. Can't someone at Metro operations look at a calendar before making these plans? #fail

Posted by: lakedestiny | April 17, 2010 9:38 AM | Report abuse

I cannot believe I'm saying this, but I'm glad I didn't manage to get Caps tickets for tonight. Basically, everyone in the state of Virginia who wants to use Metro either needs to find a way over to the Yellow Line (there ARE some great places to eat in Old Town Alexandria..) or face the mother of all delays getting through the Rosslyn tunnel. Oh, to get to the Yellow Line, you get to have fun on the Beltway. Also, I saw that they need two weekend now to finish the work at Rosslyn, so getting home from the Caps Game 5 on Friday is also going to be a lot of fun. Unless someone looks at the schedule and puts off the start of that work until Saturday morning...

Posted by: ValleyCaps | April 17, 2010 11:47 AM | Report abuse

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