Starting Saturday, May 23, Metro will begin Phase II of its three-year Platform Improvement Project, addressing structural deficiencies at 20 outdoor platforms of Metrorail stations, a result of decades of exposure and structure erosion.
Last summer, WMATA conducted the longest shutdown in its history, closing six stations within Alexandria, as well as parts of Arlington and Fairfax counties. And now, in the coming weeks, Metro will turn its attention toward nine other stations west of Ballston on the Orange and Silver lines, all while the coronavirus continues to spread.
Since the global pandemic began, Metro has consistently seen drops in ridership on all of its lines through the DMV. As a result of this, WMATA has decided to combine the schedules of its two biggest capital priorities in Virginia: rebuilding platforms and connecting the Silver Line to Metro’s existing network, according to a late-April press release. Through the new plan, Metro will be able to reconstruct platforms at four Orange Line stations, as well as work on the Silver Line extension to Dulles International Airport.
Under the new plan, all stations west of Ballston—including East Falls Church, West Falls Church, Dunn Loring and Vienna on the Orange Line, as well as McLean, Tysons, Greensboro, Spring Hill and Wiehle-Reston East on the Silver Line—will be closed from the Saturday of Memorial Weekend to “the fall,” according to the press release. According to Metro, the affected stations generate a total of 1,200 customers per weekday, equal to less than 5% of normal ridership.
Kiewit, Metro’s platform contractor for the entirety of the Platform Improvement Project, has implemented new procedures and protocols due to the COVID-19 outbreak, including the mandatory use of face masks, among others. Plus, Metro will keep the previously determined 19, high-risk stations closed until further notice.
When construction begins, WMATA will continue to monitor changes in statewide regulation and climate, which may have an affect on the project’s finish date.
When essential businesses open and the stay-at-home order is lifted, commuters will have the option of taking shuttles to get to their desired destination throughout the duration of the shutdown. Shuttles will run seven days a week between 5 a.m. and 9 p.m. on weekdays and 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. on weekends. Below, find detailed information on available shuttle bus options:
- There will be service between Vienna, Dunn Loring, West Falls Church and Ballston through the Orange Line Loca.
- The Orange Line Express will provide direct service between Vienna and Ballston with no intermediate stops.
- The Silver Line Local will provide service between Wiehle-Reston East, Spring Hill, Tysons Corner and Ballston.
As for parking, there will be free spaces available at Vienna and Dunn Loring through the end of the summer shutdown.
For more stories on how COVID-19 is affecting daily life, subscribe to our weekly newsletters. Plus, if you’re interested in learning more about Metro’s Platform Improvement Project, check out our detailed coverage from 2019 here.