Photo by PoPville flickr user Joe in DC
Following an intense period of rebuilding and modernization work virtually every weekend, Metro is taking a four-weekend break from scheduled track work to allow customers to enjoy cherry blossom season.
“While the work we do almost every weekend is necessary to get the system back to a steady state of safety and reliability, we are in a position where we can take a short break to let everyone enjoy the season,” said Metro General Manager and CEO Richard Sarles. “The spring break will give people an opportunity to experience the type of system we are working toward.”
This year’s break will take place over four consecutive weekends, today through Sunday, April 14. During this time, the only planned weekend work will take place after 10 p.m. on Sunday evenings, when ridership is light.
Metro is in the midst of the largest capital program since the original construction of the system, as crews work to eliminate a multi-year backlog of infrastructure needs. Rebuilding work is scheduled almost every night and every weekend.
Weekend rebuilding is more than 70 percent more productive than overnight work because, after setting up the work zone, personnel have 48 hours of uninterrupted rebuilding time. In contrast, overnight work windows only allow between three and five hours of productive time on the tracks. In addition, weekend outages are the only way to safely accommodate heavy construction activity, such as the platform rebuilding projects currently underway at Takoma, Fort Totten and Deanwood.
This fiscal year alone, Metro plans to tamp 32 miles of track, weld 1,000 rail joints for a smoother ride, replace 12,000 wooden cross-ties and more than 20,000 rail fasteners, and repair more than 2,000 tunnel leaks to mitigate water infiltration.