Photo by PoPville flickr user Clif Burns
“With escalator performance at a six-year high, Metro today announced that customers who use U Street Metrorail Station will be the next to benefit from the installation of new escalators, as the transit authority continues to advance a $151 million project to replace more than 130 escalators by the end of the decade.
In order to expedite the project and reduce impact to customers, neighbors and businesses, Metro will temporarily close the 13th Street entrance for the duration of the project. This will allow Metro’s contractor, KONE, to replace the two adjacent escalators at the same time, reducing the project duration by about half.
The project is expected to begin on or about April 3 and continue for approximately six months.
With 618 escalators across 91 stations, Metro owns, operates and maintains the largest fleet of escalators in North America, including the longest in the Western Hemisphere. The transit system has seen escalator performance improve five years in a row as a result of major capital investments in maintenance and equipment.
“In 2010, Metro’s escalators were a symbol of infrastructure neglect and decay,” said Metro General Manager/CEO Paul J. Wiedefeld. “We have made significant progress. Today, escalator availability is the highest in years thanks to all the new escalators going in, and the many more that have been rebuilt.”
Since 2011, Metro has installed 65 new escalators, and another 23 units are expected to be installed this year. By 2020, more than 130 of Metro’s escalators will have been replaced by new units. In addition, 153 escalators have been rebuilt to “like new” condition in smaller projects that replace all of the escalators’ steps, handrails, motors, controllers, drive chains, and other critical parts.”