Reminder: Dupont Circle south entrance to close Wednesday, Feb. 1

by Prince Of Petworth January 31, 2012 at 1:30 pm 28 Comments

We’ve known it was coming…


The south entrance of Dupont Circle station, located at 19th Street NW, will be closed through October, beginning Wednesday, Feb. 1, to allow for total replacement of three escalators with new, modern units.

The project is part of Metro’s multi-year, $150-million plan to improve escalator and elevator reliability. Under the current plan, 94 escalators are scheduled for full replacement over the next seven years.

The existing escalators, each 188 feet long and rising 85 feet to street level, are among the least reliable and most difficult to maintain of Metro’s 588 escalators. Originally installed in 1997, the current escalators are non-standard (they were custom built to fit in the narrow entrance that was originally designed for two units), and their manufacturer no longer makes escalators, making finding replacement parts near impossible.

During the project, the three existing escalator units will be demolished and removed from the site; the area beneath the units will be modified; and new, standard size, industrial-grade escalators will be installed. Due to the tight nature of the work zone, each escalator segment being removed and installed will travel on three separate cranes between the site and street level.

A full closure of the entrance is required to provide for customer safety while heavy lifting of escalator segments takes place in a narrow workspace. As a secondary benefit, closing the entrance will allow the work to proceed on a faster timeline than would otherwise be possible.

Crane operations at street level will necessitate occasional overnight closures of 19th Street NW.

  • Place your bets

    Are there bets being taken re: how many days following the repairs the escalators will be out of order? I’m going to say at least 5, I have faith.

    • My gut isn’t telling me how long after it reopens it will be out of order but it is telling me that the south entrance will be closed not through October but at least till next Jan.

      We should take over under bets on Jan 1 for the south entrance to reopen.

      • Place your bets

        Completely agree. I thought it was implied that it would be a delayed opening in my post simply because, well, it’s metro. I say the bets involve both: delayed opening and out of order service just days after it opens. Classic.

    • paulette

      All bets will be in vain. They ain’t never gonna’ git that electric stairway workn’ agin – everrr. Yer bettar off with spelunking gear.

  • Anonymous

    “As a secondary benefit, closing the entrance will allow the work to proceed on a faster timeline than would otherwise be possible.”

    And yet it still will take half a year to finish?

    • mj

      Stimulus Package

    • Paulette

      I’ll buy the first 20 posters on this thread a beer at Circa’s (Conn & Q, north exit baby!) Happy Hour if the north exit escalator is repaired and up and running by 10.31.2012.

      • DJ

        Paulette, I think you already owe some people beers because the North entrance isn’t the one that’s closing…

        Just sayin’…

  • This is similar to what they did at Foggy Bottom. They had to keep that open and it has taken a very long time. Considering that its a shallow station and Dupont is one of the deeper stations I’m not surprised.
    Also – the work at Foggy Bottom is slowly restoring my faith in Metro. The roof on the entrance is going at lightening speed (for Metro).

    What is probably the bigger issue is how often the north exit will fail – I predict the north exit will be a staircase for the better part of the summer.

  • Anonymous

    As a regular north entrance user, GRRRRR. I hope they plan to have the third north escalator open by then. I don’t care if it works or not, but at least make it available as stairs.

    • 17thSter

      As a south exit user double GRRRRR.

      • Anonymous

        As someone who does not use this metro, meh.

  • caballero

    A poorly written document. WMATA needs an editor.

    • Really? I think it’s pretty good.

      In the early 90s, Metro could do no wrong. It was widely, almost universally, praised. I still think it’s a pretty good system. So it’s funny/sad now to hear all the complaints and criticisms from everywhere — some deserved, some not.

      • ah

        In the early 90s, much of the system was 10-15 years old. Now it is 30+ years old in most spots.

        • a_w

          Ah the early nineties when I too was 15-17 years old. Now, like the metro most of my parts are 30+ years old and starting to break down.

      • That is because the system was still a teenager, 13-17 years old.

        Fare increases were small and only happened every 3-4 years.

        People liked it because it was still new enough that even though they weren’t spending any real money on maintenance it wasn’t plagued with problems.

        Same goes with the biggest cost today, labor and pension obligations which have been climbing at double digits every year for the past 10 years.

        Basically…it was like your brand new car before it got to the 5 year mark and the warranty expired and stuff started breaking.

        • Those were the days. I miss them.

    • A poorly done map as well. Some of the labels are partially obscured. You never do that on a well-crafted map.

  • Anonymous

    Does anyone know if the Circulator stop on 19th and N will be moved? I often take Metro to Dupont and take the Circulator to work, and it doesn’t make much sense for them to keep the stop located there if there’s not a metro entrance.

  • Ugh! The North entrance is bad enough without this!

  • Someone clarify

    Isn’t one of the main north escalators still down? It’s been out of service for months, with an estimated finish date of January 2012.

  • Anonymous

    The north escalators were built by Westinghouse (another defunct escalator manufacturer) and were installed in 1977. Strange that the escalators that were installed 20 years later have to be replaced first.

  • paulette

    I’d like to know who Metro has as their escalator/elevator contractor? I think the entire situation of constant out-of-service escalators and elevators is a scam. I’ve been to other countries where public transit rail usage doubles or triples that of DC’s and you rarely find escalators or elevators not working. And when you do, they are repaired within a sensible amount of time, like 2 days.

    • frequent London visitor

      I was in London around Christmas and took the Tube (the London Underground) all over the place.

      I ran into only ONE broken escalator (marked with a very apologetic sign).

      When I returned home, four of the five escalators at a single station — Georgia Ave.-Petworth — were broken.

  • sssdc1

    Please support the Dupont Krispy Kreme while that Metro entrance is closed. I’m worried that they will lose a lot of business. That KK shop makes me happy.

    • paulette

      Yeah they should relocate. It’s always been bad feng shui south Dupont style.

  • paulette

    Why are industrial grade escalators available now but not in ’97?


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