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Metro awards contract for replacement of up to 128 escalators by 2020

by Prince Of Petworth — January 17, 2013 at 11:30 am 11 Comments

Photo by PoPville flickr user Sandra Sitar


Metro has awarded a $151.1 million contract for the replacement or modernization of 128 of the system’s 588 escalators by 2020 — a key part of General Manager Richard Sarles’ multi-year capital rebuilding effort known as Metro Forward. The contract was awarded to KONE Corporation through a “best value” procurement that allowed Metro to consider factors other than price, including technical excellence and past performance.

“Today’s contract award advances our commitment to improve escalator reliability for our customers for years to come. This is about reconstructive surgery, not Band-Aid solutions,” said Richard Sarles, Metro General Manager and CEO. “While we have already seen improvement in escalator availability as a result of better maintenance practices and resources, there are some escalators that are beyond their useful life and need to be replaced or completely overhauled.”

For a list of escalators to be replaced or modernized, as well as additional detail, please see the news release after the jump

The stations where escalators will be replaced or modernized are:

Archives (3 escalators)
Arlington Cemetery (4 escalators)
Bethesda (4 escalators)
Branch Avenue (2 escalators)
Brookland (1 escalator)
Capitol Heights (3 escalators)
Cleveland Park (5 escalators)
College Park (1 escalator)
Columbia Heights (7 escalators)
Congress Heights (7 escalators)
Court House (3 escalators)
Deanwood (2 escalators)
Eastern Market (3 escalators)
Friendship Heights (6 escalators)
Georgia Ave-Petworth (7 escalators)
Glenmont (7 escalators)
Huntington (1 escalator)
Judiciary Square (4 escalators)
Medical Center (3 escalators)
Metro Center (2 escalators)
Minnesota Avenue (2 escalators)
Mt Vernon Sq (5 escalators)
Naylor Road (2 escalators)
NoMa-Gallaudet (4 escalators)
Shady Grove (1 escalator)
Shaw-Howard (4 escalators)
Smithsonian (6 escalators)
Southern Avenue (4 escalators)
Stadium-Armory (2 escalators)
Suitland (4 escalators)
U Street (4 escalators)
Van Ness (6 escalators)
Waterfront (3 escalators)
Woodley Park (6 escalators)

Under the contract, up to 128 escalators will be replaced. However, 20 units may not qualify for replacement because current escalator code requires that replacement escalators be covered from precipitation. There are several stations where Metro may not be permitted to install canopies, such as Archives and Smithsonian stations.

All of the new escalators will meet the new American Public Transit Association escalator standards for use in a demanding, high-volume transit environment.

A total of 88 escalators will be replaced by 2018, with an additional 40 units scheduled for 2019 and 2020.

Metro has already completed the system’s first two major escalator replacement projects — at Foggy Bottom and Dupont Circle. At Foggy Bottom, Metro installed three new entrance escalators, added a staircase and installed a new canopy to protect the investment. At Dupont Circle, the notoriously unreliable escalators at the south entrance were fully replaced last year over a nine-month period.

The next escalator replacement project will begin in less than a month at Pentagon Station, where three of the station’s six entrance escalators will be replaced. The nine new escalators at Pentagon, Foggy Bottom and Dupont Circle are in addition to the 128 escalators involved in today’s award.

Metro’s escalator reliability improved in 2012 as a result of better preventive maintenance and recent replacement and rehabilitation projects. Escalator availability was up seven percent in the most recent quarter for which data is available (July through September 2012) as compared to the same period the previous year. In addition, fewer escalators went out of service unexpectedly during the quarter (down 14 percent) and repairs were less time intensive, indicating that the underlying health of Metro’s escalators is improving.

  • Anonymous

    Aren’t escalators just stairs that move? I wish there was some kind of funny, ironic quote from a comedian about this I could use here.

  • dat

    Wow, that’s over a $1M per escalator… seems crazy.

    On a similar note, the NH Ave entrance to the Petworth metro has been closed several mornings in the past few weeks (running up only with one side closed for maintenance), resulting in people crossing Georgia Ave in the middle of the block to get to the other entrance in morning rush hour…. They should just stop the upward escalator in the future so people can walk up/down (and use the elevator if they weren’t sufficiently mobile to do so).

    • Yeah, I encountered that and it was really annoying… all the more so because when I asked the technician who was submerged next to the escalators (at the top) if he was going to turn off the one going up, his reply — at first unintelligible — was just to point and say somewhat dismissively: “Other side.”

      Not “Use the ones on the other side of the street” or “Please use the ones on the other side of the street.”

  • Anonymous

    Why will this take 7 years? The phase 1 silver line will be complete in about 4.

    • How long *should* it take to replace 128 escalators? What does the silver line have to do with it?

  • Pete

    KONE Corp?? What is their motto- “we come from France”???

  • If NPS won’t allow a covered entrance on the Mall or Archives then they should foot the bill for repairs.
    Also – can WMATA replace the escalators from the platform to mezzanine with stairs? It’ll save money down the road and move more people. Plus, Americans can use a bit of exercise.

    • dat

      Agreed re: stairs. I think you should have to swipe your smart trip card to ride the escalators… maybe $.15 or $.25 or something would get people to take the stairs and get some exercise 🙂

      • Anonymous

        I hope gout takes both your ankles and arthritis gnaws at your hips until you can’t sleep without meds.

        • dat

          Relax, senior citizens would be automatically exempted 🙂

  • Anonymous

    it is time for metro to install motion sensors on the escalators so that they do not run continuously and break down. this is common sense technology that exists at the checkout counter of your local grocery store.


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