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“Any updates from WMATA about the status of Dupont AC?”

by Prince Of Petworth June 5, 2017 at 2:30 pm 21 Comments

Photo by PoPville flickr user angela n.

“Dear PoPville,

Have you heard any updates from WMATA about the status of Dupont AC? It’s clearly still not working and it’s now been three years since I thought they said it would be fixed. I’m sure lots of people would love an update about whatever the heck they’re supposed to be doing.”

A couple weeks ago WAMU reported:

“Farragut North and Dupont Circle have been without reliable air conditioning for quite a while, and there’s no date certain for even temporary repairs, WMATA General Manager Paul Wiedefeld told reporters on Monday. As for a permanent solution, that could take years.

“For this summer what we’re looking to do is a temporary fix, which is to put a portable cooling tower,” said Wiedefeld, who would not commit to a date to having it in place. “We’re pushing as hard as we can. I’d love to get it in June. Let’s see what we can get to.”


“Update May 4, 2017

Farragut North and Dupont Circle stations currently have no cooling capacity due to the failure of 40-year-old water lines that run under Connecticut Avenue NW and connect the stations’ off-site chiller plant (located 40 feet below the median of Connecticut Ave) to a cooling tower located on the roof of a nearby building.

Since 2015, Metro and its contractors have made multiple attempts to repair the pipes, including identifying and patching individual leaks, followed by a complete relining of the pipes from within. Unfortunately, none of the repair strategies applied to date has been successful.

Currently, an independent engineering firm is reviewing the situation to determine the best course of action on a permanent fix, which may involve excavation of Connecticut Avenue NW to allow for complete replacement of the pipes. While that effort is underway, Metro is working cooperatively with the District of Columbia, Golden Triangle BID, and other stakeholders to install temporary cooling equipment while this complicated permanent fix is advanced.

Based on current project timelines, the temporary cooling capacity could be in place as early as June. We should note that, because these cooling lines run under Connecticut Avenue NW, the project may have an impact on motorists. The independent engineering review will identify solutions and strategies that minimize this impact to the extent possible, and we will continue to work with DDOT, Golden Triangle BID, and other stakeholders throughout the project.


Metro’s underground stations are cooled by chilled water air handling units, or “chillers,” not air conditioning. The chiller system is designed to reduce temperatures in stations for rider comfort. The hotter the outside air, the less the chillers will be able to do. By design, if the ambient outdoor temperature is 91 degrees, the chillers will bring the station temperature to 85 degrees.

We have ensured the tunnel and station ventilation fans are active at the two stations to provide passenger comfort; however, even with these efforts, the stations will seem warmer than usual until repairs are completed. We apologize for this inconvenience and thank you for your patience.”


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