Many Metro riders have become accustomed to hiking up stalled escalator stairs, so - for them - Wednesday might be a celebration of sorts.
Metro marked the official opening of the three new escalators at Foggy Bottom as well as seven refurbished escalators at Union Station Wednesday. The Foggy Bottom portion of the project had been delayed, but started in January. The first of the three new escalators there was unveiled in July. All together, the ten escalators cost just over $8 million.
This is the first time in more than a decade new escalators have been installed at an existing station. But a Metro spokesman says the new escalators at Foggy Bottom aren't that different from those that have been refurbished. All of them now have new parts, but at the Foggy Bottom stop, the entire substructure under the escalators was also replaced.
Some commuters say they hope the opening is part of a new era for the aging system. Metro has had its share of escalator issues. Last February, an escalator at Foggy Bottom buckled, causing a woman to fall. And at the L'Enfant station last year, four people were taken to the hospital after an escalator there malfunctioned.
Starting in February, crews will begin constructing a canopy over the escalators at Foggy Bottom as well as a new staircase to run along side them. Next up? The escalators at Dupont Circle.
The transit authority will shut down the south entrance at Dupont Circle, starting in February.
The work is expected to take 10 months.