FTA Demands Immediate Fixes Before Rollout of Metro's SafeTrack Plan | NBC4 Washington

FTA Demands Immediate Fixes Before Rollout of Metro's SafeTrack Plan

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Urgent repairs are needed on three D.C. Metro tracks because of fire concerns, according to a letter sent Wednesday by the Federal Transit Administration to Metro's General Manager. It came as Metro commuters dealt with new problems near the Stadium-Armory station. News4's Transportation Reporter Adam Tuss reports. (Published Wednesday, May 11, 2016)

    What to Know

    • Last week, Metro released a draft of its plan to focus on repairing certain parts of its system.

    • However, the FTA told Metro in a letter Wednesday that it's going to need to shuffle its priorities.

    • The FTA said Metro must make immediate repairs to certain sections of track before beginning the SafeTrack plan.

    Metro is pushing back the rollout of its SafeTrack plan after the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) demanded immediate fixes Wednesday from the transit system.

    Last week, Metro released a draft of its plan to focus on repairing certain parts of its system, which will lead to single-tracking and shutdowns in some areas over the next year. But the FTA told Metro in a letter Wednesday that it's going to need to shuffle its priorities.

    The FTA said Metro must make immediate repairs to certain sections of track before beginning the SafeTrack plan:

    • Medical Center to Van Ness on the Red Line
    • Potomac Avenue to the D&G junction (an elevated section of track between Stadium Armory and Benning Road and Minnesota Avenue) on the Blue, Orange and Silver lines
    • Ballston to East Falls Church on the Orange and Silver lines

    Metro officials said they are reviewing the FTA's letter and plan to modify the final version of the SafeTrack plan.

    "While the draft SafeTrack plan issued by Metro GM [Paul] Wiedefeld last week was based on the professional judgement [sic] of engineers with a priority on safety, the FTA has directed Metro to make changes," Metro said in a statement. "As such, the draft plan will be modified. The final SafeTrack plan will be released as soon as possible, but likely will not be ready by the original target date of May 16."

    The FTA said that between April 23 and May 10, it has investigated 15 safety events, including nine events with smoke or fire.

    Metro officials said last week that its massive maintenance plan, known as SafeTrack, is expected to repair 15 critical areas of the Metrorail system. It will cause serious disruption for riders -- General Manager Paul Wiedefeld called it a "7" on a scale of 1 to 10 -- including closing some stations at 8 p.m. on some nights, weekday single-tracking and closing the system at midnight on weekends.