WTOP Track Work Guide: 13th Surge (part 1), March 4-April 1

WASHINGTON — Round-the-clock track work significantly cuts Metro train service south of Rosslyn and L’Enfant Plaza through the Pentagon, Reagan National Airport, King Street, Franconia-Springfield and Huntington stations from March 4 through April 1.

The work

Metro plans to continue work to replace wooden crossties, fix electrical problems and do other basic rehab projects in the area between Braddock Road and Huntington on the Yellow Line and between Braddock Road and Van Dorn Street on the Blue Line. All trains are scheduled to share a single track south of Braddock Road from Saturday, March 4, through the end of the day on Saturday, April 1.

After that, the work zone shifts slightly for a week, from April 2 through April 9, which will allow Metro to run additional Blue Line trains.

From March 4 through April 1, Blue and Yellow line trains are scheduled every 24 minutes each at all times of day. There will be no Yellow Line “Rush+” trains between Franconia-Springfield and Greenbelt.

Metro does plan to run a few additional Yellow Line shuttle trains during the day between Reagan National Airport and Mt. Vernon Square.

Even including those trains, Metro has scheduled half as many trains at rush hour as usual between March 4 and April 1 on the Blue Line, half as many Yellow Line trains as usual at rush hour between Reagan National Airport and Mt. Vernon Square, and only a quarter the usual trains at rush hour to and from Franconia-Springfield, Huntington and King Street.

The workarounds 

Riders who typically use the Blue or Yellow lines to get to the Pentagon or downtown D.C. should consider other options, such as Virginia Railway Express, commuter and regular buses, or the limited free rush-hour shuttle buses Metro is adding between Franconia-Springfield and the Pentagon from 6–9:30 a.m. and 3–7 p.m.

Metro is also increasing bus service on the 10A route, which connects Huntington to Braddock Road, Del Ray and the Pentagon; the 11Y route between Mount Vernon and Potomac Park near the State Department; and the Metroway bus rapid transit line between the Braddock Road Metro and Pentagon City.

Other Metrobus routes that could provide alternatives include the 7Y between Shirlington, the Pentagon and Farragut Square; the 10B between Braddock Road and Ballston; the 10E between Huntington and the Pentagon; the 16X limited-stop service along Columbia Pike in Arlington to the Pentagon and spots in D.C. like Federal Triangle; the 25B between Van Dorn Street and Ballston; the 28A between the King Street Metro, West Falls Church and Tysons Corner; and the 29K or 29N between Vienna and George Mason University and the King Street Metro.

In Arlington, ART 42, between Ballston and Pentagon on weekdays and between Ballston and Pentagon City on weekends, along with ART 43, connecting Courthouse, Rosslyn and Crystal City, provide alternatives to waiting for what are expected to be packed Blue Line trains at Rossyln.

In Alexandria, in addition to Metroway, DASH routes AT3 and AT4 connect Braddock Road to the Pentagon, and the DASH AT7 provides an alternative between the King Street Metro, Eisenhower Avenue and Van Dorn Street.

From Fairfax County, Fairfax Connector Route 394 is scheduled to have enhanced express service between the free Saratoga Park-and-Ride and the Pentagon.

The county also suggests VRE, Orange Line parking lots or other park-and-rides as options.

VRE Fredericksburg Line trains serve Franconia-Springfield, Alexandria (next to the King Street Metro), Crystal City, L’Enfant Plaza and Union Station. Manassas Line trains stop at Burke Centre, Alexandria, Crystal City, L’Enfant Plaza and Union Station.

Biking around the crowds is another option, since the affected area has a number of trails.

Fairfax County has published maps of the bike routes from the Eisenhower Avenue Metro area north to Braddock Road, Braddock Road to Pentagon City, and from the Huntington Metro through Alexandria to reach the trail to D.C.

Additional bike trails connect D.C. and Rosslyn to the Pentagon, Crystal City and Reagan National Airport.

From Prince William County, PRTC’s Prince William Metro Direct route will shift the final trips of the night 15 minutes later than usual, and the 7:45 p.m. weekday trip will leave Franconia-Springfield at 7:55 p.m. during the work zone. A Saturday trip that usually ends at Franconia-Springfield at 9 a.m. will instead run from there to the PRTC Transit Center.

PRTC suggests its commuter buses to the Pentagon, Crystal City, the Mark Center or Ballston as potential alternatives during the surge for people who typically take the bus or drive to Huntington or Franconia-Springfield. That includes a midday trip between Dale City and D.C. from the Route 123/I-95 Commuter lot.

What’s next

From April 2 to April 9, disruptions are scheduled to ease ever so slightly as Metro adds back a regular schedule for the Blue Line. Yellow Line disruptions are scheduled to continue, including no Yellow Line “Rush+” trains between Franconia-Springfield and Greenbelt.

Metro is calling the next work zone a second part of Surge 13.

While the shift means that full regularly scheduled service returns to Rosslyn, major disruptions are still scheduled at all stations from L’Enfant Plaza south to Huntington and Franconia-Springfield.

The second phase of the 13th Metro track-work surge. (Courtesy WMATA)
The second phase of the 13th Metro track-work surge. (Courtesy WMATA)

To and from Huntington at rush hour, trains will still be scheduled only every 24 minutes. At Franconia-Springfield, trains are scheduled only every 12 minutes, and between King Street and Reagan National Airport, there are only about one-third as many trains scheduled as usual at rush hour.

The reduction in Yellow Line trains also means about 31 percent fewer trains than usual will be scheduled between Greenbelt and Mt. Vernon Square.

After the work ends at the end of the day Sunday, April 9, Metro expects the next round-the-clock work zone to be on the Green Line between Greenbelt and College Park. That will be followed by a very disruptive Orange Line work zone in May and June scheduled to include a very long single-tracking zone between Minnesota Avenue and New Carrollton.

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