WASHINGTON -- Metro's plans to close three rail stations over Labor Day weekend caught the transit agency's board members by surprise.
"By completing this work during the Labor Day holiday weekend, we will save more than $1 million in late-night maintenance costs that would have resulted in 150 days of single-tracking," said Gerald C. Francis, Metro’s deputy general manager and chief operating officer. "People can still take Metro to get where they want to go. It will just take a bit longer to get there."
Metro said the three Blue and Yellow line stations will close from 9:30 p.m. Friday to 5 a.m. Tuesday. The closures are unrelated to the June 22 crash that killed nine people.
Shuttle bus service will be established, but people flying out of National after Friday evening -- or flying in before Tuesday -- will have extra headaches if they plan to use Metro. They are advised to plan an extra 45 minutes into their Metro trips.
Board member Jeff McKay said Metro has fewer riders on Labor Day weekend than during other holidays, so disruptions should be minimal. But he said Metro could have better communicated its strategy.
Airport authority officials said this holiday weekend isn't especially busy for air travel, Metro said.
"Clearly, the track maintenance alert issued by Metro on Aug. 5 was inadequate as most Metro riders and airline travelers are just now becoming aware of the fact that service on two of northern Virginia’s three Metro lines will be completely disrupted during a holiday weekend," it read. "Public service notices through the media should have been made well in advance of this closure."