Metro plans to suspend Silver Line service and close nine stations in Northern Virginia from Memorial Day to fall, hoping to accelerate construction plans during the agency's summer shutdown.
WMATA already planned to close Vienna, Dunn Loring and East Falls Church stations this summer to reconstruct platforms.
Now, the agency says it will ramp up construction on a new section of the Silver Line. Metro says it's possible because of a massive drop in ridership and car traffic due to the coronavirus pandemic.
All stations west of Ballston on the Orange and Silver lines will be closed beginning Saturday, May 23, into the fall, Metro says.
On the Orange Line, these stations will be closed: East Falls Church, West Falls Church, Dunn Loring and Vienna.
On the Silver Line, these stations will be closed: McLean, Tysons, Greensboro, Spring Hill and Wiehle-Reston East.
Even outside Northern Virginia, no Silver Line trains are set to run. Orange Line service will run from Ballston to New Carrollton.
The goal is to make progress on extending the Silver Line to "phase II" stations toward Dulles Airport and to rebuild platforms at four Orange Line stations.
“This is about two things: working smarter and working safer,” Metro General Manager and Chief Executive Officer Paul J. Wiedefeld said in a press statement. “Closing the stations to get the work done while ridership is historically low allows us to limit the exposure of our frontline staff and contractors, move aggressively on our capital program, and minimize inconvenience to the public.”
Metro says that only about 1,200 customers have been using these stations on a typical weekday.
Virginia's stay-at-home order is currently set to expire on June 10. Metro says it's unclear when the stations will reopen because contractor Kiewit is still making pandemic safety plans for their crew.
But the closures on Metro are expected to last until fall.
Local shuttles will be available for riders who need to commute into Washington, D.C., or around Virginia.
These three shuttles will run every 10 minutes on weekdays and every 15 minutes on weekends during the same hours as Metro typically is open:
- Shuttle 1: Local service between Vienna, Dunn Loring, West Falls Church and Ballston
- Shuttle 2: Express service between Vienna and Ballston (no intermediate stops)
- Shuttle 3 Local service between Wiehle-Reston East, Spring Hill, Tysons Corner and Ballston
Shuttles will not stop at stations closed due to Metro's response to coronavirus, East Falls Church, McLean, and Greensboro, Metro says.
Metro plans to provide free parking at Vienna and Dunn Loring during the shutdown. Parking will not be available at East Falls Church.
For the time being, Metro reminds riders that you should only travel for essential purposes.