Segment of Red Line Shuts Down for 1st of 4 Weekends While Crews Work to Waterproof Tunnel

A segment of the Red Line closed this weekend so crews can attempt to repair problems with the leaking tunnel.

Two stations -- Medical Center and Bethesda -- are closed, and there will be no train service between Grosvenor and Friendship Heights.

The closures will happen for four weekends in a row, starting this Saturday and Sunday, and happening again during the weekends of July 22-23, July 29-30 and Aug. 5-6. 

Free shuttle buses will run between Grosvenor and Friendship Heights. Riders should allow up to 30 minutes of additional travel time, Metro said. 

The shuttle buses will operate on two routes:

  • Local shuttle buses will run between Grosvenor and Friendship Heights, also stopping at Medical Center and Bethesda. Riders should allow 10 minutes of travel time for each station stop, Metro said.
  • The express buses will run between Grosvenor and Friendship Heights only.

Trains will run at regular weekend intervals outside the work area, Metro said.

To allow for shuttle bus connections, the last trains of the night will depart: 

  • Shady Grove at 11:45 p.m. Saturday (40 minutes earlier than normal) and at 10:25 p.m. Sunday (regular time)
  • Glenmont at 12:33 a.m. Saturday and 10:33 Sunday (regular time)

In addition, as you plan your schedule for the work week ahead, keep in mind that Red Line trains are single-tracking on weeknights between Friendship Heights and Medical Center through Aug. 11. Single-tracking begins at 9 p.m. on those nights.

News4's Adam Tuss first reported on the possibility of Red Line shutdowns nearly four years ago.

Metro announced the closures in late June, saying they were due to a pilot program to test the use of a "curtain grouting" technique to add a waterproof membrane to the outside of the tunnel walls.

"Since this tunnel segment was constructed, Metro has fought a battle against Mother Nature, and Mother Nature has always had the upper hand," said Metro General Manager Paul Wiedefeld in a release.

In announcing the closures, Metro cited two incidents in June when Red Line service was suspended due to arcing insulators, snarling morning rush for commuters. Metro said the problems were caused by water infiltration.

Metro's announcement came just three days after SafeTrack, Metro's aggressive, year-long repair plan, came to an end.

"Just as we have addressed the root causes of track infrastructure problems and railcar reliability issues, I want to address the water infiltration problem head on and find a sustainable solution," Wiedefeld said in the release. "Our Red Line riders deserve nothing less."

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