Metro (WMATA)

Yellow Line Service Resumes Sunday. Here's a Look at the Restoration

Service along the Yellow Line will resume Sunday, May 7 at 7 a.m.

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The Yellow Line reopens May 7 following extensive work between Pentagon and L’Enfant Plaza stations, Metro announced.

The transit agency began restoring the Yellow Line bridge and tunnel in September, according to a Metro release. For eight months, passengers have been relying on the Blue Line or using shuttle buses to access the six closed stations south of Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport.

"The wait is over! The Yellow Line 🟡 will reopen on May 7th! We can’t wait to welcome you back and show off our new and improved tunnel and bridge," @wmata tweeted.

News4 toured the Yellow Line construction site on Tuesday, going down 85 feet to see the work inside the tunnel.

A new steel liner was added to the tunnel during construction and placed below the water table of the Potomac River. It was needed to prevent water from leaking into the tunnel, according to the project manager.

“If we wouldn’t have repaired this, then the leaks will eventually increase, and the water would be coming in larger quantities. And you know, if the water level raised up to a certain level, so you wouldn’t be able to operate the trains,” WMATA Senior Program Manager Tatiana Kotrikova said.

On the tour, workers were putting concrete on the new liner by hand and smoothing it out. A process that prevents condensation from getting inside and rusting the tunnel. It also guides water down to the ground.

Water issues contributed to the death of one rider during an incident in 2015. Inside the same tunnel at L’Enfant Plaza, a train became stuck when burned-up electrical cables sent smoke billowing into the station.

Crews also placed a new support system on the Yellow Line bridge which runs over the Potomac River.

“Your roof will last 25 years and after 25 years you definitely need to replace it. It’s the same principle with the bridge bearings,” Kotrikova said.

In total, crews working on the Yellow Line replaced over 1,000 steel plates inside the aging steel-lined tunnel, 88 bearings on the bridge, miles of communications cables as well as other upgrades, according to the release.

In May, the Yellow Line trains will initially run every eight minutes on weekdays between Huntington and Mt. Vernon Square stations. After 9:30 p.m. and on weekends trains will run every 12 minutes.

Metro said the opening will reduce riders traveling time by up to 15 minutes.

Shuttles between the Crystal City and L'Enfant Plaza stations, and the Pentagon and Archives stations will end on Sunday, May 7 when Yellow Line service resumes.

The restoration was originally scheduled to reopen on Oct. 22.

This restoration is expected to last decades. Metro said this type of work will continue to be its top structural priority throughout the entire system.  

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