Construction of the metro’s blue and yellow lines will require detours this fall

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Two subway projects will transform blue and yellow line traffic this fall as the transit agency prepares to open a new station and repair a bridge between Pentagon and L’Enfant Plaza stations.

Work to connect the new Potomac Yard Metro station to the system and construction work to refurbish a tunnel and bridge on the Yellow Line will begin on September 10th and will then last more than eight months, requiring the closure of stations on both lines. Metro has suggested alternative routes and announced it will offer a free shuttle bus service to help passengers navigate the disruptions.

The Potomac Yard station between Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport and the Braddock Road stations is slated to open in the fall to give Alexandria residents easier access to the subway. New tracks to come The station’s connection to the existing Metro rail system will require a six-week shutdown south of the airport, requiring the closure of six blue and yellow line stations by October 22.

Afterward, Metro must conduct additional testing and training on weekends and off-hours.

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The Yellow Line tunnel and bridge rehabilitation work is a separate project that will close the Yellow Line tunnel near L’Enfant Plaza station and the bridge over the Potomac River by about May 2023, and Metro’s chief engineer has the steel-lined tunnel identified as the agency’s top repair priority. Metro said workers plan to strengthen the tunnel’s lining to stop water entering while replacing miles of communications cables used by multiple jurisdictions.

Metro Interim General Manager Andrew Off said he understood the inconvenience both projects would cause.

“The project teams understand that station closures and service changes can be very disruptive to our customers and we are working hard to use the closure time efficiently,” Off said in a statement. “These projects will be carefully coordinated with local jurisdictions to ensure a convenient and reliable service is available across the region as we complete this important work to maintain and improve our system.”

Service changes will come in two phases, Metro said.

During the six-week closure of the blue and yellow lines south of the airport this fall, which will last through Oct. 22, the entire yellow line will be closed along with rail service south of the airport. Yellow line stations north of the airport are served by blue line and green line trains. Blue Line service is expanding as trains depart every seven to nine minutes from the airport and train stations in New Carrollton until 9:30 p.m., when wait times are around 15 minutes.

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According to Metro, passengers traveling between the Pentagon and L’Enfant Plaza stations should allow about 15 minutes of additional travel time. Meanwhile, the Green Line trains run every eight minutes and every 10 minutes from 9:30 p.m

Metro will offer seven free shuttles during this phase to replace rail service, including local and express shuttles that have fewer stops in Virginia and three shuttles that will cross the Potomac River. The shuttle schedule includes a local Blue Line bus that runs every 10 to 20 minutes between Franconia-Springfield, Van Dorn Street, King Street-Old Town, Braddock Road and Reagan National Airport stations.

The local Yellow Line shuttle service between Huntington, Eisenhower Avenue, King Street-Old Town, Braddock Road and Crystal City stations runs every 10 to 15 minutes. The shuttle won’t stop at the airport, Metro said.

Express shuttles are available between 4:30am and 9pm on weekdays and between 6:30am and 9pm on weekends. These include a Blue Line express shuttle that runs every six minutes between Franconia-Springfield and Pentagon stations, and a Yellow Line express shuttle between Huntington and Pentagon stations that also runs every six minutes.

Another set of shuttles will operate only during weekday rush hours — between Crystal City, Pentagon City, Smithsonian and L’Enfant Plaza stations every 12 minutes, Metro said. It won’t stop at the Pentagon.

A second bus will operate between the Pentagon, Smithsonian and Archives stations every 12 minutes. And a third will operate every 20 minutes between Mount Vernon Square in the district, Alexandria and Potomac Park.

The second phase will stretch from October 23 to May 2023 and begins with the reopening of the stations south of the airport. However, the yellow line remains closed with these Stations served by blue or green lines, Metro said.

Blue Line trains run every 12 minutes between Largo Town Center and Franconia-Springfield stations and every 12 minutes between Huntington and New Carrollton stations. After 21:30, trains arrive approximately every 15 minutes.

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Green Line trains run every eight minutes during the day and every 10 minutes after 9:30 p.m

subway will Operate three limited-stop shuttles that cross the Potomac River during weekday rush hours, the agency said. The first carries passengers between Crystal City, Pentagon City, Smithsonian and L’Enfant Plaza stations every 12 minutes. It doesn’t stop at the Pentagon.

The second serves the Pentagon, Smithsonian and Archives stations every 12 minutes. The third shuttle runs between Mt. Vernon, Alexandria and Potomac Park every 20 minutes.

Metro suggested riders also consider other travel options, such as the Metroway bus rapid transit line, the 16-year-old Columbia Pike-Farragut Square bus line that operates between Barcroft and McPherson Square stations — the additional service during the project will offer—and Virginia Railway utter. The VRE service is available at Franconia-Springfield, King Street-Old Town, Crystal City and L’Enfant Plaza stations.

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