The construction of the blue and yellow metro line will require detours this fall

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Two metro projects will alter Blue and Yellow line traffic this fall as the transit agency prepares to open a new station and repair a bridge between Pentagone and L’Enfant Plaza stations.

Work to connect the subway’s new Potomac Yard station to the system and construction work to rehabilitate a Yellow Line tunnel and bridge will begin on September 10 and then last more than eight months, requiring station closures on both lines. Metro offered alternate routes and said it would provide free shuttle service to help passengers navigate disruptions.

The Potomac Yard station, between Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport and Braddock Road stations, is slated to open in the fall to provide Alexandria residents with easier access to the subway. New tracks that connecting the station to the Metro’s existing rail system will require a six-week service disruption south of the airport, which will require the closure of six Blue and Yellow line stations until October 22.

After, Metro will need to perform additional testing and training on weekends and after 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 until approximately May 2023. Both structures — built before Metrorail opened — are approaching their life expectancy, and Metro’s chief engineer has identified the steel-lined tunnel as the agency’s top repair priority. Metro said workers plan to reinforce the tunnel lining to prevent water intrusion, while miles of communications cables used by multiple jurisdictions will be replaced.

Metro’s acting chief executive Andrew Off said he understands the inconvenience the two projects would cause.

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

The service changes will be done in two phases, Metro said.

During the six-week closure of the blue and yellow lines this fall south of the airport, which will last until October 22, the entire yellow line will be closed, as well as rail service south of the airport. The yellow line stations north of the airport will be served by blue and green line trains. Blue Line service will be increased with trains departing every seven to nine minutes from the airport and New Carrollton stations until 9.30pm, when wait times will be around 15 minutes.

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Metro said passengers traveling between Pentagone and L’Enfant Plaza stations should allow about 15 minutes of additional travel time. Green Line trains, meanwhile, will run every eight minutes, then every 10 minutes after 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 will run between Franconia-Springfield, Van Dorn Street, King Street-Old Town, Braddock Road and Reagan National Airport stations every 10-20 minutes.

Local yellow line shuttle service between Huntington, Eisenhower Avenue, King Street-Old Town, Braddock Road and Crystal City stations will run every 10-15 minutes. The shuttle will not stop at the airport, Metro said.

Express shuttles will be available from 4:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. on weekdays and from 6:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. on weekends. They include a Blue Line express shuttle that will run between Franconia-Springfield and Pentagon stations every six minutes, and a Yellow Line express shuttle between Huntington and Pentagon stations that will also run every six minutes.

Another set of shuttles will operate only during peak weekday 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 Pentagon, Smithsonian and Archives stations every 12 minutes. And a third will run between Mount Vernon Square in the District, Alexandria and Potomac Park every 20 minutes.

The second phase will extend from October 23 to May 2023, and will begin with the reopening of the stations south of the airport. The yellow line, however, will remain closed with those stations served by blue or green lines, Metro said.

Blue Line trains will run every 12 minutes between Largo Town Center and Franconia-Springfield stations and every 12 minutes between Huntington and New Carrollton stations. After 9:30 p.m., trains will arrive approximately every 15 minutes.

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

The metro goes operate three limited-stop shuttles that cross the Potomac River during peak weekday 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 will run between Mt. Vernon, Alexandria and Potomac Park every 20 minutes.

Metro has suggested that passengers also consider other transportation options, such as the Metroway bus rapid transit line, the 16Y Columbia Pike-Farragut Square bus route that connects Barcroft to McPherson Square station – which will add a additional service during the project – and Virginia Railway Express. VRE service is available at Franconia-Springfield, King Street-Old Town, Crystal City and L’Enfant Plaza stations.

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