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Metro plans more track work for nights, weekends

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Local,Transportation,Kytja Weir,Metro

Metro riders can expect more delays and long waits for trains on nights and weekends in the next three months -- and beyond.

The transit agency's plans for major track work are on pace to continue unabated, with 43 scheduled projects that will restrict trains to share a single track and 11 shutdowns within the next three months, according to new Metro schedule. (Schedule: See web version at this link, or see the PDF version embedded below this story).

This weekend alone: Train service will be shut down on the Blue Line between Rosslyn and Pentagon stations, while trains will share a single track on the Green Line between College Park and Greenbelt and on the Red Line in two spots between Rhode Island Avenue and Fort Totten and between Van Ness and Friendship Heights.

The transit agency said it needs to continue doing the work to address safety recommendations, add cell phone service and maintain the system. "The outstanding amount of infrastructure and system work cannot be achieved without scheduled service interruptions that span from single tracking on days, nights and weekends to total weekend shutdowns," the agency said in a memo.

But Metro does plan some breaks. It will not perform track work during the Inauguration on Jan. 21 or the weekend leading up to it. It will take a break during the annual Cherry Blossom Festival, July 4, and the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays. The first three breaks are to accommodate tourists and visitors, while the latter two are generally to give workers and contractors a break.

It is not clear yet, though, whether the transit agency will respond to riders' concerns about minor holidays such as Columbus Day and Veterans Day when many commuters still have to get to their jobs. Veterans Day and other holiday weekend shutdowns are "being evaluated," according to a new report slated to be presented to board members Thursday.

kweir@washingtonexaminer.com

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