WMATA announces Yellow Line reopening date

Written by David C. Lester, Editor-in-Chief
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Work on water intrusion into Yellow Line tunnel was completed as part of the line’s rehabilitation work.

Metro is welcoming customers back to the Yellow Line on Sunday, May 7, 2023, beginning with the start of rail service at 7 a.m. The reopening will mark the completion of extensive rehabilitation work on the Yellow Line tunnel and bridge between Pentagon and L'Enfant Plaza stations.

Following eight months of construction for critical safety repairs, customers will once again have a reliable and convenient connection across the Potomac River between Virginia and DC, instead of only using the Blue Line. This will reduce travel times by as much as 15 minutes and give customers back valuable time. 

Initially, trains will run every 8 minutes weekdays and every 12 minutes after 9:30 p.m. and on weekends between Huntington and Mt Vernon Square. Blue+ service that has been operating between Huntington and New Carrollton will be discontinued once the Yellow Line reopens.  

“I want to thank our customers for their patience while we completed this critical work to ensure safe, reliable service for decades to come,” said General Manager and Chief Executive Officer Randy Clarke. “I’m also very proud and thankful to the dedicated women and men who worked to deliver this complex project on schedule and on budget.

Construction crews have worked around the clock since September to mitigate water intrusion in the decades-old, steel-lined tunnel and replace aging bridge bearings and expansion joints. The work included replacing over 1,000 individual steel plates held together by more than 12,000 bolts in the tunnel and replacing 88 bearings on the bridge. The project also upgraded the fire suppression system on the 3,000-foot bridge and removed and replaced miles of critical communications cables used by multiple regional partners. 

Yellow Line Service Change & Fiscal Year 2024 Budget 

Metro’s Fiscal Year 2024 budget includes a proposal to increase service in the downtown core service area by improving frequency on the Green and Yellow lines. To do so, Metro would turn back Yellow Line trains at Mt. Vernon Square, meaning Yellow Line trains would operate between Huntington and Mt. Vernon Square with service every six minutes. Green Line service would also improve from every eight to six minutes. Service from Mt. Vernon Square to Greenbelt would continue to be provided by the Green Line.

Under this proposal, 75 percent of Green and Yellow line customers would see more frequent service all day. Customers at the busiest stations in the downtown core service area could catch a train every three minutes, reducing wait times by up to 50 percent. Green Line frequency improvements would also benefit customers who use the southern part of the Green Line or access events and games at Navy Yard and Waterfront stations. If approved by Metro’s Board of Directors later this month, the improved service frequencies, and other fare and service changes would begin later this year as part of Metro’s Fiscal Year 2024.

Shuttle Routes to End

Over the course of the eight-month shutdown, Metro’s shuttles have provided more than 821,000 trips for customers impacted by the Yellow Line closure. Shuttle routes that have operated between Crystal City and L’Enfant Plaza, and Pentagon and Archives, will be discontinued with the start of Yellow Line service on May 7. Bus service between Mt. Vernon and Potomac Park will continue using the existing schedule until new Route 11Y service begins on June 26, 2023.

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