WMATA tunnel ventilation project starts this weekend

Written by David C. Lester, Editor-in-Chief
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WMATA begins a significant tunnel ventilation project this weekend.

Metro is reminding customers of upcoming construction on the Red Line for improvements to the tunnel ventilation system. The work, beginning Saturday, July 17 through Sunday, August 29, requires around-the-clock single tracking between Dupont Circle and Van Ness stations.

The ventilation project is necessary to improve station and tunnel safety in the event of a smoke or fire emergency. During construction this summer, crews will build the necessary infrastructure to house new, more powerful smoke evacuation fans next to the Woodley Park and Cleveland Park stations. Installation of the fans, testing and commissioning will follow next year.

Crews will be working 24/7 to complete the work as quickly and efficiently as possible and minimize the disruption to customers. Trains will single track between Dupont Circle and Van Ness stations with service every 18 minutes along the entire Red Line. Weekdays until 7 p.m., trains will operate more frequently – every 9 minutes – between Glenmont and Farragut North.

In addition to single tracking, two weekend shutdowns at Woodley Park and Cleveland Park will be necessary on August 7-8 and August 28-29.

This pilot project addresses a directive by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) to upgrade tunnel ventilation following a 2015 smoke incident at L’Enfant Plaza. The ventilation shafts and fans are original to construction of the Red Line and prior to the establishment of the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) safety standards for transit systems.

Service Information:

July 17 – August 29

  • Continuous single tracking between Dupont Circle and Van Ness stations.
  • Trains will operate every 18 minutes between Shady Grove and Glenmont.
  • Additional trains will operate between Glenmont and Farragut North from opening until 7 p.m. on weekdays only to provide more frequent service.
  • Customers may also wish to use Metrobus Route L2 which runs along Connecticut Ave between Chevy Chase Circle and Farragut Square as an alternative.

Weekends of August 7-8 and August 28-29

  • Red Line trains will operate in two segments: Shady Grove to Van Ness; and Dupont Circle to Glenmont.
  • Free shuttle buses replace trains between Dupont Circle and Van Ness stations.
  • Cleveland Park and Woodley Park stations closed.

Additional weekend shutdowns and single tracking may be necessary in 2022 to allow for fan installation and safety testing.

For more information about the project, visit Metro’s Tunnel Ventilation Improvement Project page.

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