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Displaced Floor Tiles Cause Scare at Clarendon Metro

by ARLnow.com December 14, 2011 at 5:00 am 5,608 16 Comments

The Clarendon Metro station closed for an hour last night after displaced floor tiles led to fears of structural problems at the station.

Around 6:30 p.m., Metro employees observed floor tiles popping out of place on the mezzanine level as trains passed through the station, according to WMATA spokesman Dan Stessel. Concerned about the possibility of an underlying structural issue, the station was closed at 6:42 and police and structural engineers were scrambled to the scene.

Engineers arrived at the station just after 7:00 and determined that the problem was merely “cosmetic” — caused by the cold temperatures and the vibrations caused by passing trains. The station was reopened at 7:41.

“It’s an unusual situation,” Stessel acknowleged. “But the workers did the right thing. We took action in an abundance of caution.”

During hour-long closure, shuttle bus service was set up between the Courthouse and Virginia Square stations.

Following the incident, a team of workers began ripping up the floor tiles just outside the station’s main fare gates. They were planning to place plywood over the ripped-up tiles as a “temporary solution” to make it easier for morning commuters to walk on the uneven surface, according to Stessel.

Permanent repairs will be performed in the coming days, Stessel said.

  • CrystalMikey

    LOL @ Metro stealing shopping carts.

    • Loocy


    • Steve S

      The real question is how did a Costco cart (left) end up in Clarendon? Clearly someone took it on the Metro from Pentagon City.

      • CrystalMikey

        Good one. I used to see those carts make there way to Crystal City all the time. Wonder how many carts that Costco loses in a year?

  • JamesE

    Hopefully no one broke a heel on those loose tiles on their way to the ballroom.

  • Sarah

    Phew, I got in and out of the station just in time. Thanks for the story, ArlNow!

  • Clarendon Cruiser

    Well, I am comforted by the photo that shows that there was no broken concrete (spalling) under the tile. I thought for sure the entire upper platfom had settled and a column was forcing its way up through the planform.

  • CW

    The article say’s 6:30, but when I passed through at 5:40, they had already blocked off the area shown (near the fare gates).

    • CW

      wow apostrophe usage…

  • RosslynBob

    As funny as it sounds Metro did the right thing.

  • Swag

    I had that happen in my kitchen once. Woke up one morning and the tile floor had swelled up like a zit. Took one step on it (not noticing what had happened) and the whole thing fell apart.

  • YTK

    They need to mill some ridges ionto those floor tiles so people can keep their footing when the tiles are wet.

    • CW

      Whoever decided that slick tiles were appropriate for this application in general needs to be imprisoned.

      • metro

        Especially at the outdoor stations. When those clay tiles get wet it’s like an ice skating rink out there. I definitely almost ate it on a daily basis when I lived in East Falls Church.

  • Courthouse Pat

    no, they claimed to set up a shuttle bus… big difference… i waited for 20 min at virginia sq on the metro stop side of fairfax drive… i saw a bus drop people on the far side and that was it. Eventually I decided to walk home.

    Most others trusted in metro’s incompetence or were otherwise close to home.

    • JennX

      Clarendon is really close to both Court House and Virginia Square. Unless you are physically unable to walk, I don’t understand why anyone would have waited for the shuttle anyway.


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