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Metro says “plan now” for the eight-month-long Yellow Line shutdown that starts next month

Yellow Line Metro bridge over the Potomac (Flickr pool photo by John Sonderman)

Metro is telling riders to “plan now” for the months-long shutdown of much of the Yellow Line in two weeks.

Starting on Saturday, September 10, the Yellow Line bridge and tunnels will close for up to eight months to undergo much-needed repair work. At the same time, work will also continue on connecting the new Potomac Yard station to the main rail system as that station prepares for a fall opening.

These major construction projects will completely shut down the Yellow Line and bring major service changes to the Blue Line until at least May 2023.

While Metro is offering free shuttles and parking — plus the Virginia Railway Express will be fare-free — the impact on local riders will be significant. Still, while these construction projects are billed as necessary and anticipated, many remain worried about the disruption it could cause to daily life in the region for eight months.

The first phase of the shutdown will last from September 10 until October 22, a period of about six weeks. During this time, all six stations south of Reagan National Airport will be closed. That includes Fairfax County and Alexandria stations: Braddock Road, King Street, Van Dorn Street, Franconia-Springfield, Eisenhower Avenue, and Huntington.

The Blue Line will remain in operation and trains will depart every seven to nine minutes from the National Airport station for most of the day, though it will be every 15 minutes after 9:30 p.m.

Due to crowding and service changes, Metro cautions riders traveling between the Pentagon and L’Enfant Plaza stations to expect about 15 minutes of extra travel time.

Some “limited-stop shuttles” will also be available to take people from Arlington into D.C.

Metro also is warning about possible train troubles.

“If 7000-series trains remain out of service, trains will operate less frequently,” says Metro’s press release.

Also, don’t be alarmed by strange smells, says Metro.

“At times, the welding work and other construction activity in the tunnel may cause a noticeable odor for customers inside the station.”

The second phase of the shutdown will begin on October 23 and last until at least May 2023. While all stations will be reopened, there will still be no Yellow Line service. Blue and Green will service those stations that would normally just be Yellow. All trains coming from Arlington, Alexandria, and Fairfax County will be routed through Rosslyn.

Metro is promising “additional Blue and Green Line service to keep customers moving,” but it can also be expected that those lines and the Rosslyn station will be much more crowded during the shutdown.

Blue Line trains will operate every 12 minutes and every 15 minutes after 9:30 p.m. Three limited-stop shuttles crossing the Potomac River will still be available after October 22, but only during weekday rush hours only.

More on the free shuttle service that will be provided, via the Metro press release, us below.

Free Shuttle Service:

Seven free bus shuttles will be offered during phase one, including local and express shuttles in Virginia and three limited-stop shuttles crossing the Potomac River.

  • Local shuttles will be available during all Metrorail operating hours.
    • Blue Line Local Local service stops at all Blue Line stations between Franconia-Springfield, Van Dorn St, King St-Old Town, Braddock Rd, and Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport stations every 10-20 minutes
    • Yellow Line Local Local service between Huntington, Eisenhower Ave, King St-Old Town, Braddock Rd, and Crystal City stations every 10-15 minutes; No stop at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport Station, use Blue Line from Crystal City for travel to/from airport
  • Express shuttles will be available most of the day (from 4:30 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. daily, 6:30 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. on weekends).
    • Blue Line Express: Franconia-Pentagon Express service between Franconia-Springfield and Pentagon stations every 6 minutes
    • Yellow Line Express: Huntington-Pentagon Express service between Huntington and Pentagon stations every 6 minutes
  • Limited shuttles will be available during weekday rush hour only.
    • VA-DC Shuttle 1: Crystal City-L’Enfant (6:20 a.m. – 9:25 a.m. and 3:20 p.m. – 8:10 p.m.) Service between Crystal City, Pentagon City, Smithsonian, and L’Enfant Plaza stations every 12 minutes. Shuttle does not stop at Pentagon Station
    • VA-DC Shuttle 2: Pentagon-Archives (6:20 a.m. – 9:30 a.m. and 3:20 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.) Service between Pentagon, Smithsonian, and Archives stations every 12 minutes
    • VA-DC Shuttle 3: Mt. Vernon-Potomac Park (former 11Y Route) (5 a.m. – 9:15 a.m. and 3:10 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.) Service between Mt. Vernon, Alexandria, and Potomac Park every 20 minutes. Peak direction service only

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