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Starting today, the third stage of Metro’s SafeTrack maintenance plan begins, affecting Blue and Yellow line service in Arlington.

The third stage will begin at 8 p.m. on July 5, continuing until July 11 and it will involve the Blue and Yellow lines being completely shut down between National Airport and Braddock Road, in Alexandria.

Blue Line trains will run every 15 minutes between Franconia-Springfield and Braddock Road and every 12 minutes between National Airport and Largo Town Center.

Yellow Line trains will run every 12 minutes between Huntington and Braddock Road and every 12 minutes between National Airport and Greenbelt.

Riders will be able to take Metroway BRT buses for free, between Pentagon City and Braddock Road, to bypass the closure. For airport customers coming from stations below Braddock Road, shuttle bus service will run between the station and the airport.

The fourth SafeTrack stage will run from July 12-18 and the same lines will be shut down between National Airport and Pentagon City. That includes a closure of the busy Crystal City station.

Blue Line trains will run every 12 minutes between Franconia-Springfield and National Airport and every 12 minutes between Pentagon City and Largo Town Center.

Yellow Line trains will run every 12 minutes between Huntington and Braddock Road and every 12 minutes between Pentagon City and Greenbelt.

Shuttle bus service will run to National Airport from Braddock Road and Pentagon City. Metroway shuttle service will also be available for free during this stage.

For its part, Arlington County will continue to run the expanded bus service implemented for SafeTrack’s second stage. That includes expanded midday, evening and weekend service on the ART 43 between Rosslyn and Crystal City and additional 4o-foot buses to increase capacity on the ART 42, which runs from Ballston to Pentagon.

Arlington County is encouraging alternative commute options during the surge, such as teleworking, ridesharing, biking and walking if possible.

Video Courtesy WMATA

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Morning Notes

Daily food specials at Mister Day's in Clarendon

Power Restored at Market Common — Power is back on at the Market Common Clarendon shopping center, following last Tuesday’s transformer explosion and fire. The electricity is being supplied by mobile generators over the next two weeks, before the shopping center can be reconnected to Dominion’s power grid. [Facebook]

Fire at River Place — A fire broke out in the kitchen of one of the units at the River Place residential complex in Rosslyn Saturday afternoon. The fire charred the walls of the kitchen. Smoke spread to several floors of the building. [Twitter]

Some Inconvenienced By Latest Metro Surge — The second phase of Metro’s maintenance surge is entering its second full week and riders have mostly adjusted to the latest round of station closures and service changes — but some are feeling the effects more than others. The current phase of “SafeTrack” work will run through July 3. [WJLA]

AFAC Seeks Fresh Food Donations — The Arlington Food Assistance Center is asking gardeners to donate fresh produce to help feed families in need in Arlington County. [InsideNova]

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The second round of closures related to Metro’s yearlong SafeTrack maintenance plan is slated to take effect today, with big impacts to Blue Line service in Arlington.

Maintenance crews will work on portions of the Orange, Silver and Blue lines until July 3, according to a service advisory.

On the Orange Line, trains will not run between Eastern Market and Minnesota Ave/Benning Road. Orange and Silver line trains will run every 10 minutes between Vienna/Wiehle-Reston and Eastern Market.

Metro shutdown graphicOn the Blue Line, trains will not run between between Arlington Cemetery and Rosslyn. Trains will, however, run between Franconia-Springfield and Arlington Cemetery each weekday until 10 p.m. Yellow Line trains will run on a Rush+ schedule all day on weekdays to compensate for the loss of Blue Line service.

Metro will provide shuttle service for riders traveling to and from affected stations. Arlington County has also expanded ART 43 service, which runs between Rosslyn and Crystal City, on middays, evenings and weekends until Aug. 20.

Trains may be extremely crowded, especially during rush hour, Metro officials said. Regular riders are encouraged to use commuting alternatives such as carpooling or telecommuting.

Video Courtesy WMATA

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SafeTrack Metro work between Ballston and East Falls Church

The first SafeTrack maintenance surge, between Ballston and East Falls Church, is ahead of schedule, Metro GM Paul Wiedefeld announced today.

At the end of the day Monday, 96 percent of the planned work had been completed, with three days remaining in the schedule, Wiedefeld said. Continuous single-tracking on the Orange and Silver lines is still slated to wrap up tomorrow (Thursday), as originally planned.

“Given the importance of quickly getting into this intensive track rehab program, I am pleased with the work getting done in Surge #1, and want to thank the entire region for their support over the last twelve days,” said Wiedefeld. “While the immediate benefit for any surge is safety, as we conclude the surges, customers should see an improvement in track reliability and overall ride quality along this area of the Orange and Silver lines.”

The work done included rail tie replacement, insulator renewal, fastener renewal and leak repairs, as detailed in a report released by Metro.

Although early indications suggested that SafeTrack was causing delays for most commuters, the din of complaints on social media largely faded as the work continued. Riders who spoke to ARLnow.com outside the Ballston Metro station last Thursday (see video, below) said their commutes weren’t overly affected by the changes — fears of major overcrowding and delays did not materialize, at least in their experience.

Stage two of SafeTrack will begin on Saturday with shuttle buses replacing trains between Eastern Market and Minnesota Ave/Benning Road on the Orange, Blue and Silver lines. Blue Line trains will only run between Franconia-Springfield and Arlington Cemetery in both directions. The work is scheduled to wrap up by July 3.

Photo by Jackie Friedman. Video by Omar DeBrew.

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