Metro officials warned riders who travel throughout Fairfax County, Virginia, to use alternative means of transportation as the transit agency embarks on the longest phase of its SafeTrack maintenance plan.
The project’s ninth phase, or surge, starts Thursday and runs through Oct. 26 with continuous single-tracking on the Orange Line between the Vienna and West Falls Church stations.
As workers repair the tracks and other infrastructure during that time, the Vienna and Dunn Loring stations will be closed for four consecutive weekends with free shuttle bus service. West Falls Church will shut down for the weekends of Sept. 24-25 and Oct. 1-2.
“We ask for your patience once again,” Metro General Manager Paul J. Weidefeld said during a news conference Monday outside the Vienna/Fairfax GMU station. “There will be still be issues. We are trying to build a safety culture. By ignoring those things in the past, we were not dealing with them. In the last month or so, you are not seeing that. That’s a reflection of the employees seeing something and doing something about it.”
Fairfax County has already experienced two surges near the affected stations with maintenance projects on the Orange and Silver lines between East Falls Church and Ballston-MU stations for 12 and 13 days, respectively.
The upcoming surge will last 42 days.
Officials said about 30,000 weekday morning and early evening trips will be impacted at those stations along the Orange Line.
With limited rail service, commuters can use the Fairfax Connector Supplemental Express bus service between Vienna and the Pentagon that will run every 20 minutes.
Catherine Hudgins, who represents Fairfax County on Metro’s board of directors, said she hopes employers will give workers flexible schedules and allows them to telecommute that can prevent fewer vehicles on major highways such as Interstate 66.
“I want to encourage people to find alternative transportation that can help them,” she said. “We are telling people we’re making that investment in the Fairfax services so that we can get those folks who don’t need to be on the train to get to as many places as they can.”
For more information, go to http://www.fairfaxcounty.gov/safetrack/safetysurgeinfo_s9.htm.