ALEXANDRIA, Va. — Metro is in the home stretch of its biggest rehab project ever. Six stations in Alexandria have been closed since Memorial Day. With a month until trains start rolling again on September 9, the transit agency showed off its work in hopes that riders will come back.
"This is probably the largest project in a condensed time that Metro has ever done," Metro General Manager Paul Wiedefeld, said.
Eight-hundred workers have been hammering away at a half-dozen stations every day for the last two months. The goal to rebuild outdoor station platforms such as Van Dorn Street. One in 10 rush-hour riders have been without service during this work blitz.
"I understand that it’s painful when you do it, but then you’re done," Wiedefeld said. "Versus doing this for three, four, five years of doing this which is what we used to do in the past, it would have taken us decades to catch up."
Metro said riders will be rewarded when they come back. New electronic signs will give more information about the next train. Brown outdoor shelters have gone stainless steel. The interior is more modern, too, with USB ports so riders can charge-up.
"It’s almost like a total rehab of the station when you step back and look at it," Wiedfeld said.
Metro thinks one of the biggest things riders will notice is new station floors. The entire platform at Van Dorn Street Metro covered in new ceramic tiles. They have a rough finish that is less slippery than old tiles, especially when wet.
But all of that work is superficial compared to fixes to the structure of station platforms. Pounded by the elements for decades, concrete was crumbling away. Brace-jobs here are now a thing of the past. But they still need to be fixed at more than a dozen other stations over the next two years.
Metro is celebrating one closure about to end with more on the horizon.
"This is a very, very, very large project," Wiedefeld said.