- Associated Press - Friday, May 13, 2016

WASHINGTON (AP) - Metro said it will rework its schedule for a yearlong subway rebuilding project in an effort to accommodate a new order from federal transportation officials to immediately begin repairs on Washington’s subway system.

The agency will alter the timeline for “SafeTrack,” the rebuilding program that it had unveiled last week, Metro spokesman Dan Stessel told The Washington Post (https://wapo.st/1sjX4B1) on Thursday.

Officials say the repairs will reduce the risk of fire and smoke on the tracks.

Federal officials have been increasingly aggressive recently in ordering repair work in a subway system riddled with infrastructure problems after years of maintenance neglect. Authorities said in a final report issued earlier this month that poor maintenance and ineffective inspection practices were primary factors in the death of a passenger who was killed in January 2015 after smoke filled a train.

Still, Metro is not sure whether it can begin the work as quickly as the Federal Transit Administration called for in the Wednesday directive, Stessel said, comparing the rearrangement of plans to “moving around the pieces of a big puzzle.”

Metro General Manager Paul J. Wiedefeld reached an agreement during a meeting with Carolyn Flowers, the FTA’s acting administrator, to try to give priority to the work on three tracks listed in the FTA’s order, Stessel said.

One of the projects, which Metro had scheduled for 16 days starting Aug. 20, involves shutting down a stretch of the Orange, Blue and Silver lines that is a major route between downtown Washington and Prince George’s County.

Earlier in the day, Metro board chairman Jack Evans said closing such a heavily traveled section of the subway while schools are still in session would be problematic.


Information from: The Washington Post, https://www.washingtonpost.com



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