Huntington Metro escalator canopy now expected to be done in 2019

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The canopy being constructed to cover the outdoor escalator at the Huntington Metro station’s North Kings Highway entrance is not expected to be completed until the summer of 2019, more than a year later than an estimate previously given by WMATA.

In October, a WMATA spokesman said that construction of the new canopy was expected to be finished this spring. WMATA did not respond to questions in recent weeks about why the estimated completion date was moved back. A spokesman did say that the planned summer 2019 demolition of Huntington’s south garage — which connects to the North Kings Highway entrance — will have no effect on the canopy project.

Construction of the $2.5 million canopy is also taking place offsite, according to a Metro spokesman.

“The canopy is being constructed off-site, and on-site construction is expected to begin in late spring/early summer,” WMATA’s Richard Jordan told last month.

Preliminary work on the canopy project began in October, with safety barriers installed around the work area and land cleared along the hillside next to the escalator. However little visible progress has been seen since then.

Canopy drawing

Click to enlarge

Once completed, the canopy will cover an outdoor escalator that was finished in late 2016. Fairfax Countyinitially did not allow the new escalator to operate until the canopy was built, citing Virginia code. The escalator sat idle for weeks until the county and WMATA came to an agreement in January 2017 that the escalator could run in non-inclement weather, and that Metro would construct the new canopy within a year.

The new escalator was blocked off for more than two months earlier this year. It’s unclear why it was closed; a person familiar with Fairfax’s inspection process said the closure was not related to Metro not building the canopy within a year of the January 2017 agreement.

There have also been other communication issues between WMATA and the county. Metro applied for a building permit to construct the canopy in late 2017, and the initial request was denied by a county inspector. When asked about the permit issues, a WMATA spokesman said the agency was working with the county to acquire the necessary permits.

However, it turns out that Metro does not need to apply for construction permits for projects in the county other than escalators and elevators, according to Fairfax County Building Official Brian Foley. The county later canceled the permit application and refunded WMATA its application fees, Foley said.

The permit application has since been removed from Fairfax County’s online database.

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  1. Chris