Jersey barriers block the entrance to the top level of the Huntington Metro station’s south garage.
The Huntington Metro south garage, slated for demolition next summer, will need to be closed immediately for safety reasons, WMATA announced Friday.
All cars parked in the garage will need to be moved by 5 p.m. Sunday, according to WMATA.
The decision to close the garage now was based on observations made by engineers earlier this week, Metro said. The engineers were inspecting the structure as part of the demolition process when they noticed concrete “that under certain conditions could come loose.”‘
“No structural concerns were found; however, in the interest of public safety Metro has decided to close the garage to parking,” Metro said in its press release.
The south entrance to the station, which is located on the North Kings Highway side, will stay open. Riders who park in the middle garage will also still be able to access the south entrance through the bottom level of south garage, Metro spokeswoman Sherri Ly confirmed. Commuters with reserved spots in the south garage can expect to have those located to the middle garage in the next two weeks, Metro said in an email those customers.
The south garage was constructed in 1983 and is the oldest in Metro’s system. The transit agency announced earlier this year that the garage would be demolished during the summer of 2019 when the entire station will close for three months for major repairs. The garage has been deteriorating for some time, and 350 spaces in it —including the entire upper two levels — have been closed since 2015.
Last week a piece of concrete fell from a column at near the faregates at the North Kings Highway entrance, but Ly said that incident did not figure into the decision to close the garage.
Metro has said in its press release that the two other garages at Huntington will be able to handle the extra vehicles, and Lee District Supervisor Jeff McKay said on Twitter that Metro officials had also promised him the other two garages had the extra room.
“I was assured that parking WILL still be available in the other two decks, which are about 72 percent full to-date,” McKay tweeted.
Even with the other garages picking up the slack, the timing of the Huntington garage closing is not ideal. The station will likely see increased traffic starting on Monday due to a 16-day capital project that will affect the Orange, Silver and Blue lines. Riders who use the Franconia-Springfield station in particular may choose to ride at Huntington due to a partial closure of the Blue Line that will limit trains from traveling beyond Arlington National Cemetery.