For the first time since late May, commuters who use the Huntington Metro station and five other stations south of Reagan National Airport will be able to ride the train to work on Monday morning.
Metro made the official reopening announcement on Saturday, and said on Twitter on Sunday that a rush hour simulation had been successful. The project is not over at Huntington and some of the other stations, however, and users can expect to see plenty of work when they arrive on Monday.
But Metro did hit its deadline for the massive project, which saw the six stations south of Reagan National Airport close for more than three months to allow their platforms to be reconstructed and for other work to be done.
“We are incredibly thankful to our customers, residents and nearby businesses for their understanding this summer as we reconstructed six station platforms – at the same time – in the largest and most complex capital project since Metro’s original construction,” WMATA General Manager Paul J. Wiedefeld said in Saturday’s press release.
At both Huntington and Franconia-Springfield, trains will be single-tracking for an undetermined amount of time. The tracks on one side of the platforms at those stations remain closed to allow for work on the platforms to be completed. WMATA said because the stations are each at the end of their lines, it does not expect the single-tracking to cause delays the way it would at other stations in the system.
The new platforms will have slip-resistant tiles, as will the tiles throughout the rest of the stations. The platforms will also have new stainless steel shelters complete with USB chargers. There will also be an improved sound system, larger display screens and new LED lighting throughout the stations.
However one of the most anticipated improvements at Huntington may the replacement of the mezzanine-to-platform escalators on the south (North Kings Highway) side. The three escalators — two single escalators and the one full-width escalator — all underwent a major overhaul during the summer closure, according to Metro. These improvements follow an overhaul of the two escalators running between the north entrance and platform that wrapped up just before the station closed in May.
The new canopy on the south kiss-and-ride entrance is also close to completion. But the ongoing construction around the station will require some adjustments at Huntington that other stations will not have to deal with:
Fare vending machines will not be available at the north entrance (Huntington Avenue) for approximately three weeks. WMATA says a mobile commuter store will be located in the mezzanine from 5:30 a.m.–12:30 p.m. on weekdays.
The walkway between the Huntington North garage and the middle garage will remain closed.
Preparation work for the new station entrance that will connect the middle garage to the platform also appears to be still in progress, although Metro did not indicate it will cause any disruptions. Some parking spaces in the middle garage were still blocked off for staging as of Saturday.
Additionally, the Huntington Avenue side kiss-and-ride lot will remain closed because it’s being used a construction staging area. There was also a minor snafu with the work is the new sign pylons, which have the wrong fonts. That will be remedied by the contractor who made the mistake, the transit agency told Washingtonian magazine.
And just in case of some kind of disruption on Monday, WMATA said in the press release that shuttle buses will be on hand at the stations as a backup.