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What you need to know about the months-long Yellow Line shutdown

Huntington Metro station (staff photo by Matt Blitz)

Shuttles, increased capacity, and an extension of the Blue Line are among the changes Metro will make to help riders when the Yellow Line shuts down this weekend, a closure that will last eight months.

Starting this Saturday (Sept. 10), the Yellow Line bridge and tunnels will close until May 2023 for long-overdue repair work. Construction will also be done to connect the new Potomac Yard station to the main rail system so that station can open this fall.

Both projects will result in a months-long shutdown of the Yellow Line, which runs through Arlington, Alexandria, and Fairfax County. Parts of the Blue Line will also be closed through Oct. 22.

While this will undoubtedly inconvenience many local riders, Metro hopes to mitigate the impact of the construction and shutdown, which will happen in two phases.

During the first phase, which begins Saturday (Sept. 10) and lasts through Oct. 22, all six Blue and Yellow Line stations south of Reagan National Airport will be closed, as the Potomac Yard construction is completed. Those stations include Braddock Road, King Street, Van Dorn Street, Franconia-Springfield, Eisenhower Avenue, and Huntington.

Metro will offer seven free shuttles will be offered during this time. Options include local, express, and limited-stop shuttles that cross the Potomac River.

The local shuttles will stop at all Metro stations and be available during all Metrorail operating hours.

  • Blue Line Local: Between Franconia, Van Dorn Street, King Street, Braddock Road, and National Airport stations every 10-20 minutes
  • Yellow Line Local: Between Huntington, Eisenhower Avenue, King Street, Braddock Road, and Crystal City stations every 10-15 minutes.

Express shuttles, which will stop at the Pentagon and at the end of each line, will be available from 4:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. on weekdays, and from 6:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. on weekends.

  • Blue Line Express: Franconia-Pentagon Express service between Franconia and Pentagon stations every six minutes.
  • Yellow Line Express: Huntington-Pentagon Express service between Huntington and Pentagon stations every six minutes.

Limited shuttles, which will take riders into D.C., will be available during weekday rush hours only.

  • VA-DC Shuttle 1: Between Crystal City, Pentagon City, Smithsonian, and L’Enfant Plaza stations every 12 minutes
  • VA-DC Shuttle 2: Between Pentagon, Smithsonian, and Archives stations every 12 minutes.
  • VA-DC Shuttle 3 (former 11Y route): Between Mt. Vernon, Alexandria, and Potomac Park stations every 20 minutes. Peak direction service only.

Metro will increase capacity on the other lines by shortening wait times and increasing the length of railcars.

For the portion of the Blue Line that’s still open, trains will arrive every 15 minutes as opposed to every 20 minutes.

In addition, parking will be free through Oct. 22 at the Van Dorn Street, Huntington, and Franconia stations, which all have parking lots.

Virginia Railway Express and the Metroway to Potomac Yard bus rapid transit line will also both be fare-free for the next six weeks.

The second phase of the shutdown will run from Oct. 23 to at least May 2023. All Blue Line stations south of the airport will reopen, but there will still be no Yellow Line service. All stations will only be served by the Blue Line, and all trains will be routed through Rosslyn.

For the Eisenhower Avenue and Huntington stations, which are normally only serviced by the Yellow Line, trains will come every 12 minutes during the day and every 15 minutes after 9:30 p.m.

The limited-stop shuttles crossing the Potomac River will continue during the shutdown’s second phase.

Also, Metro says don’t worry about any strange smells.

“At times, the welding work and other construction activity in the tunnel may cause a noticeable odor for customers inside the station,” Metro said.

Metro ridership has significantly fallen since 2018 at the six stations that will be closed for the next six weeks, mostly due to the pandemic.

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