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Metro riders will have to wait even longer for cool temperatures at two Red Line stations

Curbed logo Curbed 8/16/2019 Andrew Giambrone
A map showing stations on Metro’s Red Line© Shutterstock A map showing stations on Metro’s Red Line

Update, August 16:

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A longstanding project to fix a cooling system on Metro’s Red Line is facing delays again, with no fixed date for its completion. “It is no secret that the project to restore chilled air service to Dupont Circle and Farragut North stations has been beset by delays as contractors have worked to reestablish the pipe connections between the two stations and the cooling facilities located off Metro property (under Connecticut Avenue and atop a nearby office building),” the transit agency pointed out in an advisory Thursday. “While this [message] contains some positive progress, it is still not the news our customers have been waiting for.”

Metro added that it would provide an update on the project “when we have confidence in a restoration date” and that it would take several days for the repaired chiller system to lower the temperatures at the stations. “We are as frustrated with the pace of progress as many of our customers, and we will continue to take every opportunity to expedite the repairs,” said Metro. Contractors installed new underground pipes, but discovered new leaks at a chiller plant that will feed the system. They will have to test the system after those leaks are fixed.

Original post, July 31:

Metro riders who use the Dupont Circle or Farragut North stations on the Red Line will have to endure warm conditions there on hot days for another few weeks. On Tuesday, the transit agency said the full replacement of underground chilling pipes that help cool the stations is now unlikely to be finished until mid-August, as a result of unforeseen work complications.

“While the project has advanced to its final stage, the contractor has encountered several delays due to unexpected utilities and other obstructions (unmarked on engineering drawings) that required design changes,” Metro said in a release. “New pipe fittings to accommodate these design changes have been ordered and are expected to arrive in 1-2 weeks.” The project has been delayed before and has been needed for at least four years.

The chilling pipes carry cold water, which in turn produces cool air for the stations, but are corroded. Situated beneath Connecticut Avenue NW, they date to the rail system’s original construction in the 1970s, according to Metro. The repairs have required digging under the avenue and putting in new pipes to reconnect a nearby chiller plant, a cooling tower on an office building in the vicinity, and the Dupont Circle and Farragut North stations. They were supposed to be done this past spring in time for the cooling system’s usual activation in May.

In the meantime, Metro says it will keep running tunnel fans to circulate air in the stations. Similar issues were recently resolved at the Union Station Metro stop, also on the Red Line. Automatic door-opening on that line, however, was called off this month due to problems.

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