Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authorityís weekend riders will need to leave extra travel time the next two weekends if they plan to use the Blue and Orange lines around Federal Center SW Metrorail Station: The agency plans to single-track traffic while workers raise the tracks, and replace massive concrete "floating" slabs and the doughnut-shaped pads on which they rest.
The pads are designed to absorb noise and vibration of the trains. The existing pads, which are made of a composite, rubber-like material, have deteriorated and would be replaced with real rubber pads that are three inches thick and a foot in diameter. A total of 780 pads are slated to be replaced as part of this project.
The precast concrete slabs measure 36 feet wide and 332 feet long, and would be replaced in five sections.
To accommodate such extensive work, traffic along that route has been choreographed to allow one train from the Blue Line and one from the Orange to go through the affected area back to back. Then, one train from each line will go through the opposite direction in the same way.
To minimize the projectís impact, work would begin at 10 p.m. Saturdays and continue non-stop until midnight Sunday, enabling normal traffic flows when service begins again at 5:30 a.m. Monday.