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‘Smoke’ From Construction Debris Fills Metro, Spooks DC Metro Riders

REUTERS/Liz Palka/Handout

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Steve Birr Vice Reporter

Construction debris kicked up by trains filled two D.C. Metro stations with a thick cloud of dust Tuesday morning on a day without SafeTrack repairs, forcing many riders to abandon the transit system.

Authorities dispatched personnel with the Arlington County Fire Department to the Pentagon City Metro station just before 6 a.m. after reports of what people originally thought might be smoke filling the station. Officials with the D.C. Metro alerted riders that uncleared construction waste kicked up by trains caused the “smoke.” Surge 4 repairs on the blue and yellow lines from Metro’s SafeTrack work ended Monday, but the tunnels were still full of debris from the maintenance, reports NBC Washington.

The Crystal City Metro station experienced the same dust cloud from the uncleared construction work. Commuters in the two stations said railings and steps were coated in a layer of dust and many passengers abandoned the stations for fresh air or for fear of a fire, reports Fox 5.

Metro workers were seen in the stations wearing breathing masks and clearing the dust with rags. Officials also set up an exhaust system to try and quickly circulate the contaminated air out of the stations.

Officials closed the blue and yellow line tracks between the Pentagon City and Reagan National Airport stations July 12 for Surge 4 SafeTrack repairs, which ended Monday. Trains along portions of the orange and silver lines will continuously single-track beginning Wednesday for 12 days between the Ballston and East Falls Church stations for the same reason.

Officials are warning riders to consider alternate routes amid the repairs. Orange and silver line trains will run once every 18 minutes to the Ballston station.

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