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Crumbling DC Metro Station Ceiling Forces Emergency Structural Repairs

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Steve Birr Vice Reporter
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Falling debris from the Rhode Island Avenue D.C. Metro station’s ceiling for the second day this week forced officials to close the station through Sunday for emergency repairs.

Concrete and metal debris falling from the ceiling at the station Wednesday night at 8:30 p.m. spooked some riders and forced officials to close the station for the remainder of the night. Workers made repairs and officials said no structural damage occurred in the station, however more debris crumbled off the ceiling at roughly 5:15 p.m. Thursday evening, reports WJLA.

Officials with the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) said the station will remain closed through Sunday, in a press conference Friday. The station will reopen for regular service Monday morning pending a thorough structural inspection of the entire station. Full station inspections are completed annually and supervisors conduct regular spot inspections to keep an eye on stations and their tracks.

“That inspection consists of concrete sounding and the examination of any inconsistencies,” Richard Jordan, a Metro spokesman, told The Washington Post. “If any deficiencies are discovered, the appropriate personnel are notified for further investigation.”

Red line trains are bypassing the station and officials encourage red line riders to seek alternate transportation Friday afternoon due to delays. The unexpected closure adds to an already heavy workload for Metro personnel this weekend.

The current surge of SafeTrack repairs includes disruptions to weekend service, which were added recently after a number of federal investigations. Inspections revealed familiar safety threats on all six lines of tracks throughout the transit system, similar to the mechanical issues blamed for the July 29 derailment of a silver line train. The potential threats forced officials to overhaul their safety plan to meet the standards set forth by the Federal Transit Administration.

Officials will shut down various portions of blue line track for two consecutive weekends as part of the revisions. The Franconia- Springfield station are closed the first two weekends of September. Both the Franconia-Springfield and Van Dorn Street stations will be closed on Labor Day.

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