Metro completes major escalator replacement project at Bethesda station
Metro General Manager Paul J. Wiedefeld today joined Montgomery County officials to mark the completion of a major escalator replacement project at Bethesda Station. At the event, Metro placed into service the third of three new long entrance escalators at the station. Rising ten stories (106 feet), the Bethesda entrance escalators are the second longest in the Western Hemisphere, following Wheaton Station.
In all, Metro has replaced all five escalators inside Bethesda Station, investing more than $8 million in new equipment over a 2.5-year project that was completed slightly ahead of schedule. As part of the project, Metro also installed a new stairway between the mezzanine and the platform to improve customer flow.
The new escalators are safer and more reliable than the units they replaced, which had been in service since the station opened in 1984. As a result of this and other escalator replacement projects, Metro's overall escalator availability score is now at the highest level in six years (93.5% in CY2016, exceeding Metro's target).
Metro owns, operates and maintains the largest fleet of escalators in the U.S.
"When this project was first planned, Metro's escalators were a symbol of infrastructure neglect and decay," said Metro General Manager and CEO Paul J. Wiedefeld. "Today, our escalators are the most reliable they've been in six years and an example of the investments we are making to improve service for customers."
In addition to three new entrance escalators, several other improvements have been made at the Bethesda Station to benefit customers. A new stairway, improved mezzanine lighting and two new escalators between the mezzanine and platform have already been installed.
"Working escalators are essential to the nearly 10,000 people who enter this station each day and to the many who rely upon the escalators to arrive in downtown Bethesda," said Montgomery County Council President Roger Berliner. "Our Metro riders should be applauded for their patience during the time-consuming escalator replacement process. We must continue to work to make Metro a working, safe and world-class system."
With the completion of Bethesda's entrance escalators, Metro has now installed 67 brand new escalators throughout the system, nearing the halfway point in a $151 million plan to replaced more than 130 escalators by the close of the decade.
Metro's contractor, KONE, has already begun work to replace four more escalators at Friendship Heights, including three long entrance units that are 130 feet long and rise 65 feet. An escalator replacement project will also begin at Medical Center in the coming weeks.
"This is a great day for residents, employees, visitors, tourists and all users of the Bethesda Metro station who will benefit from improved reliability and brighter lighting on these three long escalators," commented Jane Fairweather, Chair of The Greater Bethesda Chamber of Commerce's Metro Improvement Task Force. "This critical project was championed years ago by the Chamber and we look forward to further enhancements that will improve the customer experience at the Bethesda station and in the Metro system overall."
Since 2011, Metro has installed new escalators at the following stations: Bethesda, Branch Avenue, Brookland, Capitol Heights, Columbia Heights, Deanwood, Dupont Circle, Foggy Bottom, Friendship Heights, Glenmont, Georgia Avenue, Huntington, Metro Center, Minnesota Ave, Mt. Vernon, Pentagon, Shady Grove, Shaw, Van Ness, Waterfront and Woodley Park. Another 24 new escalators are expected to be installed this year.