Metro News Release

For immediate release: January 30, 2012

Dupont Circle south entrance to close Wednesday, Feb. 1, for escalator replacement

Dupont Circle Map

The south entrance of Dupont Circle station, located at 19th Street NW, will be closed through October, beginning Wednesday, Feb. 1, to allow for total replacement of three escalators with new, modern units.

The project is part of Metro's multi-year, $150-million plan to improve escalator and elevator reliability. Under the current plan, 94 escalators are scheduled for full replacement over the next seven years.

The existing escalators, each 188 feet long and rising 85 feet to street level, are among the least reliable and most difficult to maintain of Metro's 588 escalators. Originally installed in 1997, the current escalators are non-standard (they were custom built to fit in the narrow entrance that was originally designed for two units), and their manufacturer no longer makes escalators, making finding replacement parts near impossible.

During the project, the three existing escalator units will be demolished and removed from the site; the area beneath the units will be modified; and new, standard size, industrial-grade escalators will be installed. Due to the tight nature of the work zone, each escalator segment being removed and installed will travel on three separate cranes between the site and street level.

A full closure of the entrance is required to provide for customer safety while heavy lifting of escalator segments takes place in a narrow workspace. As a secondary benefit, closing the entrance will allow the work to proceed on a faster timeline than would otherwise be possible.

Crane operations at street level will necessitate occasional overnight closures of 19th Street NW.

Metro has worked closely with DC Fire & Emergency Medical Services on emergency preparedness and safety procedures for this project.

  • Metro will post escalator technicians and Metro Transit Police Officers at the station during all revenue hours to respond quickly to any incident and to ensure that escalators at the north entrance remain in service.
  • One escalator at the South Entrance will be preserved at all times as a "walker" (stairway) for emergency use.
  • A new staircase has been constructed in an existing vent shaft near the south entrance to provide an additional egress option in the event of an emergency.
  • Metro will stage an empty train in a holding track near Farragut North to respond to Dupont Circle in the event of an evacuation. This train will take the holding track (also known as a "pocket track") out of service for the duration of the project, which will limit some operational flexibility along the Red Line in the downtown area.
  • Long-term construction activity at Farragut North has been suspended to provide additional space for customers who opt to use that station as an alternate.
  • All escalator modernization work at Dupont Circle's north entrance has been suspended so that all three units are available for customer use.

In the event of a service disruption that results in crowding conditions at Dupont Circle Station, Metro Transit Police may temporarily close the north entrance to maintain safety. In addition, it may be necessary for Red Line trains to temporarily bypass Dupont Circle until crowding conditions are resolved. During such disruptions, customers are advised to use Farragut North as their alternate or consider Metrobus or Circulator service.

For additional information, customers are encouraged to visit


News release issued at 12:28 pm, January 30, 2012.