Reporting on pedestrian life in the D.C. area

Metro finishes its new Foggy Bottom entrance, more than 10 months later

May 16, 2012 - 12:21 PM
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(Photo: WMATA)

Yesterday afternoon WMATA finally completed the long, complicated process of creating a new and hopefully improved entrance at the Foggy Bottom Metro station. What was the final touch? A new staircase running alongside the three brand-new escalators, the first new ones in the entire system in about 15 years. The effort also included a canopy to protect the new entrance from the elements. The price tag ran at about $6 million, WMATA chief spokesperson Dan Stessel noted last summer.

And yes, you read that right. Last summer. The Foggy Bottom project began a year ago, and its timeline is worth considering in light of all the other Metro escalator replacements bound to happen in the years to come. WMATA predicts it'll replace about 100 over the course of the next half decade. The transit agency began replacing the escalators at one of the Dupont Circle Metro entrances and predicted — to great horror — that it would take eight and a half months. So how long did the Foggy Bottom replacement take?

About 10 and a half months since the first new escalator began running.

The first of the new three escalators, each with 127 steps, debuted on July 11, 2011, although WMATA notes the removal of old escalators began in "late January" of 2011. One of the old escalators had collapsed back in February of that year, creating greater worries. Each escalator, WMATA predicted last summer, would take about 15 weeks to install. The second new escalator went into service last September and the third in November, which kept that schedule more or less on track. WMATA says these new escalators should last 15 to 20 years and celebrated the move on November 30 in a ceremony at the Metro station. Metro General Manager Richard Sarles acknowledged then that Metro riders faced "a lengthy process" with these efforts. The escalator replacement here at Foggy Bottom, unlike at Dupont Circle, didn't involving closing the station entrance because it's the only one the station has, and the escalator replacement only took about five months from the first escalator to the last. If you count work beginning in late January, the Foggy Bottom project took about 10 months to deliver full working escalators and close to a year and a half from start to finish.

But then the canopy and staircase took another half a year to complete, which adds to the perception of sluggishness that accompanies many of these rebuilding efforts of Metro's. Foggy Bottom commuters, enjoy the staircase and canopy ... you've certainly been hearing about them for long enough by now.

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