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Mayor Wilson: Potomac Yard construction delay ‘could have nothing to do with Metro station’

After the previously announced delay for the Potomac Yard Metro station, Mayor Justin Wilson said at a meeting last night that the cause of the September 2022 date is still vague and the city is hoping the project can be completed sooner.

At the City Council meeting, Wilson said the delay to September could, in part, be the result of internal issues at the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority.

“The most concerning part of the conversation is at this point there’s a belief that perhaps the station could be ready as soon as June, but some concerns whether Metro will be ready to have the station open,” said Wilson. “This could have nothing to do with the Metro station, but with other projects Metro is working on. We’ll continue that dialogue to make sure we get the station open as soon as possible. If that means delaying other Metro projects, so be it, but that’s where I stand on that.

The station was originally scheduled to open in April, but WMATA said in a statement that some of the original designs did not meet current safety requirements.

“Metro engineers determined that the original design of the Automatic Train Control (ATC) systems, which was based upon specifications written by WMATA, did not meet all of the important safety requirements to ensure the safe operation of trains,” WMATA said. “The ATC system prevents trains from getting too close to one another and ensures trains always maintain a safe distance. The need to redesign the ATC system is the result of project management decisions for which WMATA is accountable.”

But Wilson said in a meeting of the Potomac Yard Metro Implementation Group last month that the timeline is flexible, and September was chosen as the latest the project will be completed rather than an estimated window for completion.

“The purpose of the work that our staff is doing with WMATA is to try to ensure that it goes no later than September but ideally comes in sooner,” Wilson said. “That date was an estimate based on what we knew the minute we found out that information. There’s work going on right now to define that. We’re exploring every alternative to reduce that timeline.”

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