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BREAKING: Potomac Yard Metro station opening pushed back to 2023

Construction work at Potomac Yard Metro station, photo via City of Alexandria

(Updated 2:15 p.m.) The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) announced that the Potomac Yard Metro station’s opening will be delayed yet again.

WMATA said in a statement that the Metro shutdown impacting all of Alexandria will be extended into November and the station, set to open this fall, will not open until sometime in 2023.

Just as WMATA had been vague about when in the fall the station would open, there’s no timeline for when in 2023 the station will open. Given that the station was originally set to open in April 2022, it’s possible the station’s opening could be delayed a full year past the original opening date.

“Regretfully, Metro announces that the new Potomac Yard Station will not open this calendar year,” WMATA said in a release. “The delay in completing construction of the station is due to the contractor’s failure to meet the project delivery schedule. Metro will continue to work with the contractor to produce an achievable schedule and will provide an update by the end of this year.”

WMATA said as site work got underway at Potomac Yard, crews discovered issues with underlying soil that affected the structural stability of the ground beneath the tracks. A remediation plan was developed and implemented, but WMATA said that reinforcing the ground below the tracks “required removing any work already completed, excavating additional soil beneath 1400 feet of track, and installing new subgrade materials to provide the required stability.”

According to Executive Vice President of Capital Delivery Andy Off:

We are frustrated with these developments on the Potomac Yard Station project. The team has been working around the clock to push the project delivery team to perform in accordance with the schedule. Recently, it has become clear that the published schedule will not be met, unfortunately delaying the opening of this important station. On behalf of our customers and the City of Alexandria, we apologize for this inconvenience. We will continue to work as quickly as possible to deliver a high-quality station, and we are doing everything within our power to move the project forward in a safe and responsible way.

Currently, Alexandria is cut-off from the rest of the Metro system. That was supposed to end on Saturday, Oct. 22, but WMATA said that ending has been pushed back to Nov. 5. WMATA officials previously said that once work had started on the station, it would be virtually impossible to reconnect Alexandria to the rest of the Metro system until the station was ready to open.

“Metro is extending the closure of six stations south of Reagan National Airport due to unexpected site conditions and remediation efforts for the future Potomac Yard Station,” WMATA said in a release. “The announcement today comes three weeks before stations were scheduled to reopen to give our customers time to plan their trips accordingly.”

WMATA said free shuttle bus service will continue to be available through the extended shutdown.

“As always, Metro will continue to work collaboratively with the City of Alexandria and the contractor to resolve these scheduling issues and continue our commitment of transparency to the local community,” the release said.

Mayor Justin Wilson called the delays “unacceptable” and said the project needs more direct oversight by WMATA:

The numerous delays to the Potomac Yard construction project are unacceptable. This critically important project requires more intentional oversight by WMATA. Our residents and businesses deserve better from our partners.

This latest setback must be met with urgency and significant actions by WMATA and its contractor to recover from the time and money lost. The City of Alexandria has provided specific operational actions to WMATA that we believe will more effectively manage the contractor’s efforts to complete this project in an expedited and efficient manner.

The City is also demanding that the financial impacts of the numerous delays be assessed and adjusted by WMATA to the benefit of our community. We will continue working with our partners to ensure transit riders have accessible alternatives during this continued shutdown.

We cannot continue to repeat these failures.

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