Wednesday, January 07, 2015


One of the second-longest escalators in the Western Hemisphere is being replaced at Bethesda Metro station, between the surface and the mezzanine level. Here's a look at the current situation underground as of Tuesday.

One escalator is operating in each direction next to the one being replaced. A guard is on duty, as if a breakdown should occur on the remaining escalators, the station would have to close until it is fixed. KONE is the contractor replacing the 106' escalator.

The project, which began in October, is expected to take 42 weeks to complete, according to WMATA. Then the other two will be replaced, one at a time, and the whole project will be completed by September 2016.


cheeto said...

What happens if there's a fire on the tracks and the station starts to fill with smoke? Is it really that difficult to complete a project like this in a few weeks instead of 42? Tell the factories involved that all the parts need to be delivered by a certain date. Schedule the workers to show up on that date. No good reason it can't be that simple.

Anonymous said...

The problem here is the same as for elevators all across the country. There are only four companies that do this kind of work, and all of them, especially Kone, use largely proprietary systems of parts, making it difficult just to up and switch to one of the other companies. There is not true competition in this particular field and it's very difficult and frustrating dealing with a project such as this, whether in a small private building or in a large public facility such as this.

Anonymous said...

Remember how many months it took WMATA to replace the short escalator from the platform last year?

I'm not surprised it will take so long to replace this long one.

Anonymous said...

"Is it really that difficult to complete a project like this in a few weeks instead of 42?"

If you took a minute to learn about the project, you'd know the escalator is only worked on for 4 hours a day (when the station is closed at night).

Workers cannot safely work on the escalator without shutting down the escalators on either side of the workspace; the escalators on either side of the workspace cannot be shutdown except when the station is closed. Rather than shutting the station down for a month to do the work as quickly and efficiently as possible, WMATA decided to do the work 4 hours at a time instead. Sure, it's not quick, but it's also only a minor inconvenience instead of a major station closing.

cheeto said...

8:35 AM, Based on general conversations I've had with people involved with this sort of work I believe getting all the right parts is a much bigger constraint than the actual hours of labor. Also, just guessing, but perhaps there could be a way to construct a temporary barrier between the escalators.

7:18 AM, Yes I'm sure the WMATA manager has his hands tied due to constraints like this.

7:37 AM, I'm not surprised either. But I think as a society we've become too accepting of projects like this taking ages.