(Escalators at the west entrance of the Georgia Avenue Station)
At last night’s meeting of ANC 1A, representatives of WMATA were there to discuss updates to their escalator replacement and rehabilitation projects — particularly with the Columbia Heights and Georgia Avenue stations. Currently, both stations are in the midst of escalator replacements projects at their west entrances. These projects are expected to be completed by April, after which work on the east entrances at both stations will begin.
The escalator replacement at the east entrance of the Columbia Heights station is currently scheduled to begin around April 18th and is expected to take 35 weeks to complete. The escalator replacement at the east entrance of the Georgia Avenue station is scheduled to begin around March 21st and is expected to take 45 weeks to complete. The result of both project will be completely new escalators at both locations.
When asked why the the Georgia Avenue station replacement was estimated to take 10 weeks longer than the Columbia Heights station, the WMATA representative stated that the elevators at Georgia Avenue were larger and that work can only commence when the stations are closed — which is about 4 hours of work time. Noting that both stations were only about 16-17 years old, I asked how long the average life span of an escalator typically is — and was informed that it is 40 years. The reason for the failures of the escalators at these stations is that the manufacturer doesn’t support their maintenance and Metro has had difficulty getting parts for them to keep them in good repair. Because of this, the new escalators that will be installed will be manufactured by Kone which is located in Illinois.
The escalator projects will be among 21 new escalators that are scheduled to be replaced in 2016. As of February 2016, WMATA had already installed 29 new escalators.