Metro Completes Escalator Project at Bethesda Station

Four people cutting ribbon

Cutting the ribbon for the new escalator. From left, Paul Wiedefeld, chamber of commerce representative Jane Fairweather, Roger Berliner and Del. Marc Korman. Photo courtesy WMATA

Metro placed the third of three escalators into service Wednesday, culminating a replacement project at the Bethesda station.

The escalator is 106 feet tall — the equivalent of a 10-story building — making it the second longest in the Western Hemisphere. The Wheaton Metro Station sits at No. 1.

Metro has spent $8 million over 2.5 years replacing all five escalators at the Bethesda Metro. The project, according to the transit service, came in slightly ahead of schedule. The original escalators had been in service since the station opened in 1984. The new ones are safer and more reliable.

So far, Metro has installed 67 replacement escalators, including the ones in Bethesda, in an effort to replace more than 130 by the close of the decade. The total project cost will be $151 million, the Metro statement said.

As part of the Bethesda project, Metro also installed a new stairway between the mezzanine and the platform to improve customer flow.

Metro General Manager and CEO Paul Wiedefeld said that before the escalator replacement projects started, they were a symbol of neglect and decay. As a result of this and other escalator replacement projects, Metro’s overall escalator availability score is now at the highest level in six years — 93.5 percent in 2016. The subway system owns, operates and maintains the largest fleet of escalators in the United States.

Nearly 10,000 people enter this station each day, Montgomery County Council President Roger Berliner said. He applauded the patience of Metro riders.

Since 2001, Metro also has installed new escalators at Glenmont and Shady Grove. Another 24 new escalators are expected to be installed this year.

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