Metro Completes Escalator Installment Project at Bethesda Station

Work on the replacement of the escalators has been going on since 2014


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The three long escalators at the Bethesda Metro station, which are tied for second longest in the hemisphere.

Joe Zimmermann

Metro and Montgomery County officials cut the ribbon on the third long escalator replaced at the Bethesda station Wednesday, marking the completion of an $8 million improvement project.

Metro began replacing the escalators in 2014, switching out previous escalators that had been in place for more than 30 years for safer and more reliable models, Metro officials said.

The five escalators installed by Metro and its contractor KONE include three long escalators, each of which, at 106 feet long and descending about 10 stories, measure up to the second longest in the Western Hemisphere. The longest are the Metro escalators at the Wheaton station.

Metro officials and state and local politicians speaking at the ribbon-cutting pointed to the completion of the project as a sign of further improvement to the transit system.

County Council President Roger Berliner said the escalators were a “great harbinger of things to come” for Metro overall, claiming officials could “turn Metro around just as Metro turned these escalators around.”

“Isn’t it nice to have a good news story about the Metro?” Berliner said. “This is not chump change behind us; this is serious work, and it needed serious repair.”

Metro worked on one escalator at a time to leave two escalators in service, which allowed the station to remain open despite occasional closures when one of the two working escalators broke down. The first of the three long escalators was completed in August 2015 for the station, which officials said services about 10,000 people every day.

Metro General Manager Paul Wiedefeld, Jane Fairweather, chairwoman of the Greater Bethesda Chamber of Commerce Metro Improvement Task Force, County Council President Roger Berliner and state Del. Marc Korman cut the ribbon for the third long escalator. Credit: Joe Zimmermann

Metro General Manager Paul Wiedefeld and Jane Fairweather, chairwoman of the Greater Bethesda Chamber of Commerce Metro Improvement Task Force, said the transit system and the station in particular managed to make significant progress in the past six years.

State Del. Marc Korman, D-District 16, said he commutes at this station nine months out of the year and was happy to see it being improved, but cautioned that more improvement was necessary.

“This is great progress,” he said. “But I will be honest there’s still a lot of work to do, not only at this station but station-wide, and we can’t lose sight of that even as we celebrate this good news, which is great for downtown Bethesda and all our commuters.”

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