Baltimore’s subway line is set to open at 5 a.m. Friday, three days ahead of schedule, after being closed for nearly a month for track work.
Inspectors with the Maryland Department of Transportation, Federal Transit Administration and State Safety Oversight have checked over the repair work both by hand and with a test vehicle.
“Safety will always be our first priority,” MTA Administrator Kevin Quinn said in a statement. “The decision to reopen the Metro SubwayLink system came after a thorough inspection of our tracks to ensure their safety and reliability. We are pleased to restore service to our riders earlier than originally planned and appreciate their patience during this time.”
The line was abruptly closed in mid-February after the MTA announced emergency repairs were needed at the portion between the Owings Mills and West Cold Spring stations. Gov. Larry Hogan gave $2.2 million in funding to run a bus line for displaced Metro riders.
A story in the Baltimore Brew pointed out that MTA had known about the sub-standard track conditions as far back as November 2016.
“We made an engineering decision based on the engineering folks and the inspectors that we could operate still safely,” Quinn told the Brew at the time.
Both Rep. Elijah Cummings (D) and Democratic gubernatorial got involved. Cummings asked for additional information about the closure, while Shea called on MDOT Secretary Pete Rahn to resign, saying the delay to make repairs “put the safety of Marylanders at risk by not acting to fix the problems when they were notified.”
The subway system is set to undergo additional work in August that earlier reports indicated would require another shutdown, but MTA said in its announcement this morning that it “will make every effort to mitigate disruption for our riders of any further work required.”
In related news, The Sun‘s Michael Dresser reports a bill passed in the House of Delegates would increase MTA’s funding by $29 million per year over the next three years and require a long-term, comprehensive transportation plan for the region.
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