Metro says cool­ing is com­ing for two hot Red Line sta­tions

Stops to get tem­po­rary cool-air tower this week, per­ma­nent chiller by fall

The Washington Post Sunday - - COMMUTER - BY FAIZ SIDDIQUI faiz.siddiqui@wash­

Metro has se­cured a per­mit to in­stall a tem­po­rary cool­ing tower out­side Far­ragut North sta­tion, re­solv­ing a dis­pute over the place­ment of the noisy con­trap­tion and en­sur­ing that chilled air will flow to two Red Line sta­tions this week, the agency said Tues­day. Agency of­fi­cials said they have come up with a per­ma­nent so­lu­tion for the prob­lem they have been try­ing to fix for more than three years.

Metro sta­tions are not air-con­di­tioned, but there is a me­chan­i­cal air-cool­ing sys­tem that has the abil­ity to make the sta­tions about six de­grees cooler than the air out­side.

Far­ragut North and Dupont Cir­cle sta­tions have not had a re­li­able chiller for more than three years, when a set of 500-foot pipes un­der Con­necti­cut Av­enue sprang leaks and pre­vented wa­ter from flow­ing to a cool­ing tower 13 sto­ries above. Metro in­stalled a tem­po­rary cool­ing tower on the thor­ough­fare last year, pro­vid­ing re­lief to the sta­tions’ es­ti­mated 39,000 daily users.

But the dump­ster-size ma­chine was so dis­rup­tive that lo­cal busi­nesses pe­ti­tioned to have it moved, de­lay­ing the tower’s in­stal­la­tion this year as Metro worked to se­cure per­mits from the Dis­trict De­part­ment of Trans­porta­tion.

Metro says the new lo­ca­tion, in the left lane of north­bound Con­necti­cut Av­enue NW, was se­lected “in con­sul­ta­tion with the com­mu­nity.” The de­vel­op­ment was first re­ported by NBC Wash­ing­ton.

The agency has tried mul­ti­ple fixes for the failed pipes, in­clud­ing patch­ing the holes and us­ing a sealant for the leaks. When none worked, Metro con­cluded it would have to dig up the busy stretch of Con­necti­cut Av­enue and re­place them.

Now, the agency says, the lane clo­sure will al­low it to in­stall the new pipes, which run be­low the left lane of Con­necti­cut Av­enue be­tween L and DeSales streets NW, “re­solv­ing the long-stand­ing is­sue with the chiller sys­tem,” Metro spokesman Dan Stes­sel said.

The agency said the re­pairs are ex­pected to be com­pleted by fall. Fur­ther de­tails were not im­me­di­ately avail­able.

The tem­po­rary tower, mean­while, is ex­pected to be in­stalled near Con­necti­cut Av­enue and L Street NW this week and re­main in place un­til Oc­to­ber. Start­ing Wed­nes­day evening after rush hour, DDOT said, one lane of north­bound Con­necti­cut Av­enue NW will be closed from L to M streets. Two other lanes are ex­pected to re­main open around the clock as the re­pairs are un­der­taken.

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