Your Views: Who’s responsible for the Potomac Yard Metro delay?

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Your Views: Who’s responsible for the Potomac Yard Metro delay?
The Potomac Yard Metro station has been delayed in opening. (File photo)
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To the editor:

Katy Cannady’s letter pinned the responsibility for the delay in opening the new Potomac Yard metro station squarely on city hall’s decision to site it on wetlands rather than on firmer ground nearby. The reason for city hall’s siting decision is that the chosen location afforded more development than any of the other alternatives. The proximate cause of the delay is that during testing, they found that the ground underneath the tracks could not support the weight of the metro cars, so the ground will have to be amended so it can support the metro cars’ weight.

Mayor Justin Wilson, who was a major player in the siting decision, is upset about the delay, but the question for which he needs to get the answer is whether WMATA, which is managing the contract, should have known about the underlying soil issues from the borings done early in the pre-construction process and contracted to have the soil amended to support the metro cars’ weight before the testing phase – viz., just another of WMATA’s many screwups. If so, WMATA and its contractor bear the primary fault for the delay and the city should insist that WMATA or the contractor bear the additional cost, while Alexandrians suffer through additional weeks of no metro service and shuttles. But if the issue with the soil’s ability to hold the metro cars’ weight was legitimately not foreseeable, then City Council’s decision to site the station on wetlands to serve developers’ interests is, as Ms. Cannady’s letter so aptly pointed out, where the responsibility rightly lies.

-Dino Drudi, Alexandria

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