Metro Track Work Will Not Brake for (Early) Blossoms

The cherry blossom peak bloom date has been moved up—but WMATA has no plans to halt weekend track work.

By: Carol Ross Joynt

We know the cherry blossoms are beautiful, but it seems they're pesky, too, at least where the well-set plans of Metro are concerned. In February WMATA's overseers announced a "spring break" pause in track work to run from Saturday, March 24, through Sunday, April 15. Once upon a time that's when the cherry blossoms were predicted to achieve peak bloom; it's also the official National Cherry Blossom Festival.

But Mother Nature, it seems, had other ideas--the blossoms are ready to pop this weekend, which means major tourist action and lots of demand on Metro. However, the track work will go on as planned. We pursued the issue with Metro spokesperson Dan Stessel, and received this reply:

"Major track work projects are scheduled months in advance and involve a massive amount of preparation and resources, so rescheduling is not as easy as it may sound. This weekend is the last weekend of track work before we take four weekends off. Next week's off-peak track work (Monday through Friday) is being reviewed to ensure that whatever work does happen has as light an effect on customers as possible. We are also going to closely monitor ridership and add eight-car trains to provide additional capacity where needed."