Metro takes a break from its rigorous weekend track work schedule during the cherry blossom season, according to a news statement.
This year, the break occurs on four consecutive weekends. The remaining weekends are: March 30 to 31, April 6 to 7 and April 13 to 14.
"The only planned weekend work during that time will take place late Sunday evenings, when ridership is light," Metro reported.
"While the work we do almost every weekend is necessary to get the system back to a steady state of safety and reliability, we are in a position where we can take a short break to let everyone enjoy the season," Metro General Manager and CEO Richard Sarles said in the statement.
"The spring break will give people an opportunity to experience the type of system we are working toward," Sarles said.
Metro ridership increases by an average of more than 15 percent during cherry blossom season, "and weekend ridership can double to near-weekday levels if the weather is nice," Metro reported.
"Weekend rebuilding is more than 70 percent more productive than overnight work because, after setting up the work zone, personnel have 48 hours of uninterrupted rebuilding time. In contrast, overnight work windows only allow between three and five hours of productive time on the tracks. In addition, weekend outages are the only way to safely accommodate heavy construction activity, such as the platform rebuilding projects currently underway at Takoma, Fort Totten and Deanwood," according to the Metro news statement.
During this fiscal year, "Metro plans to tamp 32 miles of track, weld 1,000 rail joints for a smoother ride, replace 12,000 wooden cross-ties and more than 20,000 rail fasteners and repair more than 2,000 tunnel leaks to mitigate water infiltration," the statement added.