Metro is sending out engineers to figure out how to prevent debris from calling from the ceiling of the Rhode Island Avenue Metro Station along the Red Line in Washington, D.C.
According to Metro spokesperson Morgan Dye, the engineers will inspect deteriorated concrete at the station and propose solutions though repair crews finished filling holes in the ceiling Sunday.
Metro Chief Operating Officer Joseph Leader said Friday Metro’s engineers did not initially detect the potential for more concrete to fall before the station opened Thursday because they only inspected the area immediately surrounding the pieces that fell.
The second round of falling concrete came from the ceiling about 40 feet away.
“(The debris) would lead us to believe that there was probably some water that got behind (the concrete)… from years of freeze and thawing that take place, the concrete will separate (from) the structural membrane and then will eventually crack and fall,” Leader said.
“At this time, we (did) not see anything that leads us to believe that the structure is unsafe. Our track roadbed is in good condition.”
The Rhode Island Avenue Metro Station reopened Sunday afternoon, complete with new debris nets, after the agency closed it twice in 24 hours for debris falling from the ceiling.
Metro spokesperson Richard Jordan said no one reported injuries after either incident. Metro officials said contractors during the weekend visually inspected of Rhode Island Avenue station for other areas where concrete might fall, removed likely pieces and put up a safety net in the station and bus loop.
Metro first closed the station Wednesday just before 9 p.m. after the station manager reported that small pieces of concrete and a metal bracket fell from the ceiling near the escalator.
That night, staffers repaired the ceiling area where debris fell off; Metro engineers investigated the area and confirmed the station was safe in time to open the station Thursday morning.
However, Thursday evening the station manager reported to Metro small pieces of concrete were falling again from the ceiling, approximately 40 feet from the site of the first incident, leading WMATA management to close the station was closed for the second time.
Metro told Red Line riders Friday to allow extra time for their commute while third party engineers inspect the station ‘top to bottom.’
Metro spokesperson Sherri Ly said both incidents of falling concrete happened at the ceiling above the mezzanine, which is below the platform where people wait for their train.
Andy Off, the Metro Chief of Rail Operations, said Friday that while personnel would try to remove concrete from areas that sound hollow, he was not concerned concrete would disconnect from ceilings at other nearby stations.
“We need to remove other areas of unsound concrete… and then complete repairs by patching that with a new finish,” Off said.
Stations between Van Ness and Medical Center have a history of water seeping into the stations because they were not sealed against water when they were built.
While these stations are below ground, Rhode Island Avenue Station is on an elevated track above ground.
Metro staffers said the concrete and metal bracket which fell from the ceiling Wednesday were likely installed to fill a gap between the concrete and a structural support beam.
As of Friday afternoon, workers removed between three and 10 pieces of concrete that were likely to fall from the ceiling, Off said.
“We are on what we are referring to as the drier side of the Red Line,” Off said.
Leader said based on the inspections that occurred Friday, he did not think the spalling pieces indicated a structural issue.
Jordan said Metro annually inspects the stations for structural sufficiency.