The opening of the Potomac Yard metro station, in Alexandria, decades ago

The Potomac Yard metro station opened Friday morning in Alexandria, concluding a decades-long effort to add a rail link to an area that local leaders hope will chart an environmentally sound, technology-oriented, transit-focused development.

The new stop on the Blue and Yellow Lines is Metro Station 98, located between the Reagan National Airport and Braddock Road stations. New bus lines are set to open over the weekend to connect the station with other parts of Alexandria and the region.

The station marks the latest step in Metro’s efforts to bypass train shortages and the pandemic that has altered passenger patterns while reducing transit demand. It’s the seventh Metro station to open in recent months, following six new stations on the Silver Line that expanded Metro’s reach deep into Northern Virginia.

Unlike those recent additions, Potomac Yard is the first station to open between two existing stations since NoMa-Gallaudet U in 2004.

The “Potomac Yard-VT” station will serve a Virginia Tech alumni campus under construction, neighboring townhouse communities and a sprawling retail complex that local officials say will be transformed in the coming years. The station does not have a car park.

Arriving at the glass-roofed platform around 8 a.m. Friday, Angelo Signoracci said his commute from the city’s Shaw district to his job as a researcher at the Institute for Defense Analytics next to the new terminal was cut by more than half, to about 20 minutes in an epically smooth commute.

Officials said the new Potomac Yard metro station will open May 19

After a short walk he got on the train as the doors were about to close. “I couldn’t have done better,” Senorachi said.

He’s been keeping track of the project’s construction, and with his metro and bus ride stretching over an hour during recent work on the Yellow Line, Signoracci had doubts about whether the station would open on time. He said workers were still hanging up the panes of glass at a major exit Thursday night.

“It was great,” said Senorachi at the end. “I don’t have a car. It’s my way of getting around. … It makes living in D.C. more convenient.”

After watching the project booth for years, Alexandria Mayor Justin Wilson (D) said he was among six city mayors who helped bring Potomac Yard to life.

When he and his wife bought a house nearby, the developer handed them a leaflet saying that the metro station would be coming soon. That was 22 years ago. By 2008, Wilson and K.K.

City officials said the special taxes on nearby businesses that eventually take advantage of the metro’s proximity She was a major source of financing for the $370 million project.

“It’s our largest economic development initiative. It’s our largest transportation initiative. It’s our largest climate initiative. It ticks a lot of boxes for us,” Wilson said. “This is a very long time coming for the community. Honestly, there are a lot of people who never thought it would actually happen.”

Barbara Dethy, a paralegal at a Washington law firm who lives about a half mile from Potomac Yard, said Friday morning that the station has been the subject of discussion for more than two decades in her neighborhood. She expected to save 15 to 20 minutes on her morning commute to Washington, which included an express bus to Crystal City.

“I’ve been waiting 23 years for this,” she said. “It’s great. It’s so easy now.”

Prior to the station’s opening, the metro dealt with cost overruns, delays, and three years of construction. An initial planned opening in April 2022 was pushed back to that summer; Then Metro announced that the station’s automated train control system needed to be redesigned. A planned fall 2022 opening was delayed after crews encountered problems with soil and other issues.

The Potomac Yard metro station is over budget and behind schedule

Part of the delay resulted from issues related to the pandemic, including labor shortages and supply chain problems. The project also had a complex permitting process that involved the National Park Service, the CSX freight railroad, the US Army Corps of Engineers and a special architectural review because it is located in a historic district.

The station was built by Potomac Yard Constructors, a joint venture between Halmar International and Schiavone Construction Co. Metro said it is expected to generate billions of dollars in new investments for the private sector and support 26,000 new jobs and 13,000 new residents.

Regional, state and federal officials celebrated the new station Friday morning. In a ceremony also attended by Virginia Tech’s orange-and-white HokieBird mascot, Sen. Mark R. Warner (D-Va.) debate in 1991 about building a National Football League stadium and metro station at Potomac Yard. He visited the site in 2001 as governor, and heard at that time that the station was on its way. Twenty-two years later, it’s over.

“As a proud Alexandrian,” he said, “I must tell you that this is wonderful, wonderful news, not only for the city, not only for the Commonwealth, but also for the whole DMV.”

“This project will improve the quality of life for tens of thousands of people,” added Phyllis Randall, president of the Northern Virginia Transportation Authority and Loudoun County Board of Supervisors.

Friday riders are really starting to absorb the new infrastructure into their lives. Katrina and Don Klusick got off a train at Potomac Yard, took a selfie, and then hugged.

Metro is delaying the opening of the Potomac Yard station to 2023

“It’s a great birthday gift, because it’s my birthday today!” Katerina Kluzik said.

Kluzik, who is on a restricted diet, said the station makes it easy for a car-free couple from Huntington to buy produce at the organic market 20 minutes from the station.

They’ve been walking nearby tracks for years, watching buildings go up near the site of a future metro station. But tracing the project’s fate for nearly two decades included many twists — “Yes!

This emotional basis proves unnecessary, leaving her elated. “It’s about time,” she added.

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