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Washington Metro Area Transit Authority (WMATA) Yellow Line, Steel Liner and Bridge Structure Repair Design/Engineering Services

Burns performed analysis of the tunnel’s special systems and completed designs on new systems infrastructure, collaborating with the Construction Manager at Risk (CMAR) to prevent rider disruption and to minimize project costs.

Structural rehabilitation of the Potomac River passageway is WMATA’s top structural priority as part of their 6-year, $12.3 billion Capital Improvement Program. More than 40 years old, the steel-lined tunnels that connect the Yellow Line’s Pentagon and L’Enfant Plaza stations have suffered from decades of water infiltration and underground moisture damage.

Burns was initially engaged in 2021 to conduct a complete conditions assessment of existing railway infrastructure, mapping out plans for tunnel systems that would need to be temporarily relocated, removed and reinstalled, or upgraded as part of the rehabilitation.

Through a scope expansion, Burns was retained to deliver additional engineering and design services for replacement of the tunnel’s underground railway systems including:

    • Communications cables,
    • Mechanical standpipe fire system and airline cables,
    • Automatic train control (ATC) cables and junction boxes,
    • IT fiber-optic cables,
    • Emergency Trip Station (ETS) cables, and
    • Low- and medium-voltage power cables and devices, such as light fixtures, load centers, and receptacles.

A Systems Integration Plan was developed to ensure each subsystem would function as intended, fitting together as a fully operating system.

The capital project was the first time WMATA used a CMAR approach. As a subconsultant on the RK&K design team, Burns supported the CMAR to reduce or to optimize special-systems material availability issues, scheduling concerns, and other construction challenges.

Burns previously supported WMATA on the Potomac Yard Metrorail station, providing signal, traction-power, wayside-communications, and systems-integration design services.

Photo courtesy of Ben Schumin


Washington, DC


Washington Metro Area Transit Authority (WMATA)

Learn more about Burns’ railroad + transit services

Railroad + Transit

Key team members on the project

Ryan Breier

Vice President, Signals, Communications & Train Control

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