Kone Escalator Installation for WMATA

One Bethesda station high-rise unit required six semi trucks to be delivered from KONE’s Coal Valley factory in Illinois to the Washington, D.C., metro area.

Strategic planning was key to meeting unique challenges posed by project.

Washington, D.C.’s public transit organization, Washington Metro Area Transit Authority (WMATA), recently began making sweeping investments in its stations, including upgrading its vertical-transportation system with new escalators from KONE.

WMATA’s station in Bethesda, Maryland, posed a particular challenge. The station’s escalators are the second tallest in the Western Hemisphere, and the station is one of the system’s busiest, serving more than 10,000 passengers each weekday. WMATA wanted to replace each of the six escalators in this station, including three high-rise units, which reach an incredible height of 107 ft. and a length of 240 ft. One unit alone requires a 944-ft. chain, which weighs 24,000 lb.

In an effort to minimize interruption for daily commuters and visitors, KONE strove to complete the most complex phase of the installation – setting the escalator – within a 54-hr. period over the weekend. Beginning late on a Friday and working tirelessly until Monday morning before rush hour, KONE’s team of two crews of six technicians were able to set eight of nine sections for the first high-rise unit installation. The ninth section was set later that week due to necessary adjustments in the rigging.

Strategic planning was the key to the team’s success, including properly planning the rigging system and logistics, not to mention the highly skilled KONE field team that worked through single-digit temperatures and a foot of snow without injury or lost time.

KONE continues to upgrade vertical transportation at the Bethesda station and throughout the WMATA network (ELEVATOR WORLD, April 2013). The single largest contract in KONE Americas history is projected to be completed by 2020.

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