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Washington metro to shut down Wednesday

The federal government in the Washington, D.C., area will be open on Wednesday, despite a safety shutdown of the city's subway system that is likely to cause a commuting nightmare.

The Washington, D.C. metro system will shut down for a day starting Wednesday at midnight due to emergency inspections.

Metro general manager and CEO Paul J. Wiedefeld on Tuesday announced the closure of all six Metrorail lines and all 91 stations. The Metrorail system will close at midnight Wednesday and remain closed until 5 a.m. on Thursday.

Emergency inspections of the metro's third-rail power cables will take place. Authorities will check as many as 600 "jumper cables."

Metro riders experienced delays on the Blue, Orange, and Silver lines throughout the day on Monday due to a cable fire at the McPherson Square stop. A similar fire took place last year at the L'Enfant stop.

If the inspection reveals further issues, there may be additional service outages. Metro officials said they would report any additional disruptions to the public.

Manuel Romaris | Moment | Getty Images

"While the risk to the public is very low, I cannot rule out a potential life safety issue here, and that is why we must take this action immediately," Wiedefeld said. "When I say safety is our highest priority, I mean it. That sometimes means making tough, unpopular decisions, and this is one of those times. I fully recognize the hardship this will cause."

Metrobus and MetroAccess service will continue to operate as scheduled.

Metrorail and Metrobus serve about 4 million within a 1,500 square-mile area, according to data provided by the Metro service.

The Office of Personnel Management said federal government workers in the Washington area will have the option to take unscheduled leave or unscheduled telework.

— Reuters contributed to this report.