Courtesy WMATA

While Virginians should plan ahead to avoid this weekend’s holiday traffic, Virginia and D.C. area subway riders should also prepare to face difficult commutes when the longest shutdown in Metro history begins Saturday.

The shutdown will begin at 1 a.m. Saturday and will affect all Blue and Yellow line stations south of Reagan National Airport, impacting the commutes of an estimated 17,000 daily riders. The six stations closed will be the Braddock Road, King Street-Old Town, Eisenhower Avenue, Huntington, Van Dorn and Franconia-Springfield stations.

The stations will be shut down through September 8, but Metro will provide shuttle buses and water taxis, while Capital Bikeshare, the area’s bike program, offers discounted monthly passes. Virginia Railway Express riders will also have the option to buy discounted Amtrak tickets.

Metro officials are also suggesting that commuters carpool or work remotely instead of driving alone and exacerbating the region’s already congested roads.

The agency is also encouraging riders to plan ahead now, so that they’re not surprised on Tuesday, the first workday after the shutdown begins.

The cost for the project is roughly $200 million, according to the Washington Post, and will only mark the beginning of a three year process in which Metro aims to rebuild 20 station platforms.

Transportation officials admit that the shutdown will be a “shock to the [transportation] system,” but say it’s necessary to ensure the system’s long-term safety and reliability.

Metro will also stage employees at each of the six stations to help direct commuters to shuttle buses that will serve as substitutes for the subway lines.

For those affected by the service, Metro has created a trip planner to help plan around the shutdown. The agency has advised riders to add at least 30 minutes to their trips, particularly in the first days as the region adjusts to the shutdown. They also advised air travelers to continue to use Metro, but to add time to their trips.