Washington D.C. commuters anxious for Metro to get back on track

WASHINGTON --The nation's second-busiest subway system was completely shut down Wednesday so the electrical system could be inspected.

The D.C. Metro serves 700,000 riders a day. Many worked from home. Others drove or crowded onto buses.

Emergency inspections started early Wednesday morning. In all, 91 stations were closed as nearly two dozen teams fanned out along more than 100 miles of track, looking for damage to third-rail power cables that could lead to smoke and fire.

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Metro inspectors look at jumper cables on their rail system in Silver Spring, Maryland March 16, 2016. REUTERS/Gary Cameron

"Since we began at midnight, Metro teams have identified 26 areas where damaged jumper cables and connector boots exist," Metro general manager Paul Wiedefeld said Wednesday evening.

Washington, D.C. Metro shut down for inspections

On Monday, a cable fire led to major delays during the morning commute. It was similar to a serious incident last year that killed a woman and injured dozens.

The safety concerns are not new for the 40-year-old Metro system. Casey Dinges with the American Society of Civil Engineers says the real issue is funding.

"The fundamental problem that we're having here is a lack of investment," Dinges told CBS News. "But like most of the infrastructure in this country, we take it for granted until it's suddenly not there."

Metro officials said they will be inspecting the tracks overnight and they expect to have the system running by 5 a.m. But commuters should expect delays.