Metro Matters: MWAA Sets July 16, 2020 Goal For Silver Line Phase 2 Opening
Metro Will Pick Final Date When Final Testing in Complete
Silver Line trains could be serving Reston Town Center, Herndon, Dulles Airport and Eastern Loudoun County less than a year from now.
If there are no unexpected problems with construction or weather, rail project officials say they have a new goal for completion and opening of Phase 2, which includes six new stations: Reston Town Center, Herndon, Innovation Station, Dulles Airport, Loudoun Gateway and Ashburn.
Charles Stark, executive vice president of the project which is being built by the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority (MWAA), recently said the latest projected opening date is July 16, 2020. That depends on the two project construction contractors delivering their portions of the project by mid-April of 2020.
Stark concedes that date could slip a few days, either before or after the projected date, Capital Rail Constructors (CRC), led by Clark Construction, is building the main rail system including racks, stations, support facilities and electrical systems. Hensel-Phelps is building a 90-acre rail yard and maintenance facility off Route 606 that will be used not only for Silver Line trains but for trains throughout the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) system.
Hensel-Phelps has said they may not be done with the yard by then, citing track work delays and other problems. MWAA calls that view “pessimistic.”
In early August, MWAA told Federal Transit Administration officials that both contractors have completed 96 percent of their work.
However, both still have much to do, including a vast amount of rework and resolving issues with faulty concrete and track work. Stark said MWAA is pushing contractors to meet the projected July 16 goal.
The latest date is the result of the Airports Authority’s evaluation of estimates from both contractors, along with results of statistical analysis done by the rail team.
“We are confident at this point in time, without any unforeseen situations or problems, that we will be opening in middle of July,” Stark said.
He said the rail team thinks that both contractors can speed up their efforts to meet this goal. He suggested that they could work simultaneously on the multiple issues and speed up filing of test reports and preparation of final documents that are necessary to attain substantial completion in April. If that happens, the project can be turned over to WMATA for
WMATA is expected to take several months to complete their testing. When WMATA agrees to accept the project and the project is transferred to their control, then WMATA will determine the actual opening of rail service.