Silver Line Phase 2 attacks problems, prepares for final testing
The Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority (MWAA), leaders of the Silver Line Phase 2 construction project, are preparing for additional testing of the complex systems necessary for opening of the extension from the Wiehle-Reston East Station westward through Dulles Airport and ending in Ashburn.
In addition, the tie-in of the second phase to the first phase at the Wiehle-Reston East must be completed before turning the project over to the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA). This will require another temporary shutdown of existing rail service at Wiehle-Reston East as well as major coordination between contractors and WMATA.
Additional dynamic and other final testings will follow before the project is ready to turnover to WMATA. After turnover happens WMATA then will conduct its own pre-revenue testing, which is expected to take about five months.
The rail team first must resolve some issues that WMATA outlined during a public meeting in February. Those issues include negative cross bond spacing, direct fixation fasteners, water-related platform issues, car hoists in the rail yard and establishment of escrow
Issues related to ballast in the rail yard, and cracks in panels in stations are resolved and the screenwall at the Dulles Airport Station is complete.
The Phase 2 opening date for the public also depends on budget issues facing WMATA as COVID-19 impacts continue to slam revenues, which are dramatically below previous years' revenues. An infusion of federal dollars has allowed WMATA to anticipate opening this year.
Meanwhile, WMATA is launching a major public outreach effort to keep the public informed about possible future service changes. Information on those meetings will soon be posted on the WMATA website.
COVID 19 has not slowed construction. All workers are following safety procedures including wearing masks and maintaining social distances. Tours and public presentations have been replaced by virtual sessions.