Silver Line “Substantial Completion” a Big Step Toward Opening

Wiehle Reston East Metro

Metro’s Silver Line moved a step closer to its first passengers Friday when the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority, responsible for building the rail extension, said its contractor has reached “substantial completion” and is ready to turn the project over to Metro.

There is still no official opening date for the rail extension, which will run from Falls Church to Reston’s Wiehle Avenue.

“Dulles Transit Partners (DTP), the contractor building Phase 1 of the Silver Line, took an important step today in construction of the project,” MWAA said in a statement. “DTP has made the determination that they have reached substantial completion. The declaration of substantial completion by DTP means they believe they have satisfied the terms of their contract and are ready to turn the project over to MWAA and WMATA for final testing and preparation for operations of the line.”

MWAA and Metro will now be in a 15-day review period, then MWAA can hand off the project. Metro has up to 90 days to complete final testing, but Metro has previously said it probably would not need the full 90 days.

The review will include: delivery of all spare parts and maintenance manuals; evidence supporting successful completion of all tests, all regulatory approvals; as-built final drawings, safety certifications documents; Certificates of Occupancy and remaining punch list items with completion schedule, MWAA said.

So barring big problems, the first riders of the Silver Line to Reston should finally be aboard this spring. The Silver Line’s terminus will be at Wiehle-Reston East for the next five years.

Phase 2 of the project will have stops at Reston Parkway, Herndon Monroe, Route 28, Dulles International Airport and Ashburn. That is expected to open in 2018.

The project, which reportedly loses $2 million each month the rail is not open, has already had significant delays. MWAA officials originally estimated at December 2013 opening based on an August handoff. Last summer, that was extended to early in 2014. In November, it was discovered that tracking software needed to be re-tested. That software was retested two weeks ago.

Patty Nicoson, President of the Dullles Corridor Rail Association, called the news “kind of thrilling we are getting one step closer to the goal post.”

“It is my understanding they shouldn’t need the full 90 days,” she said. “Wouldn’t it be nice if it were open for baseball season?”

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