One Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority board member called the Silver Line saga a “soap opera.” Another suggested the board start working with lawyers.
That was yesterday. Today, all parties are looking at many more weeks/months of delays before Metro’s Silver Line opens.
At the MWAA board meeting on Wednesday, Dulles Transit Partners, the contractor that constructed the $2.7-billion Phase 1 of the rail extension that will run from East Falls Church to Reston’s Wiehle Avenue, said it could not predict when ongoing problems with the Silver Line would be fixed.
Therefore, it is impossible to predict an opening date. While no official opening has ever been set, there once was a time, more than a year ago, where the first passengers were estimated to ride the line by December of 2013.
DTP, a division of Bechtel, told MWAA in early February that it had reached “substantial completion.” But in their own review, MWAA found many problems. Among them — faulty connections in the loudspeakers at all five stations and ongoing issues with the Automatic Train Control System.
If the work is not satisfactorily turned over to MWAA by April 9, DTP could face millions of dollars in fines.
“Our goal is to have this wrapped up by April 9, before fines set in,” MWAA President and CEO Jack Potter said Wednesday.
While no completion date was ever given by MWAA, preliminary estimates were that the line would be completed by August or September 2013 and the first passengers would ride by the end of 2013. That later was pushed into early 2014. In January, the original problem with the ATC was discovered, delaying completion until at least spring. With this latest setback, could it be fall of 2014 — or even early 2015 — before the Silver Line sees riders?
Reston Now readers responded to a poll in Februrary. Of 506 votes, 27 percent said they predicted the line would open in August or September 2014; 26 percent said June/July 2014; 18 percent said 2o15.
Given the latest issues, what is your prediction now?