A source tells WTOP that Metro’s Silver Line could be up and running by July 4 after significant progress in correcting issues throughout the last few weeks.
The Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority continues to run tests on the tracks and the contractor building the Silver Line could get approval to turn the project over to Metro within the next two weeks.
Multiple sources tell WTOP that it’s more likely that the Silver Line will be completed and certified before the end of the month than it being delayed into May. Once MWAA certifies the project as complete, it would turn over the project to Metro. Project Director Pat Nowakowski has told WTOP the time between certification and turnover to Metro would be quick.
The opening of the 11-mile rail extension from East Falls Church to Reston’s Wiehle Avenue has been delayed several times — though an exact opening date was never set.
The Silver Line was originally estimated to be finished last summer, with a September handoff to Metro and a possible December opening. In July, the estimate was pushed back, as it was again in November when issues were found with the Automatic Train Control system.
In early February, construction contractor Dulles Transit Partners told the Metropolitan Washington Airport Authority it had reached “substantial completion” on construction of the $2.8 billion project.
But MWAA completed a 15-day review and found issues in 7 of 12 areas, ranging from leaks to problems with the automatic train control system. It was revealed at a MWAA Board meeting two weeks ago that speakers in all five stations have to be reinstalled, and there is a cable issue in the Tysons tunnel.
According to DTP’s contract, the work is not finished starting April 10, DTP faces a $25,000-a-day penalty until the work is done. If the project is not completed 92 days after that April date, the contractor would have to pay roughly $2.3 million in fines, plus an additional $75,000 a day.
Ultimately, if the project is delayed more than six months from that April date, DTP could be required to pay more than $9 million total. Under the terms of the contract, the payments are capped at $60 million.