Metro Will Take Silver Line Control By Next Week

Silver Line construction/Credit: Fairfax CountyThe Silver Line will be considered at operational readiness by May 27, Metro General Manager Richard Sarles said on Monday.

That date — which may change by a few days on either end — will mean Metro has taken control of the project from the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority. It will also mark the beginning of a 90-day testing and training window for Metro, meaning the rail extension from East Falls Church to Reston’s Wiehle Avenue is expected to open by the end of August.

However, Sarles would not speculate on an exact opening date — or even an exact opening month.

“We will be good to go when all the work is done,” he said on Metro’s weekly call with reporters. “When [MWAA contractor] Bechtel’s work is done, when the Tri-State Oversight Committee and the FTA [Federal Transit Administration] have done their inspections and when we say we are good to go.”

Sarles said the 90 days is a maximum, and there is a chance Metro will not need the whole time period.

“We are going to assume 90 days or we will improve on 90 says,” he said.

The opening of the Silver Line’s Phase 1 is more than six months behind schedule.

Sarles said that the vast majority of issues found in late April, when Metro agreed to allow MWAA (and its contractor) more time to fix outstanding issues, such as faulty station speakers, loss of speed readouts and glitches in tracking software.

Sarles said “less than a handful of items” remain to be fixed. Among them: final speaker improvements, fixes to a track gauge and installation of a protective guard on for an escalator. A bobbing track issue discovered last week has been found to be a component issue and will be fixed today, said Sarles.

Operational readiness will happen at a specific time and date, said Sarles.

Once Metro takes control, it will be able to conduct inspections, testing and emergency drills. Training will include a large simulated emergency drill featuring law enforcement officials.

Photo: Metro file

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