Reston, VA

Silver Line construction/Credit: Fairfax CountyContractors for the Washington Metropolitan Airports Authority have been slow to repair post-Operational Readiness issues for Metro’s Silver Line, and that could slow progress in getting the rail extension ready to open.

“DTP [Dulles Transit Partners] and Bechtel are behind schedule on half the items,” Metro deputy general manager Rob Troup said in a conference call with reporters on Monday. “We expected them to be further along.”

MWAA, which built the $5.6 billion rail extension that will run from East Falls Church to Reston’s Wiehle Avenue, and Metro agreed in April to allow the airports authority extra time to complete some punch list items, even after Metro took control of the project.

Metro took over the project on May 27, and as of last week it was saying things were progressing on track towards an expected summer opening.

While the Silver Line is more than six months behind schedule, an opening date for service has never been set. WAMU, citing transit union sources, reported on Monday that the Silver Line would conduct simulated service the week of July 20 and begin passenger service a week later. Troup dismissed that information, however.

“We did not set any specific date,” he said. “That date is TBD.”

Some of the items that have been fixed are fencing, a faulty elevator at the Tysons Corner station and equipment at Wiehle-Reston East that will prevent work equipment from rolling on to the track, said Troup. An audit of the re-installed station speakers is now being conducted.

One of the items that needs attention before service can begin include painting of a tunnel handrail “that we are concerned about the effort,” said Troup. Also of concern: ponding and drainage issues in some stations have not been fixed.

“We don’t want to start service and then be out there regrading platforms,” said Troup. “It is not unusual to have to go back and do some re-work on some items. Bechtel is a good contractor, it is just a matter of getting focus and getting the work completed.”

A Bechtel spokeswoman said the contractor continues “to work diligently in collaboration” with the MWAA and Metro and that “good progress is being made.”

Meanwhile, at Thursday’s Metro Board of Directors meeting, the board will vote on authorizing general manager Richard Sarles the authority to set the Silver Line’s opening date.

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