Metro: MWAA Behind in Silver Line Fixes

by Karen Goff June 9, 2014 at 12:00 pm 1,001 5 Comments

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.

  • Mike M

    “Bechtel is a good contractor . . .”
    Um, they seem to be having a little trouble with schedule and cost. Correct me if I’m wrong but weren’t they awarded this on a non-competitive basis?

  • MS123

    How difficult is it to paint a handrail? I see hundreds of white vans with painters working every day. Open the damn train already!!!

  • Terrence Jefferson

    I’m still trying to figure out if the Silver Line “opening” is a joke, a mirage, or a nightmare.

  • Niels Pemberton

    I am a patron of transit services in the WDC area. I have also been an activist for better transit service in the WDC area.

    I am a prospective patron of the Silver Line. I have been more and more exasperated with
    the cost overruns and particularly the delays of the Silver Line.

    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.” (Monday June 9th 2014.)

    Mr. Troup said that only 4 items on the punch list have been closed out or done so far.

    I am downright Angry now.

    I’ve a good mind to go Bechtel’s Reston Office and demand to talk with
    someone in charge re: the foot-dragging by them and the contractor on part one of the Silver Line.

    I demand that WMATA obtain a schedule of work to be done on the Silver Line from Bechtel and the contractor and then pressure Bechtel and the contractor to pick up the pace on the finishing work on the Silver Line.

    If this means that the construction workers have to work weekends and overnight then so be it.

    I also demand that this schedule be released to the public. The public has a right to know.

    A tentative opening date must be set.

    The public is waiting and growing impatient. I know the public’s patience is limited.

    I am growing impatient. My patience is limited.

    I want to ride the Silver Line into Washington by August 7th

    This to me is non-negotiable.

    Beware my wrath in September if the Silver Line is not up and running safely. I know how to organize people and I’ll organize protests. Picketing, Street-Theatre and an invasion of Bechtel’s Reston office.

    The public feels like Tantalus in the Greek Story having the food and water dangled in front of him by the gods only to have it disappear when Tantalus reaches out for it because Tantalus has offended the gods.

    Instead of having food and water withheld, the public is seeing endless, interminable delays to the opening of part one of the Silver Line due to poor construction management by Bechtel and Dulles Transit Partners it’s contractor.

    Bechtel must be permanently disqualified from ANY transit and railroad project in the Washington area as a result.

  • JoeF

    This is BS. MWAA should not be blaming their contractors but managing them more proactively.


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