Silver Line Phase 2 will open no earlier than February 2022, MWAA says

Silver Line Phase 2 remains on track to open in the first quarter of 2022, the Metropolitan Washington Airport Authority says.

In an update on the Dulles Corridor Metrorail Project issued on Monday (May 17), the agency says it is “confident” that construction will be finished “around Labor Day,” at which point the long-delayed $2.8 billion project will finally be handed off to the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority.

If that happens as planned, WMATA will begin conducting “operational readiness testing.” That step includes more inspections, trainings, delivery of spare parts, certifications, and the correction of any issues.

That process should take two months if there are no outstanding issues, according to a Metro presentation on Silver Line Phase 2’s progress from March.

After that, there will be “pre-revenue activities,” including more trainings, testings, and the issuing of safety certifications. That step could take up to 90 days.

Putting all of that together, that leaves five months between when WMATA receives the project and when Silver Line Phase 2 and its six stations — Reston Town Center, Herndon, Innovation Center, Dulles Airport, Loudoun Gateway, and Ashburn — would officially open.

If WMATA does receive the project on Labor Day from MWAA, that puts a potential opening for revenue services and operation in early February 2022.

Of course, not all of this is guaranteed. MWAA says the timeline is “subject to change depending on the Airports Authority’s final completion date and the results of complex testing that are needed for Metro operations.”

What’s more, MWAA notes that the contractors building the tracks and the Phase 2 rail yard and maintenance facility have both missed deadlines.

“Each contractor missed its respective contract completion date but is striving to be ready for a September turnover,” the update says.

The contractors “knows what needs to be done,” says project head Charles Stark, who is retiring in July.

One of the major challenges of the project right now is connecting Phase 2 with Silver Line Phase 1, particularly west of the Wiehle-Reston East Metrorail station. Doing this will require shutting down service at the station for a period of time that could come as soon as early summer.

Reston Now reached out to WMATA to learn more about the timeline and duration of this shutdown, but has yet to hear back as of publication.

A number of elements of the project have been completed in recent months.

The complex stormwater control system, which delayed the project more than a full year, is now finished, along with the 300-plus glass panel windscreen at the Dulles Airport Metro station.

Dulles Airport station’s pedestrian tunnel now has moving existing sidewalks as well as an exhibit showing the history of the Dulles area.

Last month, Metro approved a $4.7 billion budget that officially delayed Silver Line Phase 2 to 2022 but prevented potential very consequential service cuts.

Photo courtesy Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority

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