Nearing completion, local officials frustrated by Silver Line Phase 2’s constant delays and missed deadlines

As Silver Line Phase 2 slowly pulls into the station of completion, local officials are expressing their frustration at constant delays and missed deadlines.

In a brief update at yesterday’s (Sept. 28) Fairfax County Transportation Committee meeting, it was reiterated that Silver Line Phase 2 is expected to be substantially completed by the end of the year.

“In our discussions with [Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority], they are holding, at the moment, to the fourth quarter of 2021,” said Martha Elena Coello, special projects division chief for the Fairfax County Department of Transportation.

There are currently only two unresolved issues, according to a slideshow presented at the meeting, both of which are at the railyard and do not need to be resolved for substantial completion.

Hunter Mill District Supervisor Walter Alcorn said he was hopeful that meant MWAA would be handing over the project to Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority [WMATA] in late October, after the planned outage at Wiehle-East Reston Metro Station to tie-in the two lines. That work was supposed to be completed in June.

If the project does hit this new deadline, it would still be two months from a previous missed Labor Day deadline and years beyond the initial completion date.

Alcorn and others at the meeting showed their frustration at how Silver Line Phase 2 has been besieged by constant delays.

“This is four years overdue from the original date,” said Fairfax County Board of Supervisors Chairman Jeff McKay. “To not express some frustration here… would be a mistake. I think all of us are very frustrated.”

Alcorn also was noticeably exasperated at the pace of the project.

“Our next meeting of the transportation committee is December 14. We better have substantial completion by then,” he said.

In response, MWAA acknowledges the disappointment that many have about the delays.

“We understand the frustrations of everybody, elected officials and public alike,” MWAA spokesperson Marcia McAllister told Reston Now. “Our goal is to proceed with the [October] outage, evaluate the work that is done that weekend, and make decisions as soon as possible.”

McAllister also reiterated that MWAA is “holding on to fourth quarter 2021” as a timeline for substantial completion.

In multiple previous MWAA reports, it was revealed that there were significant disagreements between MWAA and the contractor Capital Rail Constructors (CRC) on the timeline.

While MWAA said it would be completed by the end of the year, CRC said spring 2022.

But now, CRC seems to be backing off their timeline, noting that increased collaboration with the authorities have quickened the pace.

“We are working together with MWAA and WMATA on coordinating and finalizing testing to target substantial completion of the Silver Line Phase 2A in Q4,” CRC project executive Keith Couch wrote in a statement to Reston Now.

Even if Silver Line Phase 2 is substantially completed by late October, as noted in the presentation provided to the committee, WMATA will still need approximately six months to complete testing, pre-revenue preparations, and to open the system to riders.

That could mean an opening date of April or May  2022.

The $2.8 billion public transportation project will include six new stations, extending Metro from Reston to Loudoun County.

It remains a potential game changer for the region, though many with financial investment connected to the project have grown understandably impatient.

“A lot of folks have contributed substianal money to making this happen,” said McKay at the transportation committee meeting. “And they are sitting here, waiting for service.”

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