Silver Line Phase 2 work was completed this past weekend, completion date still unknown

First Silver Line train pulls in to Wiehle-Reston East/Credit: Mike Heffner, Vita Images

(Updated, 3:50 p.m.) Work to tie-in Silver Line Phase 2 to Phase 1 was completed this past weekend, a Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority (MWAA) spokesperson tells Reston Now.

“The tie-in was a success and the Automatic Train Control System has been connected,” says spokesperson Marcia McAllister.

The work nessicated a shutdown of the Wiehle-Reston East Metro station.

One of the main goals was to finish the automatic train control system and it was completed, says McAllister. Additionally, signal infrastructure tests were done and those are still being reviewed.

There remains one or items that need to be finished, but those items can be completed without service outages, says McAllister.

However, MWAA is not committing to a date or specific timeframe for substantial completion and for when the $2.8 billion public transportation project could be handed over to Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA).

“We are now following procedures set forth in the contract so we can move forward with what needs to be done to keep this project moving forward,”​ wrote McAllister when asked about a specific timetable.

In September, WMATA scheduled a weekend shutdown of Wiehle-Reston East Metro station in order to allow MWAA and the contractor Capital Rail Contractors (CRC) to connect the first and second phase of the Silver Line as well as perform tests related to signal infrastructure.

This work was crucial to keeping the opening of Silver Line Phase 2 on track and originally was supposed to be finished in June, but that didn’t happen as expected and necessitated a second shutdown.

All of this comes at a particularly fraught time for Metro as service has been drastically reduced to at least mid-November due to ongoing investigations into 7000-series cars related to the Blue Line train derailment in Arlington earlier this month.

Constant delays and missed deadlines on the multi-billion dollar Silver Line Phase 2 project have constantly frustrated residents, business owners, and government officials alike.

Recently, MWAA has continued to insist that substantial completion is coming soon, despite disagreements with the contractor on the timeline.

“The Airports Authority, WMATA and lead contractor Capital Rail Constructors worked together to make this a success,” reiterated McAllister.

Reston Now has reached to CRC about how the tie-in work this past weekend may impact their own assessment of a timeline for substantial completion, but have to yet to hear back as of publication.

Early last month, WMATA officials noted that it could be done and handed over to them in November.

However, there now seems to be some hedging on this timeline. At the Fairfax County Transportation Committee meeting at the end of September, it was announced that MWAA was “holding, at the moment, to the fourth quarter of 2021.”

A clearly-frustrated Hunter Mill District Supervisor Walter Alcorn responded at the meeting that it better be done prior to the Christmas holiday.

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

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