Morning Notes

Herndon Prepares for Metro — Town officials reflect on how they’re preparing for Metro’s arrival. The town has 38 acres of developable land north of the new Metro station. [Washington Business Journal]

Aslin Beer Co. to Expand — The brewery, which has locations in Alexandria and Herndon, is opening a 7,000-square-foot taproom in The Terminal, a large redevelopment of Pittsburg. [Washington Business Journal]

QR Codes Now Available to Verify Vaccine Status — The state’s health department has announced that QR codes are now available to verify an individual’s vaccination status. Virginia is now the fifth state in the country to adopt the QR code method. [Fairfax County Government]

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Wiehle-Reston East Garage (via Fairfax Connector)

The Wiehle-Reston East Metro station will be closed during the weekend of Oct. 23 and 24 so crews can work to connect the first and second phase of the Silver Line.

This will be the second time in six months that the station has been shut down so the two phases can be tied together after work and tests related to signal infrastructure were not completed in June as expected, necessitating another shutdown.

If the work is completed as hoped this time, it will be a major milestone for the $2.8 billion Silver Line Phase 2 project, potentially putting it on track for substantial completion by November.

The scheduled shutdown was added to Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority’s (WMATA) track work page shortly after officials delivered an update on the project to the WMATA board yesterday (Thursday).

Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority (MWAA) spokesperson Marcia McAllister said in an email to Reston Now that the scheduling of the shutdown for late October is “great news.”

“Now that a date has been set for the service outage needed to allow completion of the tie-in between Phase 1 and Phase 2 of the Silver Line, the Airports Authority and our contractors can get this essential work done in October and move the project toward substantial completion,” McAllister wrote.

Substantial completion refers to the point when MWAA will be ready to hand the project to WMATA. The authority previously set Labor Day weekend as the deadline but acknowledged in July that it wouldn’t meet that timeline.

At the board meeting, WMATA officials said they were comfortable with MWAA setting a new substantial completion deadline for the end of this year, stating that the work will most likely be finished in November.

If that is the case, Metro will still need another five to six months of operational readiness testing and pre-revenue activities, but that could mean the Silver Line Phase 2 will open to riders by May 2022.

However, in MWAA’s most recent monthly report, the project’s contractor Capital Rail Constructors proposed a substantial date of May 19, 2022, which could push the opening all the way to late 2022. It wasn’t the first time that the two parties disagreed on the project’s schedule.

Shortly after the report was released, though, CRC project executive Keith Couth told Reston Now that there were “opportunities through collaboration” to improve on that date and get it completed much sooner.

When reached for comment, Couch reiterated that they are working to finish by the end of this year.

“We are in the testing phase of the project which is very dependent on coordinating and finalizing testing with MWAA and WMATA, including scheduling of the next outage at Wiehle Avenue and the review of test reports,” Couch said. “In collaboration with MWAA and WMATA, we are working together to improve on the schedule, targeting a substantial completion in Q4.”

With the Wiehle shutdown now scheduled and the contractor supportive of a hoped-for 2021 substantial completion date, Silver Line Phase 2 is seemingly back on track after years of delays that have frustrated local officials, residents, and businesses alike.

“Level F” testing — meaning testing with actual trains — also began late last month and is going well, according to WMATA officials.

The nearly $3 billion project will extend Metro’s Silver Line from the Wiehle-Reston East station west to Ashburn in Loudoun County. In total, six new stations will be added, including one at Reston Town Center and two in Herndon.

Construction began back in 2014 and was originally supposed to finish in 2018.

Photo via Fairfax Connector

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A newly proposed timeline for Silver Line Phase 2 pushes the date for substantial completion of the project to May 19, 2022, nearly one month later than previously suggested.

The date comes from contractor Capital Rail Constructors and was included in the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority’s July monthly report, which was finished on Aug. 26 and released on Wednesday (Sept. 1).

Like before, MWAA says in its report that it disagrees with the contractor’s projected “longest path” timeline.

“Based on the remainder of work to be accomplished, the Airports Authority believes that the Substantial Completion date can be accomplished within Q4 2021,” the report says.

The business was contractually obligated to complete the project in August 2019, MWAA spokesperson Marcia McAllister said.

A phase known as Level F testing began this week and could last several weeks, she said. While components work on their own, this process helps ensure that the entire system works together.

“We are in the testing phase of the project, which is very dependent on coordinating and finalizing testing with MWAA and WMATA, including scheduling of the next outage at Wiehle Avenue and the review of test reports,” Keith Couch, project executive for Capital Rail Constructors, said in a statement.

The Wiehle-Reston East Metro station was shut down for a weekend in late June so workers could tie together the Silver Line’s first and second phases, but some tests were not completed over those two days, so another outage is needed.

WMATA says it typically provides information about planned track work about eight weeks in advance. As of today (Friday), no notice about a Wiehle station shutdown has been posted.

While the new timeline extends the substantial completion date from April 21 to May 19, Capital Rail Constructors suggested that the completion could shift to this year.

“While based on the information available at this time our schedule shows a May 2022 substantial completion date, there are opportunities through collaboration with MWAA and WMATA to improve on that date and complete the project by October of this year,” Couch said in the statement.

Matt Letourneau, a Loudoun County supervisor on the WMATA board of directors, said yesterday (Thursday) at a Northern Virginia Transportation Commission meeting that despite the contractor placing the substantial completion date into 2022, the Airports Authority has not changed its fall 2021 timeline.

The $2.8 billion project will extend Metro’s Silver Line from the Wiehle station westward to Ashburn in Loudoun County, adding six new stations along the Dulles Toll Road.

Substantial completion represents the moment when MWAA will be ready to hand the 23-mile extension over to the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority. Officials previously expected Metro to take control of the project by Labor Day, but MWAA admitted in early July that it won’t make that deadline.

After the substantial completion, it will still take at least half a year before the line can begin operating publicly, since Metro needs to conduct its own testing, training, and other activities, a WMATA presentation in July noted.

Preliminary construction for Phase 2 began in 2014. It was originally supposed to open in 2018.

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Morning Notes

Man stands on paddleboard at Lake Anne (via vantagehill/Flickr)

Metro Service Changes Start This Weekend — “Starting Sunday, Metro says riders will notice big changes when it comes to price and how often buses and trains come. The changes are part of an effort by Metro to lure back riders, something it has struggled to do during the pandemic. General manager Paul Wiedefeld tells 7News bus ridership is only about 55% what it was pre-pandemic, and rail is just 25% of what it once was.” [ABC7 News]

Fairfax County Firefighters Assist with Ida Response — A 16-person water rescue team with the Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department’s Virginia Task Force 1 Urban Search and Rescue Team was activated by FEMA yesterday (Thursday) in response to the impact of Hurricane Ida remnants in the Northeast. The task force recently returned from Haiti after the island was devastated by an earthquake. [VATF1/Twitter]

Virginia No Longer Worst State for Workers — “Conditions for workers in Virginia have improved considerably since Democrats took control of the commonwealth’s General Assembly in 2019, according to a new assessment by anti-poverty organization Oxfam America. Oxfam ranked Virginia the ‘worst state for workers’ in 2018 and 2019…but [it] leapt to #23 in the organization’s 2021 rankings, released Wednesday.” [DCist]

Lights Festival Coming to Roer’s Zoofari — “Beginning on October 15, Roer’s Zoofari will host a very different collection of animals from its typical apes and reptiles line-up. Come embrace our post-reality reality with unicorns and dinosaurs at LuminoCity Festival, a paid-admission, outdoor display of light art. The concept is simple: thousands of giant, light-up figures and environments that you walk around and look at, at night.” [Northern Virginia Magazine]

Photo via vantagehill/Flickr

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Starting over Labor Day weekend, transfers between Metro trains and Fairfax Connector buses will be free.

The Fairfax County Department of Transportation (FCDOT) said yesterday (Monday) it has partnered with the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) to provide free transfers on nearly all Connector bus routes beginning on Sunday (Sept. 5).

This lines up with Metro’s new policy of also offering free bus transfers, which was first announced earlier this month.

“Fairfax Connector has historically aligned fare policies with Metrobus and by doing so, helps create a seamless experience for users when moving between transit services provided by WMATA and the County,” FCDOT spokesperson Robin Geiger wrote in an email. “That’s why we are partnering with WMATA to extend their program to Fairfax Connector bus service to provide good customer service and provide incentives to ride transit.”

The two exceptions will be the Fairfax Connector Express Service and the Wolf Trap shuttle. Both will be discounted by $2, though, with the use of WMATA’s SmarTrip card or app.

This is a pilot program that will operate for the next 10 months, through early July 2022, Geiger says.

Fairfax Connector serves all Metro stations located in Fairfax County. This will include all Silver Line Phase 2 stations once those open, Geiger confirms.

Additionally, the Wolf Trap shuttle will start again operating on Sept. 5. The shuttle runs between the West Falls Church Metro station and Wolf Trap National Park’s Filene Center.

The new policy is part of a larger push to encourage increased ridership on the Fairfax Connector as schools, offices, and other public places reopen amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We hope that when people go back to their workplaces, they consider returning to or trying transit for the first time,” writes Geiger. “Now, is the time to ride because the free transfer from Fairfax Connector to Metrorail or from Metrorail to Fairfax Connector saves money and because Fairfax Connector continues to provide a safe and healthy environment on buses.”

In May, county officials said they were reviewing possibly reducing or even eliminating fares altogether on the Fairfax Connector.

To help with this, the county was planning to apply for grant funds from Virginia’s Transit Ridership Incentive Program. The application deadline for the program is Sept. 17. Geiger says there’s currently no additional information on the possibility of reducing or eliminating fares.

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Morning Notes

A bicycle and swing seat by Lake Anne (via vantagehill/Flickr)

Metro Changes Coming Next Month — A host of service changes, including more rail and bus service, longer hours, free bus transfers, and a flat $2, one-way train fare on weekends, will take effect starting on Sept. 5. Approved by Metro’s board of governors in June, the alterations are intended to lure riders back as students return to school and more white-collar workers return to offices. [WTOP]

Virginia Prepares to Welcome Afghan Refugees — Gov. Ralph Northam said on Twitter yesterday that he is coordinating with the federal government to accept “thousands more” Afghan citizens and their families at Fort Lee. 8,650 refugees from Afghanistan have settled in Virginia over the past six years. [DCist]

NoVA Fine Arts Festival Roster Revealed — The Northern Virginia Fine Arts Festival has unveiled a lineup of more than 200 artists who will compete in 10 categories from Sept. 10-12 at Reston Town Center. After last year’s cancellation, this year’s festival will have several health precautions in place, including hand sanitation stations, vaccination requirements for volunteers, and encouragement of social distancing and face mask-wearing in artist booths. [Tephra ICA]

Photo via vantagehill/Flickr

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Morning Notes

Paddleboats lined up on Lake Anne (via vantagehill/Flickr)

What to Know About the Delta Variant — The Fairfax County Health Department issued a blog post yesterday (Thursday) answering common questions about the Delta variant of the novel coronavirus. The department says evidence suggests fully vaccinated people can spread the variant to others, and a small number have gotten sick, but the COVID-19 vaccines remain overwhelmingly effective at preventing severe illness, hospitalization, and death. [FCHD]

Metro Police Chief to Retire — Metro Transit Police Chief Ron Pavlik Jr. will retire on Sept. 1, Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority General Manager Paul Wiedefeld said in an internal memo sent to employees yesterday. Assistant Chief Michael Anzallo will serve as interim police chief for the transit agency, which has faced recent scrutiny over its use of force and reported failure to investigate thousands of crimes, including armed robberies and sexual assaults. [DCist]

Volunteer Fairfax Seeks PPE Donations — The nonprofit Volunteer Fairfax hopes to collect 65,000 cloth masks, particularly children-sized ones, as well as face shields, cleaning supplies, and other equipment to support the community response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Donations can be dropped off at Fairfax County police stations, and the group accepts monetary donations online. [Patch]

New Exhibit Opens at Reston Art Gallery and Studios — The show “At Water’s Edge” by painter Sandra Dovberg is now open for public viewing through August on weekends at Reston Art Gallery and Studios (11400 Washington Plaza West) by the lakeside “ART” sign at historic Lake Anne Plaza. Highlighted by jellyfish wall hangings, the exhibit focuses on the meeting of land and water and joins work on display from seven other artists in the cooperative. [RAGS]

Photo via vantagehill/Flickr

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(Updated 12:20 p.m.) A new restaurant and day spa are opening nearby the Wiehle-Reston East Metro station around the holiday season.

Eve’s Garden Lounge & Bar and Emiline’s Day Spa are opening next to each other at the new Faraday Park development at 1831 Michael Faraday Drive, about a 10-minute walk from the Metro station. Both businesses are from the same ownership group, which also own Alo Vietnam in Herndon.

The businesses will open sometime between Thanksgiving and Christmas this year, co-owner Don Lee confirmed to Reston Now. They will occupy two 1,746 square-foot spaces — about 3,600 square feet in total — and operate next to each other.

“We were supposed to have construction late last year, but that was delayed because of COVID. So, we just started construction,” Lee said in June.

The day spa will offer services for both men and women like pedicures, facial treatments, hair salon, and massages.

The restaurant has yet to reveal its menu, but Lee says it will be similar to Herndon’s Alo Vietnam, which offers modernized Vietnamese fare like pho, banh mi, and rice vermicelli. The difference, Lee says, is that Eva’s will be “more Asian fusion and focus more on presentation and will be higher end.”

Lee told Reston Now in June that the ownership group’s ultimate goal is to have a business located within walking distance of all the Silver Line stations, extending out to Dulles Airport.

Alo Vietnam opened within a five-minute walk of the future Innovation Center Metro station in late 2019 in anticipation of Silver Line Phase 2’s opening. Of course, the line has yet to open, leaving businesses like Alo Vietnam in the lurch.

Lee hoped that, by being near a Metro station, the business would be buoyed by commuters, office workers, and tourists.

“We did invest in 2019…thinking that we will carry the load the first year until the Metro opens,” Lee said in June. “Then, we will have a good location with a lot of foot traffic with tourists and from all the businesses around.”

But between the long-delayed $2.8 billion public transportation project and the pandemic, that dream has yet to be realized for Lee and Alo Vietnam. Now, Silver Line Phase 2 is looking like it may not open until mid-2022.

When Eva’s Garden Lounge & Bar and Emiline’s Day Spa opens in Reston by the end of the year, they will be the first of Lee’s businesses to be open near a currently operating Metro station.

The businesses are two of four confirmed retailers coming to Faraday Park, which opened one residential tower for move-ins in April with a second tower expected to be completed in the next few months. The gym F45 and the salon A+ Nails are the others.

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Morning Notes

Bench flowers at Vantage Hill (via vantagehill/Flickr)

CDC Updates Mask Guidance — The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention now recommends masks indoors in places with high or substantial COVID-19 transmission and in schools nationwide, regardless of an individual’s vaccination status. The Virginia Department of Health told Reston Now that it is analyzing the new guidance. “We continue to emphasize that the only way out of this pandemic is through vaccination,” VDH said in a statement. [Associated Press]

Plastic Bag Tax Public Hearing Scheduled — The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors authorized a public hearing for 4:30 p.m. on Sept. 14 to gather community input on a proposed five-cent tax on disposable plastic bags. If the ordinance is approved, Fairfax County would be the second locality in Virginia to adopt a bag tax. [Fairfax County Government]

Reston Woman Freed After Being Trapped Under Car — Fairfax County Fire and Rescue personnel extricated a woman who was found trapped under her car in a parking lot in the 1700 block of Reston Parkway around 11:58 p.m. on Monday (July 26). Police believe she had failed to fully shift into park, leading the car to roll backward into her after she exited the vehicle. The woman was taken to a nearby hospital to get treatment for injuries that were not life-threatening. [Patch]

Metro to Tweak Railcar Announcements — “Metro is changing the announcements on its railcars at the request of its Accessibility Advisory Committee (AAC). The new message moves the most important information, what train line and destination it is, to the front…Phil Posner, chair of the AAC, says the change is beneficial for those with low vision, hearing, or low mobility and people new to the system.” [DCist]

Photo via vantagehill/Flickr

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The Herndon Metro station (staff photo by Jay Westcott)

The Labor Day deadline for “substantial completion” of Silver Line Phase 2 won’t be met, Metro staff acknowledged at a Board of Directors safety and operations committee meeting today (Thursday).

The presentation confirmed what the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority (MWAA) told Fairfax County earlier this month.

At this point, it remains unknown when the project will be substantially completed and able to be turned over to the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA). The expected delay will likely push the opening date even further back.

“There hasn’t been a new substantial completion day published [by MWAA],” said Andy Off, Metro’s vice president of project implementation and construction. “But we are confident it’s going to get moved past Labor Day.”

The latest delay of the $2.8 billion public transportation project stems from the need for more testing and work to tie Silver Line’s first and second phases together. That will require another shutdown of Wiehle-Reston East Metro station, much like the one that happened late last month.

“There are specific tests that were not completed over that weekend that necessitated a further shutdown,” Off said. “We are currently working with MWAA to schedule that.”

Reston Now reached out to MWAA about when that station shutdown will happen but has to hear back as of publication.

Off assured committee members that the delay has nothing to do with concrete issues or any other major safety concern.

“Right now, it’s really an IT project as it relates to our signal infrastructure,” Off said.

Once the Wiehle-Reston East outage gets scheduled and the work is completed, Off said there will be a better idea of a substantial completion date, with “fall” being as specific as he can get at this juncture.

Metro will need about six months from substantial completion to complete testing and “pre-revenue activities,” including trainings and further testing, which is contractually obligated to take no longer than 90 days, according to a presentation to Fairfax County Board of Supervisors transportation committee last month.

A Labor Day hand-off would have put Silver Line Phase 2 on track to open in the first quarter of 2022, but now, operations likely won’t begin until later that year. The project will extend Metro from Reston into Loudoun County with six new stations.

At the WMATA board committee meeting, officials emphasized that this delay is unrelated to any problem. There’s simply a need for more testing time.

“It’s not unusual to have several tests planned and just not have the amount of time as you need,” rail safety expert Devin Rouse, who’s on the Metro board, said. “If anything significant does come up, that’s a discussion we really need to have. At this point, this is normal for these types of projects.”

While officials have downplayed this particular delay, it follows a long line of Silver Line Phase 2 holdups that have frustrated residents and businesses waiting for the multi-billion-dollar public transporation project, which was initially set to open in 2018.

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Morning Notes

Riders Could Be Banned for Crimes on Metro Property — “Metro is seeking authority to temporarily ban bus and rail riders from the system if they are arrested for…either sex-related crimes or crimes related to guns or other dangerous weapons. Anyone arrested for such crimes would be banned from the bus and rail system for 14 days after a first arrest, 30 days after a second arrest, and one year after a third arrest.” [WJLA-ABC7]

Tall Oaks Parking Expansion Approved — The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors unanimously approved the Reston assisted living facility’s proposal to add 29 spaces to its 44-space parking lot. Tall Oaks has also agreed to provide three secure bicycle racks near the front of the building and pre-wire 2% of the proposed spaces for electric vehicle charging stations. [Patch]

Fairfax County Teen to Get Congressional Medal — 17-year-old Centreville resident Ayonnah Tinsley is one of about 500 students who will get the Congressional Award Gold Medal in a virtual ceremony on July 30. The highest honor given by Congress to young people, the award recognizes youth for personal development, community service, and fitness. [WTOP]

Roer’s Zoofari Opens Butterfly Exhibit — “Imagine strolling through a tropical rain forrest surrounded by the flutter of colorful butterfly wings. That imagined experience can become a reality thanks to the new Wings of Wonder exhibit at Roer’s Zoofari in Reston.” [Patch]

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Morning Notes

Metro Reports Pandemic Ridership High for Fourth of July — “The transit agency said it saw a pandemic-record high ridership during the [Independence Day] holiday. As of 10 p.m. Sunday, about 174,000 trips were taken on the rail system, Metro tweeted Sunday night. That’s the highest single-day ridership since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic.” [WTOP]

Man Arrested for Attempted Robbery in Reston — “Officers from the Reston District Station of the Fairfax County Police arrested a Centreville man Thursday [July 1] in connection with an attempted robbery in Reston…The victim returned to his car, which was parked near the intersection of Clubhouse Road and North Shore Drive around 4:53 a.m., when he found a man rummaging around inside it, police say.” [Patch]

Leidos Offers Employees a Year’s Pay to Get COVID-19 Vaccine — In an effort to counter slowing inoculation rates, the Reston-based information technology contractor has set aside $1 million to give 10 randomly selected employees a year’s worth of pay if they get the COVID-19 vaccine. Eight Leidos workers have died from the virus, including one D.C. area resident. [The Washington Post]

Virginia’s Death Row Officially Vacant — “With the death penalty formally abolished in Virginia as of this week, death row is now officially vacant, according to prison officials. Department of Corrections spokeswoman Lisa Kinney said the two remaining prisoners facing death sentences were moved off death row after the legislation was signed earlier this year.” [Virginia Mercury]

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Fourth of July celebrations (via Sheri Hooley/Unsplash)

The Fourth of July is coming up this weekend, and with Monday (July 5) as a designated federal holiday, many public facilities and services will be shaking up their schedules.

The Fairfax County Health Department announced today (Friday) that all of its COVID-19 vaccination clinics will be closed on Independence Day, but walk-in services will be available at the Fairfax County Government Center and the former Safeway at Mount Vernon Square in Alexandria on Saturday.

A vaccine site at Springfield Town Center will also be open for walk-ins on Monday.

Here are some other closures that county residents should keep in mind this holiday weekend:

Fairfax County Government

Fairfax County Courts

County Libraries, Recreation Centers, Parks

Public Transit

  • Fairfax Connector buses will operate on a Saturday service schedule on Monday. Check the link for details on specific routes.
  • WMATA Metrorail service will operate from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. on Saturday and 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. on Sunday. Details on routes and closed stations can be found on the Metro website.
  • WMATA Metrobus will operate on a Saturday service schedule on Monday.

County Trash and Recycling

Reston

Herndon

  • Town offices and the Herndon Community Center will be closed on Sunday and Monday.
  • Recycling will be collected on Monday as normal.
  • The farm at Frying Pan Park and the indoor arena will be open, but the visitor center will be closed.
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The Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority (MWAA) will not meet its Labor Day deadline for substantial completion of Silver Line Phase 2, likely pushing back the opening of the long-delayed $2.8 billion project yet again.

The announcement came in the final minutes of the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors’ transportation committee meeting earlier this week.

The delay is related to the work done this past weekend (June 26-27) to tie together the Silver Line’s second phase with the operating first phase at Wiehle-Reston East Metro station, forcing the station to close.

“We were made aware that the tie-in between Phase 1 and Phase 2, which was partially done this weekend, will actually need an additional weekend,” Martha Elena Coello, special projects division chief for the Fairfax County Department of Transportation, told the committee.

She noted that this was different information than what was in the presentation that had been prepared for the meeting.

“That will impact the substantial completion day of Labor Day and the magnitude of that impact has not been determined yet,” she said. “We expect to have that information within two weeks.”

An MWAA spokesperson confirmed that this is the case.

While MWAA told Reston Now last week that an additional weekend and a second shutdown of the Wiehle-Reston East Metro station will be needed to complete the work, it wasn’t clear how it would affect the timeline of the entire project.

Now, it’s clear that MWAA will not be handing over the project to the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) by Labor Day weekend, which is only eight weeks from now. At this point, it is unknown when completion and hand-off could take place.

Metro needs about six months from substantial completion to complete testing and open the system, according to the presentation to the county board’s transportation committee.

With a Labor Day hand-off, Silver Line Phase 2 could reasonably be assumed to open in early March 2022. Now, the operating date could be pushed further into spring or even later.

When asked what work was completed last weekend and what still needs to be done, MWAA spokesperson Marcia McAllister told Reston Now by email that it was mostly electrical tasks:

This past weekend, the connection of the Traction Power system between Phase 2 of the Silver Line and the existing Metrorail system was successfully completed at the Wiehle-Reston East Metrorail Station. In addition, work was done to connect the Automatic Train Control System (ATC).The work was done by crews from Capital Rail Construction (CRC) and the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) working closely together. The Airports Authority is now reviewing the work that remains to be done at the ATC tie-in prior to completion of the rail line and is assessing any schedule impacts.

She added in a follow-up that additional work still needs to be done, but a date has not been set for the next outage and shutdown of the Wiehle-Reston East Metro station.

Overall, Phase 2 is 99% completed, but even beyond the tie-in, there remains work still to be done around third-rail insulators, station platform pavings, and more.

However, Coello noted at the meeting that a majority of this work needs to be completed by revenue service and can be done after MWAA’s handoff to WMATA.

This is far from the first delay to beset the Silver Line’s second phase, which was initially set to be completed in 2018. The project will extend Metro from Reston into Loudoun County with six new stations.

The timeline has been prolonged by contractor issues, design changes, flawed materials, defective panels, and bad concrete, testing the patience and viability of a number of local Reston and Herndon businesses that intentionally set up shop near the stations.

Now, businesses, residents, and the region are going to have to wait at least a little bit longer for Silver Line Phase 2 to finally open.

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Wiehle-Reston East Metro station garage (photo by Fairfax Connector)

(Updated at 3:30 p.m.) The Wiehle-Reston East Metro station will be closed this weekend (June 25-26) so workers can connect the first and second phases of the Silver Line.

Most of the work being done this weekend is electrical and technological, as opposed to construction, says Marcia McAllister, spokesperson for the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority.

“The work to be done this week by MWAA and CRC (our contractor) will make the permanent power connections between Phase 2 and the existing WMATA system,” wrote McAllister in an email to Reston Now. “This connection is at the Wiehle-Reston station which is the current end of the Silver Line.”

Additional testing will also be done this weekend.

Metro will provide free shuttle buses throughout the weekend to transport passengers between Wiehle-Reston East and the Spring Hill station in Tysons, the closest stop on the Silver Line, MWAA says.

The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority has called the task of connecting the two phases of its Silver Line rail a major benchmark and potential challenge of the project.

McAllister noted that this closure is an expected part of the process as MWAA prepares to hand over the project to WMATA in September.

Another outage — meaning potential additional closures — will be needed prior to that fall turnover, writes McAllister, but a date for that has yet to be determined.

“At this time, this weekend’s shutdown at Wiehle-Reston East is the only closure scheduled during the next 8 weeks with regard to Silver Line Phase 2,” Metro spokesperson Sherri Ly told Reston Now.

Silver Line Phase 2 appears to be still on track to open in the first quarter of 2022, though officials previously cautioned that the timeline is subject to change.

The long-delayed $2.8 billion project originally had a completion date of 2018. But design changes, defective panels, contractor issues, flawed rail ties, and bad concrete all contributed to the nearly four-year delay, which has tested the patience of some local businesses in Herndon and Reston.

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