Users of the Dulles Toll Road can expect to pay more in 2019, according to a 2018 draft budget presented to the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority Board today.
No increase from the $3.50 toll ($2.50 at the plaza and $1 at the ramp) is planned in 2018; however, it is expected to jump to $4.75 the following year. Numbers presented by the Board’s Finance Committee show that is only the beginning of the hikes.
In 2023, the toll is projected to go up to $6. Additional jumps of $1.25 or more are projected every five years for the following two decades, resulting in an $11.25 toll in 2043.
The toll last increased in 2014, when it went up from $2.75 to the current rate. It steadily increased each year from 2010 to 2014. Prior to that, the toll was $1.25 (75 cents at the plaza and 50 cents at the ramp).
Tolls are used in part by MWAA to help fund the expansion of Metro’s Silver Line. Nearly half the cost of the construction, about $2.8 billion, is being paid by Toll Road fees.
Opioid Roundtable Planned — The discussion, scheduled for the Fairfax County Government Center at 2 p.m. Saturday, will be hosted by Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-Va.) and Sharon Bulova, chair of the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors. The event is open to the public. [Fairfax County Fire and Rescue]
Reston Woman Pleads Guilty to Role in Gang-Related Killing — Cindy Blanco Hernandez, 19, entered pleas to abduction and gang participation Tuesday as part of a deal with prosecutors. She was among 10 members and associates of the gang MS-13 charged after the January killing of 15-year-old Damaris A. Reyes Rivas. She may face up to 30 years in prison when she is sentenced in May. [Washington Post]
Herndon Adds Parking Enforcement Position — The part-time officer was hired Oct. 3 and will work 30 hours a week, which has at least one resident worried about “end[ing] up like Reston Town Center.” [Connection Newspapers]
Silver Line Phase 2 Hits Two-Thirds Point — More than 5 million hours have been spent on the $2.78 billion project so far, according to updates expected to be presented today to the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority Board. [WTOP]
Lake Anne Brew House to Attend Festival This Weekend — The local nanobrewery is already gaining attention ahead of the Virginia Craft Brewers Festival this weekend in Charlottesville, with an event manager describing why its award-winning New Year’s Golden Ale is a top pick for him. [Richmond Times-Dispatch]
Farmers Market Success Celebrated — During a National Farmers Market Week commemoration this past Saturday at the Reston Farmers Market, its many successes were praised. [Connection Newspapers]
Pedestrian Bridges at Herndon Station Going in Next Week — The Herndon-Monroe Park & Ride will be closed overnight twice next week as the work is done. [Dulles Corridor Metrorail Project]
Residents Can Give Input in County Executive Search — Fairfax County Executive Edward Long will retire next month. The county is asking citizens to give their input to assist in the recruiting process for his replacement. [Survey Monkey]
Did You Get a Jury Questionnaire? — The county is sending out 50,000 jury questionnaires, and it wants to make sure recipients know it is just the beginning of the jury duty screening process. [Fairfax County]
Be Wary of Charlottesville Charity Scams — Attorney General Mark Herring says anyone interested in assisting victims of last weekend’s violence should vet the organization, campaign or page organizer before they donate. He says people who need help figuring out whether a charity is legitimate can contact the attorney general’s Consumer Protection Section. [WTOP]
File image courtesy Jennifer Heffner Photography
According to a quarterly update provided Wednesday to the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority, construction of the Phase 2 of the Silver Line extension to Loudoun County has passed 60 percent completion.
Capital Rail Constructors reports that after nearly 4.4 million manhours of work, 61.12 percent of construction is done. They say the design process is 99.97 percent done.
The facility construction of the Reston Town Center station has continued with steel erection that started in May and will continue through August. Mechanical work projected to happen until fall 2018.
The Herndon Station will wrap up its metal decking by the end of August and start work on the roofing and skylights. The facility work of the station is estimated to be completed by this fall.
The MWAA is overseeing construction of the 11.4-mile project, which began in July 2013 and consists of six stations from the Reston Town Center station to the Ashburn station.
Despite the station construction steadily moving forward, the Silver Line extension will not be done for another three years. Construction on the cable trough is only 44 percent complete, and there are other track adjustments to make before everything is finalized.
WTOP reported earlier this week that the series of delays that pushed the opening back to 2020 will cost $95 million. The delays are being caused by a series of design changes, including safety-related work.
Silver Line Delays Have Steep Price Tag — A series of delays that has pushed the opening of the Silver Line’s Phase 2 back to 2020 will cost $95 million. The Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority disclosed that number in a presentation prepared for its Wednesday board meeting. [WTOP]
Design Review Board Meets Tonight — Among the topics to be discussed at tonight’s meeting of Reston’s Design Review Board (7 p.m. at Reston Association headquarters, 12001 Sunrise Valley Drive, as well as live on RA’s YouTube channel) is the redevelopment of Tall Oaks Village Center. [Reston Association]
Zoning Open House Coming Up — Fairfax County will hold an open house Wednesday, July 26 to talk about proposed zoning changes that may affect local communities. Among the topics to be discussed are potential changes to the rules about short-term rentals, such as Airbnb; rear-yard coverage, such as patios; and more. [Fairfax County]
Herndon High Grad to Play at Georgia Tech — After completing his bachelor’s degree in economics in three years while playing basketball at Lehigh University, HHS grad Brandon Alston has transferred to Georgia Tech to play out his final two years of sports eligibility. [Georgia Tech University]
Metro’s Art in Transit Program is recommending the vision of a Colorado-based artist to become the motif of the future Reston Town Center Metro station.
Last week, the program unveiled the proposal of Joshua Wiener as its pick for the public art installation at the station’s walkways over the Dulles Toll Road. Wiener’s designs, which are shown on his personal website, consist of powder-coated aluminum sculptures of a bassist, a horn player and a drummer, as well as flowing red and teal ribbon designs down the corridors.
Wiener’s proposal was chosen over two other finalists. The program received 45 total submissions for the project. The Art Review Panel included the Fairfax County Department of Transportation, the Arts Council of Fairfax County, Public Art Reston and other Virginia-based visual art professionals.
According to the Art in Transit Program, the public art initiative benefits Metro as a whole by:
- Creating attractive transit facilities
- Building livable communities by creating public spaces that reflect the artistic, cultural and historic environment
- Creating economic opportunities for artists, engineers, fabricators and other professionals
WMATA’s Customer Service Operations and Security Committee approved the proposal at its Thursday meeting. The full WMATA board will vote on it this summer. Upon board approval, WMATA will enter into contract with Wiener to develop, fabricate and install the artwork.
The Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority, which is overseeing construction of Phase II of the Silver Line, is funding the public art effort. The project’s funding is capped at $250,000.
Some Work on Phase 1 of Silver Line Project Ongoing — The Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority says some work connected to the first phase of the Silver Line still needs to be completed. All significant work is done, according to MWAA, but continuing projects include realignment of Old Meadow Road in McLean. [WTOP]
SLHS Softballer Heading to Europe — Alyssa Smith, a freshman at South Lakes High School, is raising money to travel to Europe to play softball for the Student-Athlete USA Team. Alyssa is the center fielder for HRYS Glory 16U and has hopes of playing Division I college softball after she graduates. [GoFundMe]
Bluegrass Series Wrapping Up at Frying Pan Park — The Bluegrass Barn series at Frying Pan Farm Park (2739 West Ox Road, Herndon) will come to an end April 9 with a performance by The Boxcars. Tickets are now on sale. [Fairfax County Park Authority]
Gillespie Wins County GOP Straw Poll — A Fairfax County Republican Party straw poll over the weekend has Ed Gillespie, former Republican National Committee chairman, firmly in the lead in the GOP race for Governor of Virginia. Gillespie is facing Corey Stewart and Frank Wagner in the primary, which takes place June 13. [WTOP]
Phase 2 of construction on Metro’s Silver Line is more than 56 percent complete, according to information released today by the Dulles Corridor Metrorail Project.
The Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority is overseeing construction of the 11.4-mile Phase 2 extension of the Silver Line from Reston through Dulles Airport to Ashburn. Engineering and design work on the phase began in July 2013, and the project is expected to be complete by 2020. All told, the stretch will include six rail stations; nine entrance pavilions and pedestrian bridges; aerial guideways through Dulles Airport; and 89,000 feet of track.
Station wall work is currently underway at the future Reston Town Center station, while structural steel installation for the vault roof has begun at the future Herndon station, also located in Reston. In addition, piers for pedestrian bridges are being put up. All needed pier caps have been poured, along with 76 percent of deck spans. Construction on the rail yard at Dulles Airport is 46 percent complete, according to project officials.
Work also began in December on a new Herndon Metro parking garage, a county project.
Phase 2 of the Silver Line was originally projected to be completed by late 2018; however, design modifications later pushed that date back.
Photos courtesy Capital Rail Constructors/Dulles Corridor Metrorail Project
Phase 2, which will run from Wiehle-Reston East to Dulles International Airport and into Loudoun County, was most recently projected to open in late 2018. This means it might not open until late 2019.
MWAA constructed Phase 1 of the Silver Line, which opened in July 2014 (about six months behind schedule). Phase 1 has five stops from Tysons Corner to Reston. It is also building Phase 2, which is projected to cost $2.7 billion and will expand the line from Wiehle-Reston East to Reston Town Center, Herndon, Route 28, Dulles International Airport and Ashburn.
More than 150 modifications have been made and integrated into the design for Phase 2, says MWAA. Many of these modifications parallel design changes made in the latter stages of Phase 1 and will enhance the safety and reliability of Phase 2. The modifications, when combined with associated weather and construction delays, have extended the Phase 2 construction schedule by about 13 months, MWAA officials said.
“Over 100 design changes were made in Phase 1 — a large number of them ordered in the final months of the construction process — requiring additional design, engineering, construction, management and oversight work,” Charles Stark, the Airports Authority’s executive director of the Silver Line project, said in a statement.
“For consistency, many of these same safety and reliability modifications needed to be incorporated into Phase 2 of the project, which then impacted the schedule.”
MWAA announced late last year that the entire 11-mile Phase 2 would need changes to comply with new stormwater regulations.
Meanwhile, MWAA said remaining work done to finalize Phase 1 of the project will add $76 million, or about 2.6 percent, to the previously announced Phase 1 cost of $2.8 billion.
The new Phase 1 cost of $2.982 billion remains within the original federally approved Phase 1 budget and toll rates on the Dulles Toll Road will not be affected, MWAA said. Toll rates will remain at current levels through 2018.
A recently concluded global settlement with the construction contractor for Phase 1, Dulles Transit Partners, along with the resolution of other outstanding matters – including the close-out of Virginia permits which allowed Phase 1 work within Routes 7 and 123 in Tysons Corner, and the execution of contracts to supplement certain Phase 1 work, as required by WMATA – has allowed the Airports Authority to project a final Phase 1 close-out cost of $2.982 billion, which represents an additional cost of about $76 million, and to move to the final close-out of the Phase 1 project.
The majority of the remaining work on Phase 1, which opened for business in July 2014, will be completed by the end of this year, including the delivery of 64 new rail cars at a cost of $189.4 million to expand the Metrorail fleet. Final close-out of Phase 1 is expected to occur in 2016.
“The Phase 1 global settlement is an important milestone in the Silver Line project, following its successful launch in July 2014,” Airports Authority CEO Jack Potter said. “It gives us closure on the most substantial cost component of Phase 1, ensures we will achieve the project’s federal budget targets and allows us to maintain the existing toll schedule for the Dulles Toll Road.”
The ultimate impact of the Phase 1 additional costs may be reduced or even eliminated if the contingency budget for Phase 2 of the Silver Line project is not fully used and the total project, both Phases 1 and 2, comes in at or under the overall project budget.
The Airports Authority also announced an update to the construction schedule for Phase 2 of the Silver Line project, which will extend service from the terminus of Phase 1 in Reston, Virginia, through Washington Dulles International Airport and into Loudoun County, Virginia.
Potter said, “The added costs arising from Phase 2 design modifications will remain within the Phase 2 contingency budget of $550 million and will have no effect on the toll rates on the Dulles Toll Road. With our project partners, we are committed to limiting future design changes. Phase 1 is already experiencing ridership beyond expectations, and significant construction and development is underway along its path in the Dulles Corridor. We are confident that Phase 2 will experience similar success.”
Hanley, a Reston resident, was one of three new MWAA board appointees announced by Gov. Terry McAuliffe on Friday. Other new appointees include former Virginia House of Delegates member Charles Caputo of Herndon and Bruce Gates, an Alexandria resident who is Senior Vice President of External Affairs for Altria Client Services, Inc.
Hanley was the Providence District Supervisor from 1986 to 1995 and Board of Supervisors Chair from 1995 to 2003. She also served as the Secretary of the Commonwealth under then-Gov. Tim Kaine from 2006 to 2010 and has served on the Commonwealth Transportation Board.
MWAA is governed by the 13-member board with five members appointed by the governor of Virginia, three by the the mayor of DC, two by the governor of Maryland and three by the president. It oversees Dulles International Airport and Reagan National Airport, as well as the Dulles Toll Road and the construction of Metro’s Silver Line Phase II.
“I cannot think of a more qualified candidate to serve on the MWAA Board than Kate Hanley, who was my mentor and predecessor as Providence District Supervisor and Chairman of the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors,” Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-Va 11) said in a statement.
“Kate Hanley has been involved in nearly every major regional transportation decision for the past three decades. As a resident of the Dulles corridor, she is intimately familiar with the relationship between the Airports Authority, the local community, toll road commuters, Silver Line riders, and the regional economy.”
All systems are go for Saturday’s opening of Phase 1 of the Silver Line, Metro officials said in Monday’s weekly press conference call.
There are still a few punch list items remaining — among them, application of heat tape on rails as a cold-weather precaution and Certificates of Occupancy for three stations.
Metro spokesman Dan Stessel said the heat tape, along with outstanding drainage issues, is the responsibility of contractors for the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority, which constructed Phase 1. Those items can be done after service begins, he said. He also said he expects the Certificates of Occupancy for the McLean, Tysons Corner and Spring Hill stations to arrive this week.
“From a systems perspective, everything is running as designed and we see no issues,” Stessel said. “The last step is a couple of regulatory documents. I see no reason they will not be in hand in short order.”
Construction of the Silver Line suffered many delays as it neared the end of the five-year building period. As recently as June 9, Metro was expressing frustration at the slow pace of the work. Prior to that, MWAA and Metro reached an agreement in April that allowed MWAA to complete remaining items after the project was handed over to Metro — and avoid paying potential fines for every day the project was delayed.
Now it is just a matter of employees and trains getting used to adding thousands of riders to the rail system every day.
The Silver Line began simulated service on Sunday, with trains running every 12 minutes and without any issues, said Stessel. The trains are running on schedule but without passengers. Passenger service begins at noon on Saturday.
On Monday morning, trains ran every six minutes on a regular weekday rush hour schedule, also with no problems.
“This week is about familiarizing employyes with operation of trains on the new segment,” said Stessel. “Station managers were at their posts this morning. They opened the stations, even though they are not open for passengers. Crews will also be out prepping stations for opening day — powerwashing, painting and putting finishing touches on facilities.”
Some Blue Line riders are affected by additional wait times due to the addition of Silver Line cars, but Stessel said increased wait times affect only 10 percent of Metro riders.
“Silver Line changes mean more service and a lesser wait for 37 percent of Metro riders,” he said. “Thirty-three percent (mostly riders on the Red Line and Green Line) will see no change.”
Plans for Saturday include a ribbon cutting and remarks from local dignitaries at 10 a.m. Passengers will be able to board the first trains at noon. Comstock will also have a public reception on the Reston Station plaza from 11:45 a.m. to 2 p.m.
More Silver Line opening news:
Metro officials said on Monday they “remain confident” that all punch list items will be completed before Silver Line service begins on Saturday, July 26.
Lynn Bowersox, Metro assistant general manager for customer service, communications and marketing, says four items were closed out in the last week. However, about 20 punch list items (down from 35) still need to be completed, she said. Many are multistep items, she added.
“We are working closely with the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority, the FTA [Federal Transit Administration] and the Tri-State Oversight Committee to complete the punch list items, obtain the certificates of occupancy and finish safety and security reviews. We remain confident the work will be completed.”
After months of delays, Metro last week finally set an opening date for service on the 11-mile, $2.9 billion Phase 1 of the Silver Line, which will run from East Falls Church to Reston’s Wiehle Avenue.
Bowersox said Metro and public safety officials successfully completed their final safety exercise on Sunday. The first responders practiced an emergency drill on the elevated tracks near the Spring Hill Station.
Metro is now looking ahead to the opening day schedule. Here are some things to know:
There will be a grand opening and ribbon cutting with local officials at the Wiehle Reston East Station at 10 a.m.
If you want to be one of the first riders, you are encouraged to board at McLean, Tysons Corner, Greensboro or Spring Hill. Those stations will open at 11:30 a.m. The first train will leave Wiehle-Reston East at noon. It will arrive at Spring Hill at 12:08 p.m., Greensboro at 12:10 p.m., Tysons Corner at 12:12 p.m. and McLean at 12:14 p.m, then continue on to regular stations along the Silver and Orange lines.
On opening day in Reston, Fairfax Connector buses will take people to the Wiehle-Reston East parking garage and to points on both the North and South sides of the station. The 3,300-space garage will open at 9:30 a.m. on July 26. Parking will be free that day as it will be on all weekends.
There will be a ribbon cutting and transit fair at Wiehle-Reston East on Saturday, July 19 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Visitors can check out the facilities, including the 200-space bike room.
If you want ensure you are one of the first Silver Line riders, subscribe to the Silver Line Bulletin, where you will be entered into a sweepstakes to be among the inaugural riders.
Metro will also be issuing a commemorative SmarTrip. The card will cost $10 and it will be loaded with $8 of fare value, said Bowersox. Cards will be available at all stations and online beginning July 26.
Photo: Silver line Commemorative SmarTrip card/Credit: Metro
If Silver Line contractor Dulles Transit Partners finishes the work on the final “seven or eight” items this week, an opening date for service will be set on Monday, says Metro General Manager Richard Sarles.
“We are in the final stretch,” Sarles said in a call with reporters today.
A week ago, Metro Deputy General Manager Rob Troup said DTP, the Bechtel unit hired by Washington Metropolitan Airports Authority (MWAA) to build the 11-mile Phase 1 rail extension from East Falls Church to Reston’s Wiehle Avenue, had only completed about half of the items that must be done before passengers can ride.
Metro obtained control of the Silver Line May 27, starting a 90-day testing and training period. However, MWAA and Metro agreed in April that certain items could be completed after the handover but before passenger service begins.
There has been at least one report that the Silver Line will begin service the last week of July. While the Silver Line is more than six months behind schedule, an opening date for service has never been set. Silver Line officials would not confirm the July speculation on Monday. However, that may turn out to be correct if progress is made this week.
“We have date we plan against, but when you set a firm date, it is based on progress you have made,” said Sarles. “If the is done [this week], my level of confidence will be high enough to establish a firm date for revenue operation.”
Among the items to be completed: obtaining certificates of occupancy; finishing painting tunnel handrails; testing of fiber optic cable; and testing of intrusion and fire alarms, said Sarles.
There will be a public safety drill on June 29 at the Spring Hill Station. There will also be a week of simulated service before passengers can ride the Silver Line.
Metro’s Board of Directors on Thursday voted to give Metro Executive Director Richard Sarles the authority to set the opening date for the Silver Line rail extension to Reston.
But the wait for that opening date will go on for a while longer. The transit agency will continue its 90-day testing and training period that gets the 11-mile addition ready for passengers. Metro began the 90-day period on May 27.
Metro officials said earlier this week they are concerned by the slow pace by Dulles Transit Partners, the contractor for Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority that built the $2.9 billion Phase I. MWAA and Metro agreed in April that a list of 33 items could be finished after rail line was handed over the Metro.
They also refused to confirm a report by WAMU that the Silver Line would open July 28.
Metro Deputy GM Rob Troup said Monday only 4 or 5 items have been addressed. At a the Dulles Corridor Rail Association’s spring meeting in Reston Thursday night, MWAA Project Director Sam Carnaggio said “we are 25 percent through that list, despite what you may have read.”
“I have confidence we are almost there,” he said.
The Dulles Corridor Rail Association honored Pat Nowakowaski, the former Silver Line executive director who left the post last month to head the Long Island Railroad, at its annual meeting in Reston later on Thursday.
“This was a great project, a great job, and I wanted to be here until the end,” he said, adding he is confident that MWAA will complete the remaining items soon.
The DCRA reception took place in a large, open space that will eventually be Reston Station’s retail center.
Thus far, there are no signed tenants for the space, which sits atop the Wiehle-Reston East Station’s 3,300-space parking garage. The parking garage is a joint project from developer Comstock and Fairfax County. Comstock spokeswoman Maggie Parker said the company hopes to have retail tenant information soon.
Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-VA 11) says the opening of the Silver Line, whose Phase I will run from Tysons Corner to Reston, will mark an important milestone in turning the Dulles corridor into “the most important corridor in the nation’s capital except downtown itself.”
“People talk about the Arlington-Ballston corridor as being [an important business center],” he said. “This corridor is seven times the size. When we began talking about rail to Dulles, this area was 4 percent of the [Gross Domestic Product] for the region. Now it is 35 percent.”
Phase 2, which will run from Wiehle Avenue to Dulles International Airport and into Loudoun County, is expected to open in 2018.
Carnaggio said Thursday that design work on the second phase is 55 percent complete.
Metro is in a 90-day training and testing period for the 11-mile rail extension that will run to Reston’s Wiehle Avenue. But with no opening date set — and Metro’s frustration with Dulles Transit Partners’ progress on post-operational readiness repairs — potential riders in our community are getting restless.
Here is what reader commented on Reston Now this week:
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. [Metro Deputy GM Rob] 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. … 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.
Said another reader:
I’m still trying to figure out if the Silver Line “opening” is a joke, a mirage, or a nightmare.
There was also concern over the cost commuters will pay if they take the Silver Line to downtown DC daily. Advocacy group Reston 2020 analyzed what commuters will pay and found a large increase from the current system of taking a Fairfax Connector bus to a Blue/Orange line station.
Among the comments:
So my commute now costs $5 more per day and it’ll still take me 45 minutes to get to work. Tell me why this is a good idea again?
If you did Reston to Metro Center via the Toll Road, that would cost you $3.50 in tolls plus $6.50 in gas each way — $20 a day. Thus a key question would be whether your employer provided free parking or not. If it did then one might well prefer to drive rather than use the $16.55 public transit option or certainly the $20.45 option.
As a Reston-to-downtown commuter it is disappointing because I know that my overall commute will also be longer as a result of the rerouted buses to Wiehle Ave Station and the longer Metro ride. I get to pay 40% more to spend 30% to 40% more of my time in transit.
This is proving to be one more government project that over promises and under delivers. Mass transit was sold as safe, reliable, and economical!?!?! These costs hide the general revenues, toll road fees, and other costs we have already incurred.
The $2.9 billion Silver Line Phase I is more than six months behind schedule. Phase II design work is underway. That phase, which will run from Wiehle Avenue to Reston Parkway, Herndon and Dulles International Airport, among other stops, is slated to open in 2018.
One report, citing union sources, has Phase I slated to open July 28. Metro officials have not confirmed that, however.
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