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Wednesday Morning Notes

Company behind Silver Line concrete sued — “Virginia and the federal government sued a concrete manufacturer Monday, alleging that it lied and falsified documents in connection with panels it manufactured for the second phase of Metro’s Silver Line that were later found to be defective.” [The Washington Post]

A new community in Herndon — These single families houses planned for Summerhouse Landing in Herndon look traditional from the outside, but inside, a more modern layout is constructed. [The Washington Post]

Hot tub movie night tonight — Enjoy late night swim hours and join Reston Association for a free movie by the hot tub. Classic films from the 70s and 80s as well as modern titles will be featured. The event is open to people age 17 and up. [Reston Association]

Flickr pool photo by vantagehill

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Friday Morning Notes

Searching for the silver lining –An independent contractor will review the condition of concrete panels that are part of phase two of the Silver Line project. The news comes as the feds join a whistleblower’s lawsuit against a company accused of using faulty concrete. [NBC4]

‘Bike to Work Day’ is today — Be wary when you’re out and about today as bicyclists will take to the streets today. Commuter Connections and the Washington Area Bicyclist Association invites riders to celebrate bicycling “as a clean, fun and healthy way to get to work.” [Bike to Work Day]

Coyotes spotted in Reston — Dave B., a Reston Now reader, spotted a coyote with what appeared to be her pup yesterday just north of the Ridge Heights Pool. Have you seen any recently?

Tired of drivers speeding down your street? — Residents can ask police at their district station for increased patrols or speed enforcement. [WTOP]

Get your Reston glitz and glam — Reston Association’s gear and gift shop recently expanded, so if you’re all about Restonian pride, now is your chance to purchase some products. [Reston Association]

Photo by Dave B. 

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Overnight Closures on Sunset Hills Road Expected Sunday through Thursday

Prepare for overnight closures on of Sunset Hills Road from Sunday through Thursday from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m.

The eastbound lanes of Sunset Hills Road near the intersection of Town Center Parkway will be closed. The westbound lane of the road will be reduce to one right thru lane as two-way traffic runs through the area.

The lane closure is necessary as construction crews working on the Dulles Corridor Metrorail Project deliver large, heavy equipment to a nearby power substation that will power the future Reston Town Center station on the Silver Line. A crane will place the items on the south side walk.

Police will remain on site and plan to direct eastbound traffic onto the right westbound lane.

Here’s more from the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority:

Beginning at 10 p.m. each night, eastbound Sunset Hills Road traffic will be diverted to westbound Sunset Hills Road at the intersection of Town Center Parkway.

Westbound Sunset Hills Road will be separated by traffic control devices (i.e. cones or drums) to safely facilitate two-way flow of traffic.

Eastbound Sunset Hills Road will be closed east of the detour.

A crane will be positioned on the south sidewalk and the sidewalk will be closed in this location.

The detour will end just west of Reston Parkway.

No later than 5 a.m. each morning, Sunset Hills Road will be returned to normal traffic flow; however, the crane will remain in place and the sidewalk will remain closed until work is completed.

All plans are subject to change due to weather.

Photo via MWAA

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Silver Line Phase 2 Construction is Nearly 76 Percent Complete

Silver Line Phase 2 Construction at Reston Town Center (Photo via Capital Rail Constructors)Construction of Phase 2 of the Silver Line extension into Loudoun County is nearly 76 percent complete, according to a quarterly update by Capital Rail Constructors.

At a Wednesday meeting, the lead contractor on the project told the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority that the project is on track. By 2020, officials hope to open the second phase of the line, which brings 23 miles of track past Dulles Airport and into Loudoun County.

Precasting work at the Reston Town Center Station will be completed by February. Mechanical, electrical and plumbing outfitting will continue through the fall of this year while roofing will finish by June.

Concrete work has been completed at the North Pavilion and precasting is almost finished. The breakdown of pedestrian bridges, provided by Capital Rail Constructors, is below:

Metal decking at the Herndon Station is complete as work on mechanics, roofing, skylights, elevators and the track continues. The concrete structure and utility work surrounding the South Pavilion has also been completed.

Most workers involved in the project — 58 percent — are from Virginia while 26 percent are from Maryland.

Photos via handout by Capital Rail Constructors

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Metro GM Proposes No Fare Increases or Service Cuts While Asking Jurisdictions For Extra $165 Million

Metro’s general manager and CEO, Paul Wiedefeld released a proposed budget for fiscal year 2019–which would take effect July 1, 2018–that includes no new fare hikes for riders along with no service cuts, but asks local jurisdictions for an additional $165 million in funding over and above what they already contribute to the rail system.

The budget includes a combined operating and capital budget of $3.1 billion. In a press release, Wiedefeld said his proposed budget avoids service cuts and fare hikes by requiring “continued strict management cost controls” while also demanding increased funding for “safety and reliability capital improvements.”

Wiedefeld said that by showing an obvious commitment to safety and reliability, he believes the struggling rail system can win back riders, which would increase revenue through paid fares.

“This proposal builds on our success in investing capital to deliver projects that improve safety and reliability, which is critical to winning back riders,” Wiedefeld said in the press release. “This budget also doubles down on management cost controls to ensure we have squeezed the value out of every dollar that we spend delivering service to the region.”

Of the $3.1 billion budget, $1.279 billion is for capital improvements, which Wiedefeld explained would ensure full delivery of the remaining new 7000-series rail cars to replace older trains, along with new buses and paratransit vehicles, and repair and replacement of infrastructure such as rail power, radios, wireless systems and tracks.

Wiedefeld said the increase in jurisdictional funding–which is more than the previously promised 3-percent maximum–is the only way to avoid fare hikes and service cuts, which would negatively impact riders.

Furthermore, he said without that additional funding, planned service increases such as the extension of all Red Line routes to Shady Grove in Maryland, the planned Silver Line Phase 2 service–which begins in Reston and would extend through Dulles International Airport and into Ashburn in Loudoun County–as well as new Metrobuses, would not be funded.

“There is virtually nothing more we can do of significance to further trim costs without impacting service, which we don’t want to do,” said Wiedefeld. “So as a region we must act now on initiatives like those outlined in our funding plan, to control future operating cost growth.”

 

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Pedestrian Bridge Now in Place at Future Reston Town Center Metro

If you’ve traveled down Sunset Hills Road or the Dulles Toll Road recently, you may have noticed the north-side pedestrian bridge for the future Reston Town Center Metro station has been installed.

Once construction is complete, the hulking structure will allow pedestrians to access the Silver Line station from the north side of the Dulles Toll Road and Dulles Airport Access Highway, according to information provided by the Dulles Metrorail Corridor Project.

The installation took place in the late-night hours of Oct. 13-14.

Construction work on Phase 2 of the Silver Line, which will extend the Metrorail from Reston to Ashburn, was reported earlier this month to be about two-thirds done. The line is expected to be opened to the public in 2020.

Photos courtesy Dusty Smith/Dulles Corridor Metrorail Project

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Wednesday Morning Notes

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]

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Photos: Installation of Pedestrian Bridge at Future Herndon Metro Station

As work on Phase 2 of Metro’s Silver Line project continues, a pedestrian walkway was recently set over the bus loop at the Herndon-Monroe Park and Ride facility.

The walkway, which will provide access to the Silver Line’s future Herndon Station from the south side of the Dulles Toll Road, will be integrated with existing and future infrastructure at the park and ride, according to information provided by the Dulles Corridor Metrorail Project.

The pedestrian bridge from the north side of the Dulles Toll Road (westbound lanes) is scheduled to be installed this weekend.

Construction work on Phase 2 of the Silver Line, which will extend the Metrorail from Reston to Ashburn, was reported in July to be more than 60 percent done. The line is expected to be opened to the public in 2020.

Photos courtesy Dusty Smith/Dulles Corridor Metrorail Project

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Tuesday Morning Notes

DRB Meets Tonight — A work session about the St. Johns Wood redevelopment will precede the regular meeting of Reston’s Design Review Board tonight. [Design Review Board]

Cooper’s Hawk Job Fairs Today and Wednesday — Cooper’s Hawk Winery and Restaurant (12130 Sunset Hills Road) plans to open next month, but it must hire more than 200 people before then. Its last two hiring events will be today and Wednesday, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. each day, at 12100 Sunset Hills Road Suite 130. [Reston Now]

Former SLHS Coach Takes Over at U. of Arizona — Matt Blamey, who was the head lacrosse coach at South Lakes High School for seven years, was named last week as the new head coach of the University of Arizona’s men’s lacrosse program. [CollegeCrosse.com]

Proposed Zoning Changes To Be Discussed — Fairfax County is hosting an open house Wednesday night at the Herrity Building (12055 Government Center Parkway, Fairfax) to discuss proposed zoning changes including those to short-term rentals, e.g. Airbnb, and rear-yard coverage such as patios. [Fairfax County]

Loudoun County Shoots Down Metro Tax — The Loudoun County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously last week on a resolution to oppose a one-cent regional sales tax. County staff have put together an “alternative capital funding scenario” to the tax. [Loudoun Times-Mirror]

Photo courtesy Richard Hernandez

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Silver Line Phase 2 Construction Over 60 Percent Complete

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.

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Tuesday Morning Notes

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]

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Officials: Metro Silver Line Remains Vital to Area’s Economic Development

There may be a sense of frustration and concern regarding ongoing construction of Metro’s Silver Line, area elected officials said Thursday, but its great potential must be remembered.

Fairfax County Supervisor Cathy Hudgins and state delegates Ken Plum (D-Fairfax) and Jennifer Boysko (D-Fairfax/Loudoun) talked about Metro and the surrounding future development during a legislative panel discussion sponsored by the Greater Reston Chamber of Commerce and hosted by Dominion Virginia Power in Herndon. Plum, the former state chair of the Dulles Corridor Rail Association, said it is important to put the status of Metro’s Silver Line in perspective.

“We really ought to stop for a moment and celebrate where we are,” Plum said. “For 25 years of my life I worked on that project, and it was announced to be dead half a dozen times, at least. … Now, by 2020, we’re going to have it all the way out into Loudoun County. And we have an incredible opportunity with that.”

A large amount of development has happened or is in the works in the area of the Wiehle-Reston East Metro station, the current western terminus of the Silver Line. Other projects are also springing up near the line’s future stations in Fairfax and Loudoun counties.

The Metro Washington Airport Authority’s Dulles Corridor Metrorail Project, which is overseeing construction, announced recently that Phase 2 work to extend Metro through Reston into Dulles Airport and onward to Ashburn is more than 56 percent complete. However, deficiencies in Metro’s budget and decreasing ridership have raised a number of questions in recent months about the future viability of the transit system.

Boysko, whose district includes Herndon, praised the state’s creation of the Metrorail Safety Commission to examine how Metro is being organized and managed. She said as Phase 2 of the project continues, it is imperative that safety issues as well as financial and operational performance are properly monitored and addressed.

“People say this is the least functional transit system in the country,” she said. “We have such a great opportunity as we are expanding into Phase 2, [but] it has to be a success. We have really focused our economic development around Phase 2 being successful.”

Hudgins, who is also a member of Metro’s Board of Directors, said this is a conversation she “live[s] every day.” She said Metro is unique in many ways, most notably in its partnership between multiple jurisdictions as well as in its infrastructure itself.

“I think people need to understand, it is a different kind of railroad,” she said. “That system is one of the most difficult systems [to maintain] of all those in the country.”

Plum said Metro needs to be revitalized, and in order for that to happen, it needs to continue to receive the support of the surrounding community.

“Please, don’t wash your hands of Metro,” Plum said. “It’s vital to the economic development of our region and I think we all recognize [that].”

The legislative recap event sponsored by the Greater Reston Chamber of Commerce is a chance for local businesspeople to keep abreast of important issues in the community, said Mark Ingrao, GRCC president and CEO.

“We’re a catalyst for business growth and entrepreneurship in this area of Fairfax County,” he said. “We think that we have the type of programming our members are looking for to connect them with other businesses [and] to educate them on legislative things like this.”

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Metrorail Silver Line Phase 2 More Than Halfway to Completion

Silver Line construction/Photo by Jennifer Thomas Alcott, Capital Rail Constructors

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.

Silver Line construction/Capital Rail Constructors“Bad weather never really stopped us,” project vice president Charles Stark is quoted as saying regarding construction efforts in recent months.

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

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Metrorail Work Will Impede Traffic on Sunrise Valley Through Sept. 2

Work Aug. 22-Sept.2 on Sunrise Valley Drive/Credit: Dulles Corridor Metrorail Project

Work on utilities for Phase 2 of Metro’s Silver Line will affect traffic on Sunrise Valley Drive near the Polo Fields subdivision beginning today and lasting two weeks.

Dulles Corridor Metrorail Project crews will conduct utility location work along westbound Sunrise Valley Drive and the sidewalk on the north side of the road in that time frame.

Be aware:

The right lane of Sunrise Valley westbound between Thunder Chase Drive and Hitchcock Drive will be closed from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., Monday through Thursday, and from 9:30 a.m. to noon on Friday.

Work activities along the sidewalk will take  place from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday.

The sidewalk will remain open for use, pedestrian traffic will be diverted around small work zones, and the Fairfax Connector bus stop just west of the Herndon-Monroe Park & Ride facility will remain open.

Graphic courtesy of Dulles Corridor Metrorail Project

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Silver Line Construction to Close Dulles Walkway for Two Years

Rendering of Dulles Station/Credit: MWAA

The northern portion of the underground walkway from Parking Garage 1 and the Main Terminal at Washington Dulles International Airport will close on Jan. 11 for construction of Metro’s Silver Line station.

Signage within the garage and the terminal will direct passengers to increased shuttle bus service for travelers parking in the garage.

Here is what you need to know:

  • Transportation between Garage 1 and the Main Terminal will be provided by shuttle buses approximately every five minutes during peak hours.
  • Buses will pick up and drop off passengers at three locations on the south (terminal-facing) side of Garage 1.
  • The parking shuttle buses stops at the Main Terminal at two locations along the second arrivals curb, near the exit at Door #2 and exit at Door #6.
  • While the walkway to Garage 1 is closed, there will be no pedestrian access between Garage 1 and the Main Terminal.
  • Pedestrian access between the Terminal Parking Lot and the Main Terminal via the walkway will be maintained. The walkway from Garage 2 to the Main Terminal will be unaffected and remain open.

“The expansion of the Silver Line Metrorail to Dulles International will play a significant role in the airport’s future,” Jack Potter, president and chief executive officer for the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority, said in a statement. “This temporary tunnel closure ultimately will result in a much more accessible airport and an enhanced experience for passengers.”

The Metrorail station will connect to the existing underground walkway between the garage and the terminal. The work on the station connector, which is expected to last up to 24 months, includes multiple utility and communication line installations and reconfigurations, shortening the existing moving walkways to accommodate the new rail station, and adjusting the walkway grade to match the station’s mezzanine level.

The Dulles Metro station is part of the Silver Line’s Phase 2 expansion, which will take Metro service from Wiehle-Reston East to Dulles and into Loudoun County. It is expected to open in early 2020.

Rendering of future Dulles Airport Station courtesy MWAA

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