Silver Line will miss Labor Day target
Problems plugging Silver Line Phase 2 into the rest of the Washington transit system are delaying the project’s transfer from the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority to the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA).
The transfer’s target date was Labor Day, but it’s not clear how long the transfer will be delayed, according to Marcia McAllister, communications manager for Dulles Corridor Metrorail Project. “One more outage will be required” at the Wiehle-Reston East station, the end of Phase 1, she says. “We will request that from Metro. They will set the date. We are all working together on this.”
How much that will affect Phase 2’s planned opening in the first quarter of next year also wasn’t immediately clear.
“This is not really a significant setback,” says Buddy Rizer, executive director of Loudoun County Economic Development. “In Loudoun, we have prepared ourselves for an early to mid-2022 launch and we are still on track for that. While timeline certainty would be beneficial, we know it’s coming, and we would rather that it be right from the start. I don’t anticipate this impacting our plans.”
Although Rizer says he cannot divulge specifics on those development plans, “a new signature hotel is a possibility at Dulles.”
WMATA is in the process of hiring employees for the stations and expects to complete hiring by October or November, according to Joe Leader, WMATA’s chief operating officer.
Charles W. Stark, who retired in June as Silver Line rail project director and senior vice president of the airports authority, was with the project since it began in 2014. As of late June, he said, Metro was still planning on Silver Line Phase 2 “getting ready for carrying passengers [and] getting ready for revenue operations sometime in the first quarter of next year.”
Stark joined the organization as head of the Dulles Corridor Metrorail Project to lead construction efforts for Phase 2 of the 23-mile extension of the region’s public transit system.
Six stations are on the Silver Line Phase 2. The Reston Town Center, Herndon and Innovation Center stations are in Fairfax County. The Dulles Airport, Loudoun Gateway and Ashburn stations are in Loudoun.
The second phase of the project was originally scheduled to open in 2018, but ran into a series of problems, including the discovery of cracks in concrete panels installed at five of the six new stations.