There is still no official opening date for the new Metro Silver Line, but the construction remains on track with the recently adjusted timeline, according to project officials.
The $2.6 billion first phase of the Silver Line includes four stations in Tysons Corner and one at Wiehle Avenue in Reston.
In July, the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority announced that its contractor, Dulles Transit Partners, would need an additional two months longer than anticipated to complete construction and testing and turn the rail line over to the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority, which will integrate the Silver Line into the Metrorail system.
Construction is now expected to be complete by November, instead of its intended completion by September.
“We have made great progress on the testing needed to finish the project,” said MWAA President and CEO Jack Potter. However, Potter added, “We will not sacrifice quality for speed.”
The project met a significant milestone the weekend of Sept. 7 and 8 when a small segment of the existing Orange Line was successfully switched over to the new train control system for the Silver Line, said project Executive Director Pat Nowakowski.
“This is the first time that equipment we use is operating trains on the Orange Line,” he said. “It was a key milestone for us, even though it is a short stretch.”
There are still a number of conditions that need to be met before the system can be turned over to Metro, Nowakowski said.
The five new stations in Tysons Corner and Reston “are looking good, but they’re not quite finished yet,” he said. The construction work must be completed and MWAA must obtain certificates of occupancy for the stations, which includes inspections by the fire marshal and other county agencies.
There is also additional testing that MWAA is responsible for completing before the system is turned over to Metro.
Metro then needs to do a safety certification on the system, train its employees on the new system, run an emergency drill and run simulated service on the new line before it will be open to passengers.
WMATA has up to 90 days after accepting the new line to open it to customers, but the transit agency’s budget anticipates starting service in January.
MWAA, Dulles Transit Partners and WMATA are working closely together on testing and other issues, Potter said.
“There is a really good working relationship and I know they are doing everything they can to get it up and running as soon as possible,” he said.