As the first construction phase of the Dulles Corridor Metrorail project nears completion, the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority is progressing toward the start of major construction on the second phase of the rail line.
The authority will soon begin bidding another construction contract to support the second phase, and initial site work and testing is proceeding.
“Construction is expected to begin in the spring, but we are quite literally laying the groundwork today,” said MWAA President and CEO Jack Potter.
The $2.6 billion first phase of the Silver Line includes four stops in Tysons Corner and one at Wiehle Avenue in Reston. Workers are putting the finishing touches on those stations, which are still expected to open early next year, according to Pat Nowakowski, the executive director for the rail project.
So far, the project is still on track for substantial completion in November, Nowakowski said, although that date is about two months behind the original plans. The authority is working very closely on testing with the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority, with Metro employees observing tests so that they don’t have to be repeated when the transit agency takes ownership of the new line.
While testing is going well, Nowakowski said it’s not impossible that there will be additional delays.
“As time gets shorter and shorter, if something were to develop, you just don’t have room to make that up,” he said.
MWAA is also preparing to bid out the other major piece of the construction contract for Phase 2 of the Silver Line, for the rail maintenance facility and storage yard that will be located on property at Washington Dulles International Airport.
The second phase includes three additional stations in Fairfax County, in Reston and Herndon; a stop at Dulles Airport; and two stations in Loudoun County.
The primary $1.2 billion construction contract was awarded to Capital Rail Constructors in July, a partnership of Clark Construction Group and Kiewit Infrastructure South Co.
The rail yard contract will be competitively bid, starting with a request for qualifications process in November with a contract award anticipated in June 2014, Nowakowski said.