“Metro and Airports Authority agreement moves Silver Line toward summer opening”

Photo by PoPville flickr user James0806


“Metro General Manager and CEO Richard Sarles today announced an agreement with the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority, the agency responsible for construction of the Silver Line, that will move the line closer to opening day. Under the agreement, Metro will allow the Airports Authority additional time to complete certain items after the project is turned over to Metro, but prior to the start of passenger service. Without the agreement, the Airports Authority would have been required to complete all items before Metro takes control, meaning an opening date that would be later in the year.

The Airports Authority is still required to address all priority items – those that affect reliability or require significant track access – prior to handing the project off to Metro. Some examples include:

Resolving items identified during system performance demonstrations, such as loss of speed readouts (a signal problem that affects reliability)
Installation of capacitors to resolve interlocking “bobbing” track circuits
Improve the reliability of traction power circuit breakers
Completion of all work that requires significant track access or single tracking

“While there are still outstanding items for the Airports Authority and their contractor to resolve, today’s agreement allows us to move this project closer to opening day for our customers by allowing certain tasks to be completed after the project is in Metro’s control,” said Richard Sarles, Metro General Manager and Chief Executive Officer. “We expect that the Airports Authority will complete the remaining items in a timely fashion, thereby allowing us to open the line this summer.”

Later today, the Airports Authority is expected to announce their decision regarding their contractor’s submission of “substantial completion.” Substantial completion is a milestone between the Airports Authority and the contractor that does not involve Metro.

Following substantial completion, the next major milestone is the “Operational Readiness Date” (ORD), which is when the project is turned over to Metro’s custody and control. If the Airports Authority completes all priority tasks in a timely manner, ORD may be achieved in late May, Sarles said.

Following ORD, Metro has up to 90 days for testing, employee training and emergency drills prior to the start of passenger service. With today’s agreement, Metro will permit the Airports Authority to use this time to complete remaining tasks including:

Providing to Metro safety certification documentation demonstrating that all open items have been closed
Resolving traction power reliability issues
Executing a contract for the replacement of track circuit modules
Resolving leaks and drainage issues
Grounding of tunnel handrails and replacement of coaxial cable in the tunnel
Replacing public address speakers to meet Virginia Department of General Services requirements
Elevator shaft and piston replacement at Tysons Corner station
All work required to obtain permanent certificates of occupancy

Silver Line’s opening date will be set by the Metro Board of Directors after the project is in Metro’s control.”

9 Comment

  • This sounds like a move to avoid the fines being levied on the corporation building the line, which would then result in an expensive legal battle. Also to issue a positive press release since much hate is sent towards metro because a addition being built by another entity for them isn’t done on time.

  • Define summer? I need this for my commute the sooner the better pleaaaaase.

  • I haven’t kept up with the financing of the Silver Line – but are the airlines that will benefit (enormously) by this easy connection from Dulles – contributing to the cost?

    • They pay taxes so in a sense, yes, they are contributing.

      • Well I pay taxes, so I am, “in a sense” also contributing. Duh! But I won’t be personally profiting from huge increase in revenue because people now can choose Dulles instead of National for ease of transportation. So does anyone actually know anything relevant?

        • Thanks for being condescending. The airlines won’t be profiting from a huge increase either. Their passengers are already getting to the airport just fine. There’s no incentive for them to “contribute” nor is there any way to force them to. As others have pointed out, the Silver Line is not really about bringing more passengers to the airport. Is any of that relevant enough for you or should I go on? (Of course, feel free to do some of your own research if you really want to know more. Wikipedia is but a few keystrokes away.)

    • Memorize this: The Silver Line is not about rail to Dulles, its about rail to Tyson’s Corner.

    • yes, the airlines pay huge amounts of money for gates in the airports, and pay landing fees every time a plane touches down. this money goes to the operator of the airport, MWAA, which is one of the entities that is paying for the silver line.

      also, as someone else noted, this is hardly going to make a difference in passenger volume at Dulles.

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