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Silver Line Phase 2 contractor eyes potential completion date

Still waiting for Silver Line Phase 2… (staff photo by Jay Westcott)

Updated at 9:40 a.m. on 6/9/2022Metro could announce an operational readiness date for the Silver Line extension “within the next several weeks,” interim CEO and General Manager Andy Off told the Board of Directors’ safety and operations committee today (Thursday).

Earlier: Capital Rail Constructors — the builder of phase two of the Silver Line — estimated that the long-delayed project could be handed over to Metro by July 29.

The forecast — which is simply an estimate and would still ultimately be determined by Metro — was provided in a monthly report with data from May 1.

The estimate comes as Metro declines to provide a date for when service of the 11.4-mile extension into Loudoun County will begin.

The Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority, which is managing the project before it is accepted by Metro, announced that the project was substantially complete in November.

Before a service date is announced, the project has to clear rounds of testing. A date of operational readiness and final acceptance of the project is ultimately in the hands of the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority’s board.

The latest monthly report forecasts a final acceptance date of July 29. But it’s unclear if that is the current target.

A WMATA spokesperson told FFXnow that the date of operational readiness is “declared solely by Metro.”

“We do not have an estimated date at this time,” said Ian Jannetta, a spokesperson for WMATA.

CRCis responsible for the design-to-build aspect of the stations and the tracks while Hence Phelps is managing the rail yard. Six stations are planned as part of the extension into Loudoun County.

MWAA’s hesitance in providing an estimate for when phase two will be completed departs from its past practice of providing general estimates.

The authority had hoped that trains would begin running this spring, but a county transportation official later shared that a summer opening was anticipated for the project, which has been besieged by missed completion dates.

WMATA’s safety and operations committee is expected to discuss the issue at a 9 a.m. meeting tomorrow (Thursday).

A report by the committee states that Metro is working with MWAA to “reach mutual agreement on a path forward and schedule towards resolution” of issues flagged by both parties.

Items that remain include training, labor arrangements and contractor work. WMATA is also working on the failure of heat tape, which prevents ice buildup on the rail during precipitation.

MWAA is working on a remediation plan for the heat tape issue, and WMATA might have to step in to implement the strategy.

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