The Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority announced its concurrence Thursday with an April 9 Declaration of Substantial Completion for Phase 1 of the Silver Line Project to extend the Washington region’s Metrorail public transit system. The concurrence affirms that the Phase 1 construction by Dulles Transit Partners, a construction consortium led by Bechtel Corp., has satisfied the contract requirements applicable to the project’s major functional elements.
“Achieving substantial completion is a significant milestone,” said Airports Authority President and CEO Jack Potter. “We have conducted a thorough review of the contractor’s submission and are satisfied that Phase 1 has met the contractual requirements that will allow the project to now move to the next steps in the process to begin passenger service. We appreciate the close cooperation among WMATA and our partners in moving this large and complex project forward.”
The Silver Line is a 23-mile addition to the Metrorail system, which serves Washington, D.C., and surrounding communities in Maryland and Virginia. Partners in the Silver Line project include the Airports Authority, the Commonwealth of Virginia, Fairfax and Loudoun counties in Virginia and the federal government. Phase 1 of the Silver Line project is an 11.7-mile segment with five stations serving McLean, Tysons Corner and Reston in Northern Virginia, which are among the fastest-growing communities in the National Capital region. The Airports Authority is managing construction of the project.
The Airports Authority’s determination that Phase 1 has reached substantial completion follows a 15-day period during which Airports Authority staff reviewed documentation and test results on the work performed by Dulles Transit Partners. The concurrence decision recognizes that work to finalize a number of items will continue beyond the substantial completion date, as outlined in agreements with WMATA and Dulles Transit Partners. Following substantial completion, Dulles Transit Partners will continue working on remaining punch list items and performing other tasks under the agreements. That work relates to train and track communications systems, power equipment, tunnel handrails and cables, elevator, and leak and drainage issues.
The next step in the process toward passenger service is WMATA’s decision to take over the Phase 1 project so it can conduct its own inspections, testing, and training. While WMATA is performing these activities, additional reviews of the project will be undertaken by the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Transit Administration and the regional Tri-State Oversight Committee. Following those reviews, WMATA will be in a position to formally accept the Phase 1 project and commence passenger service.
“The Phase 1 construction has been a long and sometimes-challenging process, but when it’s complete, the Silver Line will be a critically important part of Northern Virginia’s transportation infrastructure and a major driver of economic development,” said Tom Davis, who chairs Dulles Corridor Committee of the Airports Authority’s board of directors. “While reaching this milestone today has taken longer than many of us had hoped, our top commitment has always been to assure the safety of the system.”
Davis called the Silver Line project “a testament to the major benefits of regional cooperation” and expressed thanks to “the many leaders in our state, local and federal governments and in the business community from across the political spectrum whose support and hard work through the years have helped make the Silver Line project a reality.”
Phase 1 of the Silver Line connects to Metrorail’s Orange Line in Falls Church, Va., and runs to the eastern edge of Reston, Va., with four stops in Tysons Corner. Work also has begun on Phase 2 of the project, which will connect the Metrorail system with Dulles International Airport and points in Loudoun County, Va.
The Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority, established in 1987 by the governments of Virginia and the District of Columbia, manages and operates Ronald Reagan Washington National and Washington Dulles International airports, which together serve more than 40 million passengers a year. The Airports Authority also operates and maintains the Dulles Airport Access Road and the Dulles Toll Road and manages construction of the Silver Line project, a 23-mile extension of the Washington region’s Metrorail system into Loudoun County, Va. No tax dollars are used to operate the toll road, which is funded by toll revenues, or the airports, which are funded through aircraft landing fees, rents and revenues from concessions. The Silver Line construction is funded by a combination of toll-road revenues, airport contributions and federal, state and local government appropriations. The Airports Authority is led by a 17-member board of directors appointed by the governors of Virginia, Maryland, the mayor of Washington, D.C., and the president of the United States.