The Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority announced Monday that additional tests are needed on Phase 1 of the Silver Line, focusing on software updates related to the Automatic Train Control System, before the project can be turned over to the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority.
Recent testing of the Silver Line in preparation for substantial completion has identified needed software modifications to the Automatic Train Control System. The contractor is in the process of making the changes to ensure the proper performance of the train control system. Once completed, the contractor will produce a summary of the changes made for review and approval by WMATA and the Airports Authority. This will be followed by re-testing to make sure the system is functioning properly and meets performance specifications.
The Airports Authority is awaiting a definitive schedule from the contractor for the additional activity. The additional activity is expected to take several weeks to complete. Substantial completion of the project will be determined as results from the testing are obtained.
"This is why we test," said Pat Nowakowski, executive director of the Dulles Corridor Metrorail Project. "Our guiding principle throughout this process has been ‘safety first’ and we remain committed to that principal. We will not do anything that might compromise safety or create unsafe conditions for the traveling public."
At the Nov. 16 meeting of the Airports Authority Board of Directors, Nowakowski reported that final testing was underway on Phase 1 of the Silver Line. Based on information available at that time, the expectation was that the contractor would declare substantial completion before the end of the month. But Nowakowski also pointed out that any problems identified during the testing could potentially delay that schedule.
The Silver Line, one of the largest public transportation construction projects underway in the country, is being built in partnership with Loudoun and Fairfax counties and the Commonwealth of Virginia, and will be transferred to the WMATA for operation upon completion.
The Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority was established in 1987 by the governments of Virginia and the District of Columbia to manage and operate Washington’s Ronald Reagan National and 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.