Airports Authority Board Selects Dulles Airport Metro Station Location

Published: April 06, 2011

Option Provides Cost Savings and Retains Underground Location of the Original Plan


Today, the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority Board of Directors approved the location for the Metrorail station at Washington Dulles International Airport. The final approval was voted by the Board at its April 6th meeting.

The station location offers a more cost-effective version of the 2005 original planned station at the airport and retains the features and underground location of the original station. This modified option will save up to $330 million from the original design estimate for the rail project Phase 2.

Savings were obtained through engineering changes that include:

• A revised tunnel and station design 
• Reduced tunnel length and depth;
• Using a different construction method for excavation;
• Providing air conditioning from an existing airport facility; and
• Moving the required electrical substation above ground.

Phase 2 of the Metrorail line will run through the Dulles Corridor from Wiehle Avenue to Route 772 in Loudoun County. It will have six stations; five parking garages and a maintenance yard on airport property.

Prior to selection of the newly designed underground station option, the cost of Phase 2 was approximately $3.83 billion which included the 2005 original planned tunnel and underground station design at Dulles Airport. This estimate was shared with the project partners in September of last year. The Board of Directors then directed staff to conduct further engineering studies to consider alternative alignments and station locations for the Dulles Airport Metrorail Station in an effort to reduce the overall cost of Phase 2.

A thorough study of two final alternative locations for the Airport station has been conducted looking at engineering, construction, operational and funding considerations.

The alternatives that were studied:

• A modified design version of the original underground station
• An aerial station in front of Parking Garage 1 across from the Main Terminal

In selecting the newly-designed underground option, Dulles Corridor Committee Chair Mame Reiley said, “This has been a very difficult decision for the Board as we tried to balance cost considerations with the goal to design an airport station that will serve the region’s travelers and airport employees well into the future. We think this option best achieves that goal.”

Next steps will be to move forward in completing additional engineering work and the federal and local approval processes.

Phase 1 of the Dulles Metrorail Project, with a cost of $2.7 billion, is well underway. Phase 1 has over 30 percent of its construction completed and is scheduled to be completed in 2013.

The Dulles Metrorail Project plan was developed in 2002 by the Commonwealth of Virginia and the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority.  In 2007, the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority took responsibility for the Rail Project and began management of the contract to build five new Metrorail stations between East Falls Church and Wiehle Avenue.


Graphic: Views of the Alternatives

Cross Section

Plan View

Existing Pedestrian Tunnel