Dynamic Testing Continues as Contractor Tackles Some Challenges
Construction of Phase 2 of the Silver Line continues to progress.
When completed, it will connect the Wiehle-Reston East Metrorail Station to the final six stations in the project, terminating in eastern Loudoun County.
According to recent reports from the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority, which is building the project, construction is approximately 95 percent complete.
Project officials are quick to remind future riders that opening is not imminent. There is still ample work to do even though construction is all six stations appears to be complete. There is critical systems infrastructure work to be done including operational systems, electrical connections, track updates, and the completion of support facilities such as traction power substations and train control rooms.
Five of the Phase 2 stations – Reston Town Center, Herndon, Innovation Center, Loudoun Gateway and Ashburn are basically the same architecturally as Phase 1’s Wiehle-Reston East Station.
The Dulles Airport Station which sits across the airport’s parking bowl from the main terminal, has a distinctive style that compliments the airport terminal, which was designed by renowned architect Eero Saarinen. This station is connected to the terminal by an existing pedestrian tunnel that was reopened in November after about a two-year closure to permit construction of the station.
The Airports Authority’s rail project team, the contractor and the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA), which will eventually operate the Silver Line, have many weeks or months to perform a range of testing.
There is some good news on that front. Capital Rail Constructors, the coalition of Clark Construction LLC and Kiewit Infrastructure South Inc., reports that the first phase of dynamic testing was completed ahead of schedule in early spring near Dulles Airport. Such testing in other areas is now taking place.
One of the biggest challenges now facing the second phase is making the complex connections into the Wiehle-Reston East facilities and the rest of the region-wide Metro system. That station, the terminus of the Phase 1, was built to accommodate the critical connections to Phase 2.
Meanwhile, crews are working to resolve some lingering issues, such as a resolution for cracking issues with precast concrete panels that were installed in five of the six Phase 2 stations.
The contractor has almost completed spraying those panels with a protective sealant that WMATA has approved. The contractor will create a special fund to cover costs of additional sprayings as needed over the next 100 years.
Also, the Airports Authority continues to work with CRC to resolve issues with bearing pedestals to support a windscreen planned at the Dulles Airport Station.
According to the Airports Authority’s latest monthly progress report to the Federal Transit Administration, CRC and the Airports Authority have some differences in terms of when they believe the project will reach completion.
Many variables, including weather conditions, can impact progress, officials said.
Then, after CRC completes Phase 2 and turns it over to WMATA perform additional testing, and then set the opening date.
Pictured at top:
Progress is evident inside the Innovation Center Metrorail Station. Photo credit: Phil DeLeon