Martin Di Caro
Construction of Phase 1 of the Silver Line rail project is nearing completion and the elevated tracks from D.C. to Reston will be ready for testing this summer, the project's executive director said.
"At this point in time the construction on Phase I is at the 89 percent level," said Pat Nowakowski, head of the Dulles Corridor Metrorail Corridor Project.
The first segment of the rail extension has a $2.8 billion price tag and is expected to start carrying passengers at the end of the year. An opening date will be determined by Metro; the project is currently in the hands of the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority.
"Most of the heavy infrastructure is now in place. All the track is in place. Most of the station's heavy civil construction is in place and a lot of we're doing in stations is wiring and finishes," Nowakowski said.
This summer drivers on Route 7 in Tysons Corner will be able to look up at the overhead heavy tracks and see rail cars being tested.
"We're beginning actually at this point in time to begin turning on the substations and making the third rail live on different segments as we progress with our testing," Nowakowski said. "For us to move trains out here we'll have power turned on and train control systems ready. The reason we need to bring the cars out here is we need to go through extensive testing to make sure that under all conditions the thing functions the way it should, to make sure things will run safely and that we won't have a problem."
Phase I will end short of Dulles Airport. Phase II construction is expected to begin later this year; the second segment of the Silver Line will reach the airport and extend to two stops in Loudoun County. Contractors bids for Phase II are due in April.
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