By Keith Laing
The extension of Washington, D.C.’s Metrorail subway system toward Dulles International Airport has been delayed again, the agency in charge of construction of the rail line announced on Monday.
The Metropolitan Washington Airport Authority (MWAA), which operates Dulles airport and is building the Metro extension towards it, said on Monday that it identified seven problems with the Silver Line after contractors said earlier this month that it was “substantially complete.”
The Washington, D.C. airport authority said it was rejecting the construction company’s assertion that the Silver Line is ready to be turned over to the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA), which operates the rest of the capital region’s subway system.
Among the issues the D.C. airport authority said Monday it was handing the Silver Line back to contractors to rectify are missing certificates of occupancy for 20 buildings along the rail line, escalator and elevator problems and water leaks. The D.C. airports’ authority also said there were problems with new tracks’ Automated Train Control system, which is the technology that was blamed for failing during a deadly 2009 accident on Metro’s existing Red Line.
The Silver Line is one of the largest public transportation projects that is currently under construction in the United States. The line is intended to connect Dulles International Airport with downtown Washington, D.C., and it is being built in part with $900 million in federal money that was awarded by the Department of Transportation (DOT).
The first phase of the Silver Line, which runs 11.5 miles through Tysons Corner to Reston, Va., was originally scheduled to open by the end of 2013. However, the line has faced repeated delays in recent days, even as construction on its second phase to take the Metro system to Dulles and beyond is scheduled to begin this summer.
The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) signaled last week that it is likely to award the Silver Line another $1.9 billion in additional federal loans that can be applied to the construction of its second phase.