DC Metro Silver Line faces more delays

The extension of Washington, D.C.’s Metrorail subway system toward Dulles International Airport is facing more delays, The Washington Post reports.

The Metropolitan Washington Airport Authority (MWAA) said this week that there were problems with the railway’s radio communications and public speaker systems that will have to be fixed before the much-anticipated line can be opened, according to the report.

The authority operates Dulles and Ronald Reagan National Airport, and it is building the Metro extension, which has been dubbed the Silver Line.

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The line was initially expected to be turned over to the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA), which operates the rest of the capital region’s subway system, last summer in preparation for a projected November 2013 opening for passengers.

But the Silver Line has faced multiple delays, including a false start last month when contractors building the railway declared it was “substantially complete,” only for the airport authority to determine it was not ready.

Among the issues the D.C. airport authority said last month that it was handing the Silver Line back to contractors to rectify were missing certificates of occupancy for 20 buildings along the rail line, escalator and elevator problems and water leaks. The airport 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 under construction in the United States. The line is intended to connect Dulles with downtown Washington, and it is being built in part with $900 million in federal money that was awarded by the Department of Transportation.

The first phase of the Silver Line runs 11.5 miles through Tysons Corner to Reston in Virginia. Construction on the second phase, which is supposed to take the Metro system to Dulles and beyond, is scheduled to begin this summer.

The full Silver Line extension is not projected to be completed until 2018.