DC Metro Silver Line nears completion

Anne Wernikoff

The extension of Washington, D.C. Metrorail subway system toward Dulles International Airport is nearing completion, the Washington Post reports.

The contractors who are building the often-delayed Washington Metro Silver Line are preparing to declare the first half of the capital area subway extension is "substantial complete," according to the report.

The Silver Line was declared complete once before in February, but officials with the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority (MWAA) found problems with the railway in several areas and declined to accept it from the construction workers who are building it.

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The airports authority is building the Silver Line for the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA), which will operate trains on the line when it is open.

The Silver Line is one of the largest public transportation projects currently under construction in the U.S. The line is being built in part with $900 million in money that was received from the federal government.

Once it is completed, trains on the Silver Line will run from Prince George's County, Md. through Washington, D.C. and Arlington, Va. before they branch off of Metro's existing Orange Line and run through Tysons Corner, Va. The first phase of the Silver Line is scheduled to terminate in Reston, Va., which is about five miles short of Dulles airport.

The second phase of the Silver Line, which is scheduled to include the stop at Dulles, is not set to open until 2018. Construction on the second phase of the new Metro line is expected to begin this summer.

The first phase of the Silver Line was originally scheduled to open in December 2013, but the line has been delayed repeatedly as construction problems have mounted.

The DC airport authority will have two weeks to determine if it agrees with construction officials that the Silver Line is ready to be turned over to Metro. The agency has said that it will need 90 additional days to conduct tests of its on the new tracks before it can set an opening date for passenger service.