Construction on the Metro’s silver line extension from Wiehle-Reston to Ashburn is complete–and about time, since its original completion date was slated for 2016–five years going on six years ago.
Yikes. But better late than never, right? The Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority, the organization in charge of the project, says construction on the silver line extension is “substantially complete.” However, the reason it is only substantially complete, and not complete, is because tests will need to be done to ensure the silver line is functioning correctly.
When MWAA’s tests are complete, the organization will turn the project over to Metro, which will conduct its own tests on the silver line to ensure it is safe for passengers to use.
Metro’s board will need to vote in order to set an opening date, as well, once testing is done, and the Washington Metrorail Safety Commission will also need to sign off on the extension before it opens to the public.
The silver line extension project adds 11.5 miles of track from the Wiehle-Reston East Station to a new station near Ashburn in Loudoun County to make travelers using Dulles Airport easier, as well as enabling commuters further out from Wiehle-Reston East to get to DC. Once the extension is ready to open, six new stations will have been added: Reston Town Center, Herndon, Innovation Center, Dulles Airport, Loudoun Gateway, and Ashburn.
The project has had several construction issues that took time to fix or mitigate, including cracking concrete, unlevel tracks, rock ballast problems, track plate deficiencies, and concrete switch tie deficiencies. Solving these issues likely had a hand in postponing the project’s completion date.
Metro has not yet set a date for opening the new extended silver line, and after lots of delayed and postponed dates–which range from mid-2017 to February 2022, as estimated earlier this year–hopefully this time they’ll wait until the silver line is officially ready to be opened before announcing an opening date.
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