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Silver Line construction could finish by November

Thursday - 9/26/2013, 4:39pm  ET

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Construction workers continue to work Thursday on the McLean Station, one of five new stations along the Silver Line. Construction of the first 12 miles should be finished in November. (WTOP/Hank Silverberg)
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MCCLEAN, Va. - It has been rising over the Capital Beltway, Route 7 and Route 123 for more than five years and in just a few months, Metro's new Silver Line could be operational.

Five new stations, almost 12 miles of track and amenities like public bathrooms are 97 percent complete. Construction should wrap up in November, says Steve Barna, project manager for the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority, which is building the Silver Line.

Standing on the platform of the new McLean Station, Barna says once the airports authority is done with construction, the rail line will be handed over to Metro. But it will take some time for passenger service to begin.

"It'll be several months before revenue service begins early next year," he says.

Metro has to do some training and testing first.

"They have roughly a 25 percent larger system to operate. They have train operators to train, station attendants and facility managers to train," says Barna.

The first section of the new line will end at Wiehle Avenue where Fairfax County has built a 2,300-car parking garage.

The other four stations do not have parking. Those stations include Tysons Corner, which is next to the shopping mall along Route 123, Greensboro on Route 7 near the intersection with Route 123 and Spring Hill at Spring Hill Road and Route 7.

Metro has released estimated fares for each station. It will cost an estimated $5.75 to travel from the Wiehle Avenue Station to downtown D.C. Closer in, fares will cost a bit less. For example, the fare from McLean is estimated to be $4.50.

Phase two of the Silver Line, which will extend the rail line past Dulles Airport, is already in the design phase and is set to open in 2018.

The Silver Line is already fueling some big development in the region. A ball field next to the McLean Station will be replaced by 8.8-million-square-feet of commercial and residential development being built by Capital One, which is right next door.

Fairfax County planners are predicting as many as 100,000 people could live in the Tyson's Corner area within 30 years.

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