Deal reached to turn Silver Line over to Metro

WASHINGTON – An agreement has been reached that will turn the Silver Line project over to Metro, paving the way for the new subway line to open this summer.

The agreement between the Metro and Washington airports authority, which has been overseeing the line’s construction, gives the airports authority time to address priority items after the project is turned over to Metro but before passengers start using the line.

Metro says those items include the following:

  • Resolving signal problems that affects reliability
  • Installing capacitors to resolve interlocking “bobbing” track circuits
  • Improving the reliability of traction power circuit breakers
  • Completing work that requires significant track access or single tracking
  • Fixing leaks and drainage issues
  • Grounding tunnel handrails, placing coaxial cable in the tunnel
  • Replacing public address speakers
  • Replacing the elevator shaft and piston at the Tysons Corner station

“We expect that the airports authority will complete the remaining items in a timely fashion, thereby allowing us to open the line this summer,” says Metro General Manager Richard Sarles, in a statement.

The airports authority decided Thursday that the contractor has substantially completed the project, a major milestone for the multi-billion dollar project.

“We have conducted a thorough review of the contractor’s submission and are satisfied that Phase 1 has met the contractual requirements that will allow the project to now move to the next steps in the process to begin passenger service. We appreciate the close cooperation among WMATA and our partners in moving this large and complex project forward,” says airports authority President and CEO Jack Potter.

The determination means that Metro can take control of the new rail line to continue testing the equipment plus begin employee training and emergency drills before opening to customers. Metro is expected to take control of the rail line within the next four weeks.

While that could take a month, sources tell WTOP that the transfer could happen within the next two weeks.

When the Silver Line opens, trains will run from Wiehle-Reston East to East Falls Church with four new stations in Tysons Corner. The trains then follow the Orange Line tracks to Stadium-Armory, before following the Blue Line tracks to Largo Town Center.

If the tests go well, then passengers service could begin sometime in July.

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WTOP’s Ari Ashe contributed to this report. Follow @WTOP on Twitter and on WTOP Facebook page.


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