Metro board members discuss what’s next for Silver Line

Metro’s Silver Line extension to Dulles International Airport is making progress. During Thursday’s Metro Board meeting Thursday, officials said everything is still on schedule when it comes to the Silver Line phase two completion.

But a specific date for when the new segment will open remains up in the air.

There are now 17 Metro employees working in the yard, and the process to fill 450 staff vacancies is wrapping up. Metro has also been working with first responders to make sure safety measures are in place.

“We are currently progressing safety certification of Metro-led elements, such as automated fare collection,” said Theresa Impastato, Metro’s chief safety officer.

Impastato says some remaining activities include training employees and performing simulated service, which is expected to start next month. The safety certification process submitted to the Washington Metrorail Safety Commission will also happen mid-October.

General Manager Randy Clarke addressed questions about whether this means the new extension will soon open to riders. “I know everyone in the community is dying to hear. We’re getting really close.”

He said more information could be provided later this month. “Each day, we’re getting there,” he added.

Metro’s board also approved a revised agency safety plan, with the hopes of encouraging more employee feedback. The new plan outlines the expansion and implementation of a more proactive approach to safety. The plan includes how WMATA will respond in the case of another pandemic. Also, it focuses on reducing employee assault incidents, along with revised de-escalation training.

Officials announced a partnership with the nonprofit, MITRE to focus on safety culture, with the first assessment set to begin Sept. 13. “Additionally, MITRE is helping us improve, enhance and integrate our voluntary safety reporting effort,” said Impastato.

That means a major focus on more employee feedback, which officials say is crucial in preventing another incident similar to the Red Line cable incident back in July, an incident that is still under investigation.

“I see real progress in terms of how WMATA is thinking about safety,” said board member Tracy Hadden Loh.

The revised safety plan will now go to Washington Metrorail Safety Commission for approval.

Melissa Howell

Melissa Howell joined WTOP Radio in March 2018 and is excited to cover stories that matter across D.C., as well as in Maryland and Virginia. 

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