Additional time is needed to accommodate further testing to assure the safety and performance of the systems and equipment before it is transferred to Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA).
In a presentation to the Airports Authority Board of Directors at its monthly board meeting, officials of Dulles Transit Partners explained that the eight-week estimate is based on what is currently known and might be adjusted. Project managers said additional tests will help them formulate a more specific assessment, which will be announced at the authority's September board meeting.
"Our main goal has always been safety and quality – it supersedes all else," said MWAA President and CEO Jack Potter. "Any project this large and complex is inevitably going to encounter unexpected issues that require additional tests and adjustments. With Phase 1 of the Silver Line nearly complete, there isn't sufficient time in the schedule to recover from recently identified matters within the original plan."
The project plan called for substantial completion of Phase 1 in early September, at which time the line would be turned over to WMATA. The initiation of revenue service set by WMATA had been anticipated in late December, following 90 days of personnel training, system tests and operation simulation. The delay in substantial completion is expected to have an impact on the start of revenue service. The MWAA and Dulles Transit Partners will work in conjunction with WMATA to limit the impact.
"In the meantime, we are in close coordination with Dulles Transit Partners and WMATA to make the final testing process as fast and efficient as possible and to help get the Silver Line ready to begin serving passengers," Potter said. "We will assure that all systems and components are working safely and performing as expected."
WMAA has begun early work on Phase 2 of the Silver Line, extending from Wiehle Ave. through Dulles International Airport and onward into Loudoun County, Va., ultimately extending the Washington region's Metrorail mass transit system 23 miles into the suburbs.