The Office of the Inspector General (OIG) for Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) has opened a review of the Silver Line Phase II construction.
Concerns have been raised about the quality of concrete used in the project and other construction elements and practices. Last month, a Silver Line contractor pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud and admitted to falsifying data regarding concrete quality.
In May, WMATA ordered an independent contractor to evaluate the condition of concrete panels being used in the construction of the Silver Line Phase II stations following a federal complaint against Universal Concrete Products. The office of WMATA OIG said its review would supersede the independent review.
The scope of the OIG review will also include general contract compliance and a study of potential future costs associated with increased maintenance or remedies that may be necessary as a result of construction quality issues.
“We are initiating this review to ensure that WMATA – and by extension, its funding jurisdictions and the region’s taxpayers – can be confident that they will be receiving a quality project that is safe and reliable for rail operations,” Inspector General Geoffrey Cherrington said. “In addition, we want to clearly understand what, if any, long-term expense risks are out there as a result of necessary remedies to address these quality issues.”
The Silver Line Phase II project, currently under construction, will extend Metrorail service from the current terminus at Wiehle-Reston East 11.4 miles to Ashburn, Va. The project includes six new stations, as well as track and structures, power substations, signals and a new Dulles rail yard to store and maintain trains.
The line is being constructed by Capital Rail Constructors under a contract with the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority, which has primary oversight of the project. Once construction is completed, the line is expected to be transferred to WMATA. WMATA recently issued a Request for Proposals seeking vendors interested in operating and maintaining elements of the Silver Line.