VDOT officials delivered good news and bad news on the 23-mile Dulles Corridor Metrorail project during a news conference March 29 at the VDOT Virginia Megaprojects office.
The good news: crews took full advantage of the mild winter and pushed phase 1 construction of the Silver Line to nearly 70 percent completion. The first phase, which extends from East Fall Church through Tysons Corner to Wiehle Avenue in Reston, is currently under construction and expected to open in the summer of 2013.
"The system is currently in place for 11 new stations, five in Phase 1 and six in Phase 2," said Tom Fahrney, VDOT’s BRAC coordinator, who stepped in for the Metrorail project spokesperson last week.
According to Fahrney, Wiehle Avenue and Tysons East stations are the furthest along, and rail bridges dominate the Route 7 corridor.
The bad news: phase 2 of the project – which is planned to extend into Loudon County and provide a one-seat, no-transfer ride from Dulles Airport to downtown Washington – may come to a screeching halt.
Loudoun County’s Board of Supervisors is currently debating opting out of the second phase of the project, which would jeopardize completion of the $2.7 billion project.
The cost of phase 2, which is slightly lower than originally estimated, assumes that Loudoun and Fairfax counties jointly pay for construction of the Route 28 metro station and five parking garages, which include 8,900 parking spaces.
Loudoun’s supervisors have until July to decide whether to continue with the project.
Highlights of Phase 1:
*Construction of Phase 1 began in spring of 2009. According to Kevin Volbrecht, deputy director of construction for the project, the section of the aerial guideway that crosses the Capital Beltway will be complete this spring, connecting the Tysons East guideway to the Tysons Central 123 guideway. "This piece of work will mark the dramatic completion of the guideway over the region’s busiest road, I-495," Volbrecht said.
*Since the spring of 2011, the project has had numerous lane closures of both the north and southbound lanes of I-495 to complete the bridges that will carry the trains of the Silver Line.
*Crews have started work on the foundation of the pedestrian pavilion at the Tysons East Station where the pedestrian bridge will connect to the south side of Route 123.
*At the Wiehle Avenue Station in Reston, crews are putting the finishing touches on the floors and walls of the station and have started laying the foundation for the pedestrian pavilions and bridge columns.
For more information on the Dulles Corridor Metrorail Project, go to www.dullesmetro.com or call 703-572-0506.