News and notes from Reston (tm).

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

7 Out of 12 Isn't Bad: Silver Line Delays Continue Due to Leaking Roofs, Problems With Tracks, Control Systems (Updated)

Silver Line 2As was widely expected by last week's quiet managing down of expectations, the airports authority announced yesterday that construction on the Metro Silver Line is not complete, thanks to continuing problems with automatic train control systems (which sound important), "track gage problems" (which sound really important), and leaky buildings (which sounds like a problem you'd get from a cheap exurban builder of particleboard subdivisions, not a multi-billion-dollar mass transit system).

In all, seven out of 12 areas were deemed insufficient or incomplete by the airports authority, including:

* Failure to deliver certificates of occupancy for almost 20 wayside buildings, including stations, power substations and the tunnel;
* Performance issues with the Automatic Train Control System that prevent WMATA from beginning Operational Readiness Testing;
* Failure to fully correct defects that impact operations, including track gage problems;
* Elevator and escalator problems, and water leaks in buildings;
* Incomplete documentation for testing requirements and safety/security verifications.
That's a heck of a punch list. But no worries! The airports authority has asked the contractors to "provide a plan" for fixing everything, at which point we'll know when Metro might assume responsibility for the system and might begin its own 90-day testing period, and might open the Silver Line for business.

Summer? Late summer? At this point, only the contractors know for sure:

Update: Our BFFs at Reston 2020 speculate about the cost of the needed changes, guessing they could be as much as $300 million. They also ask a key question: will any of it come out of contractor (and Reston company) Bechtel's pockets? We have a sinking feeling that the same folks who complained the loudest about union thugs building the rails won't be beyond a little bit of corporate welfare for a hard-working contractor, the end.

Updated Update: At least one lawmaker is pushing the idea that Bechtel will have to eat the additional costs.


  1. They should have hired these guys and the project would have been completed by now:

  2. Isn't that the same list that the plant manager had just before Chernobyl melted down. I thought I detected the slightest hint of a Cobalt Blue glow as I rode past the Wiehle station.

    1. Should we be so lucky that would spare our miseries in a jiffy.

      Can I get my DTR toll money back now? Nothing but potholes and other three letter holes on that.

  3. That 'splains the rust on the tracks.


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