William F. Yurasko: http://www.flickr.com/photos/55676959@N00/8563510770/
Passenger service on the Silver Line is getting closer, as Metro prepares to take over the project.
The question of when the Silver Line to Tysons Corner will open is getting closer to an answer.
Metro plans to take over the rail project from the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority May 27 — triggering a final safety testing period that can last up to 90 days. Metro General Manager Richard Sarles announced the target date in a conference call with reporters.
"We agree that the contractor can continue to do some work while we do our testing," says Sarles.
Silver Line contractor Bechtel is completing work on construction and technical problems holding up approval. That work includes replacing fire alarm speakers, fixing track circuits that make test trains stop when they shouldn't and obtaining certificates of occupancy for the five rail stations, four in Tysons Corner, one in Reston.
"We have been involved with this project in terms of reviews and inspections for quite some time in trying to help the contractor and MWAA get to this point," Sarles says.
The Metro GM says the contractor has to finish work on more than two dozen other issues before Metro will open the Silver Line.
"They all should be completed. It's to allow safe, reliable operation," says Sarles. "Once they are completed then we are ready to go."
Metro is not talking publicly yet about a target date for the start of passenger service. Sarles says he may have a better idea next month, once testing begins, as to when the Silver Line will open.