The notion of riding Metro from a station in Ashburn to Reston Town Center, Tysons Corner or Washington, DC, moved another small step toward reality Wednesday when the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority Board of Directors cemented its selection of Capital Rail Constructors to build Phase 2 of the Silver Line.
“This is the first of many milestones to come for the second phase of the Silver Line,” said Jack Potter, President and CEO.
Phase 1 of the 23-mile extension runs from East Falls Church to Wiehle Avenue and could begin carrying passengers by the end of the year. Passengers will be able to stay on Silver Line trains East of Falls Church because they will share the Orange Line track.
While the contract award for Phase 2 marks progress, residents won’t see any dirt turning for quite some time.
“You’re not going to see any heavy equipment for at least a year,” said Pat Nowakowski, executive director of MWAA, pointing out the it’s a “design-build” project.
For now, “very heavy design work” remains for Phase 2, he said, as well as fieldwork, such as performing surveys and collecting soil bore samples. Once the work begins, the clock starts ticking on the deadline.
“The contract has a 60-month completion clause, from the moment they proceed,” Nowakowski said, anticipating a completion date around July 2018.
The MWAA board had previously indicated its intent to select CRC, but the action Wednesday made it official.
The CRC group includes Clark Construction Group, Kiewit Infrastructure South Co., Parsons Transportation and Dewberry.
The contract calls for the construction of the bulk of Phase 2, leaving just three parking garages in Loudoun, the Route 28 station and parking garage. A separate project also calls for a new Metro rail yard at Dulles International Airport. If Fairfax County cannot find a way to build the Route 28 infrastructure and Loudoun cannot find a way to pay for its three garages (two at Route 772 and one at Route 606), those costs would be folded back into the project and require an additional contract award.
“They need to come back and tell us they’re unable to do that before we can move forward,” Nowakowski said of those garages and the Route 28 station. However, he said, both counties appeared to be on track to either build or find partners to build those projects.
The selected bid came in considerably lower at $1.18 billion than the amount estimated $1.4 billion to $1.6 billion.
The Silver Line project is being undertaken in partnership with Loudoun and Fairfax counties and the Commonwealth of Virginia, and will be transferred to the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority for operation upon completion.