by Liz Essley
A rail yard critical to the Silver Line is behind schedule, and project officials are disputing the cause of the delay and have yet to agree on a faster timeline.
Metro officials warned more than three months ago that a delay for the rail yard could mean a late opening for the first phase of the Silver Line, from East Falls Church to Reston, scheduled for late this year. . .
Airports authority officials said its contractor and subcontractors still have not given acceptable reasons for the delay or come up with a way to fix it. . .
Metro officials said they expect the airports authority to pay for any delays.
"It may be possible to take extraordinary steps for a short period to offset the shop not being ready," Metro spokeswoman Caroline Lukas said in an email. "Any cost associated with the yard not being ready on Day 1 would be borne by MWAA."The last sentence is especially worrisome because, as we all know by now, MWAA will be paying little of the added cost. DTR users will be paying three-quarters of any increase. The county "funding partners" will pay the balance with MWAA chipping in a measly 4.8% of any added costs.
Combined with earlier Examiner reporting about tunnel settling and test cars hitting equipment on the tunnel walls, we are beginning to see the types of problems that may delay the opening of the Silver Line--and WMATA hasn't begun to test the rail system for acceptance. So far, those delays look like weeks, not months or longer.
At least the Silver Line is not structurally unsound like the newly built Rockville Transit Center--so far!
One last note: Restonians will deeply miss the kind of thorough coverage of MWAA and Silver Line issues that Liz Essley and her colleagues at the Examiner have provided in recent years when the Examiner shuts down its local coverage. We wish you all the best in the next steps in your careers.