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Thursday, July 18, 2013    

D.C. airports authority announces delay in Dulles rail line project

The Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority (MWAA) yesterday announced that completion of the Metrorail Silver Line project's first phase would be delayed by eight weeks to accommodate additional safety and performance testing.

The additional time is needed to finish systems and equipment testing before the line is transferred to the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA), MWAA officials said in a press release.

"Any project this large and complex is inevitably going to encounter unexpected issues that require additional tests and adjustments," said MWAA President and Chief Executive Officer Jack Potter.

MMWA, in conjunction with Dulles Transit Partners, is building the rail line, an extension of WMATA's system that would connect with Dulles International Airport. Phase I would connect WMATA's Orange Line in Falls Church, Va., to Wiehle Avenue in Reston, Va.

The original plan called for Phase I to be substantially completed by September, at which time the line would be turned over to WMATA. Revenue service is set by WMATA, and had been anticipated to begin in late December following 90 days of personnel training, systems tests and operation simulation.

The announced delay in completing the project likely will delay the start of revenue service, MMWA officials said.

As Phase I approaches completion, construction has begun on Phase 2, which would extend the line from Wiehle Avenue through the airport and onward into Loudoun County, Va., ultimately lengthening WMATA's transit system by 23 miles.

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