DCMP 05 17 2021 Newsletter
(690 KB PDF file) 01 31 2022
Text from Newsletter:
METRORAIL ON TRACK
Produced by the Dulles Corridor Metrorail Project JANUARY 2022 EDITION
Silver Line Phase 2: Progressing Toward Safe, Reliable Service in Late Spring
Silver Line Phase 2 leaders are saying the long-awaited project extending Metrorail service from Reston to Ashburn is on the cusp of being ready to turn over to the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority.
During a Jan. 17 meeting of the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority Board of Directors, project officials said punch-list work continues during the Operational Readiness Testing period, which included a simulated service demonstration that ran multiple trains along the Phase 2 alignment simultaneously.
These runs, involving the Airports Authority, WMATA and contractor Capital Rail Constructors (CRC), demonstrate to WMATA that the systems connecting Phase1, which runs from East Falls Church Station to the Wiehle station are working properly.
In December and January, trains were running along the corridor between the Ashburn and Wiehle stations as part of simulated service demonstrations. There were no passengers aboard. A few minor problems surfaced but those are being resolved.
Reports about heat tape, which prevents de-icing, problems at 16 of 600 segments are being investigated by CRC and the product manufacturer. Crews will make corrections and officials say this should not impact overall progress.
Kate Hanley, a member of the MWAA board who is a former hardware store owner, reminded fellow board members that heat tape problems happen frequently because heat tape wears out and must be replaced periodically.
However, some punch-list work and testing must be completed before WMATA will accept the project, and then many additional tests must be done by WMATA prior to setting an opening date. Latest projections indicate an opening date in late spring.
The project achieved major success in late 2021 when CRC, the contractor building the tracks, stations, power substations, aerial guideway and train control rooms, achieved substantial completion. Soon thereafter, Hensel-Phelps, the contractor building a 90-acre rail yard on Dulles Airport land also declared substantial completion. The yard must be operational before the rail line can open, according to WMATA.
In addition, the ongoing high levels of COVID-19 infections have impacted contractors, MWAA and WMATA.
Business leaders, residents and politicians in the area have voiced strong support for opening the system as soon as possible. The Airports Authority and WMATA continue to stress that making sure the project is safe for all involved continues to be the number one goal.
Silver Line Phase Top Priority for Retiring Metro Chief
Retiring Metro General Manager Paul J. Wiedefeld says the primary thing he wants to do before stepping down this summer is get Phase 2 of the Silver Line up and running.
Wiedefeld has told project officials at Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority and local officials that he will do everything in his power to get this project done before his departure.
The Airports Authority and the two construction contractors building Phase 2 continue to complete testing and punch list work that must be done prior to WMATA' s acceptance of the project.
Capital Rail Constructors built the heart of the line, including six stations, tracks, aerial guideway and support structures. Hensel-Phelps built the associated rail and maintenance facility on more than 90 acres Dulles Airport property that will serve the Silver Line and support the entire regional rail system.
Area Continues Reign atop Data Center Markets
Northern Virginia's concentration of data centers, more specifically in the Ashburn/Dulles Airport area, for the third year in row have been named the No. 1 data center market in the world by Cushman & Wakefield, a global real estate services company. It's 2022 Global Data Center Market Comparison showed Silicon Valley and Singapore tied for the No. 2 spot, while Chicago and Atlanta tied at No. 4.
Cushman & Wakefield called it the largest data center market in the world, featuring a strong construction pipeline. It offers excellent connectivity, attractive incentives and low-cost power. Vacancy is exceptionally low and demand is high — operators and tenants alike are interested in expansion. Given those conditions, the area will likely become the world’s first two-gigawatt market at some point during the next two years, according to a WTOP report.
Silver Line Work Continued Despite Recent Snowfall
Operational Readiness Testing and final punch-list work for the Silver Line Phase 2 ontinued through January, despite some intermittent snow as shown above. This photo was taken in early January from the platform of Dulles Airport Station, looking east along the aerial guideway. (See photo in PDF file)
10.2 Million Hours
As the Silver Phase 2 pushes toward completion and turnover to WMATA, Capitol Rail Constructors, the contractor building the main part of the project, reports that the company has spent a total of 10.2 million hours thus far on the extension which will connect new stations – Reston Town Center, Herndon, Innovation Center, Dulles Airport, Loudoun Gateway and
Ashburn – to Wiehle-Reston East and the entire Metro system.
Post Silver Line Boom Leads to Expanded Emergency Services in Tysons
Increases in building heights and development densities for residential and
commercial properties in Tysons, along with and the 2014 arrival of the Silver Line, has led to the expansion of emergency services in that area.
Fairfax County plans to relocate Fire Station 29 from its Spring Hill Road location next to a post office and half block from the Spring Hill Metrorail station to a site next to the Dulles Road/International Drive/Jones Branch Drive/Spring Hill Road intersection.
There is no room for expansion at the current one-level station, built in 1978. A previous plan to move the station into a proposed multi-story building near the rail station did not succeed. A one-level bus transit facility occupies the new fire station location, but bus usage there declined after the Silver Line opened. The new plan calls for a $16 million fire station and a new bus transit center.
The proposed station will be larger than the existing one and will permit use of larger fire-fighting equipment. Plans call for a two-story building with five bays, living facilities for firefighters and additional bus bays for transit service.
Fairfax must win approval of a change to the agreement made long ago with previous owner West Group (now Cityline Partners) that limits usage of the site.
Old Meadow Road Realignment at Route 123 Complete
The realignment of Old Meadow Road, which was required by the state following construction of Phase 1 of the Silver Line, is now complete. While the final paving was done in November 2020, several minor punch-list items were required to finalize the work.
Construction began in the spring of 2020 after the complex process of relocating underground utilities, including Dominion Energy and several communication lines, along a heavily traveled road in Tysons.
The work started on the west side of Old Meadow Road with removal of the existing sidewalk, curb, gutter, and hill side. Work continued with installation of a new storm drain system, sidewalk, ADA ramps, and curb and gutter. The next phase of construction involved building a grass median in the middle of Old Meadow Road near the intersection. Next, crews improved the ADA ramps on the east side of Old Meadow Road and upgraded the traffic signal equipment. Then paving and striping of the intersection completed the primary work.
The final punch-list item was completed in early January 2022 when crews removed an abandoned pole that once held pedestrian crossing signals. Two new poles were installed to bring the signal up to the latest codes at the now-wider intersection. The removal of the abandoned pole required significant coordination and planning because of its proximity to the overhead power lines.
John in the sand box of Maryland's eastern shore.