The first phase of the Silver Line is on schedule to be taking Metro passengers as far as Reston in December 2013, officials confirmed this week.
During a Tuesday meeting of Fairfax County’s commission for the Phase I Transportation Improvement District, Mark Canale, Dulles Rail Project Manager for the county’s Department of Transportation, said construction on the first phase is about 89 percent complete.
Canale told the commission, led by Chairman Sharon Bulova, that 98 percent of tracks for the extension from East Falls Church to Wiehle Ave in Reston have been laid down.
Some track work remains, as well as construction on garages and stations, but Canale said service in December was looking very likely.
The West Falls Church rail yard is expected to be complete around the same time the line is scheduled to become operational, Canale said. In the event the rail yard isn’t ready for storage, Silver Line cars will be stored elsewhere in the Metro System, he said, assuring officials it would not affect service.
“We’re currently expecting to come in within the authorized budget of $2.9 billion,” he said. To date, about $2.1 billion has been spent, he said.
The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) has been performing tests on the tracks the past few weeks, including running cars through tunnels. Tests on the tracks will continue through completion.
Transportation officials hope to have the construction contract awarded to a company sometime in May.
The $3 billion extension from Reston to Dulles International Airport is tentatively scheduled to open for riders in late 2018, with major construction completion in the summer of that year.
Bulova wanted to know when officials and residents could expect to see some groundbreaking on the final phase.
Canale said if a developer for the project is found on time and gets working quickly, riders could see movement on construction between December 2013 and the summer of 2014.
The official projected cost of the project will be revealed at 2 p.m. April 19, when bids on for construction are due back from contractors.