Construction of Phase 1 of the new subway line from Falls Church to Reston is 60 percent complete, according to an update from Dulles Metrorail, the folks building the new Silver Line.
The tracks are being laid along some sections of the 11.8-mile route. The Silver Line will allow passengers to travel on the same train from downtown Washington to McLean, Tysons Corner and Reston. The long-awaited and much debated new line is on schedule to open in late 2013.
A highlight of the construction continues to be the ongoing construction of the tie-in for the Silver Line to the existing Orange Line which operates from Vienna, through Washington and into Maryland.
Five things to know about the status of the construction:
- There has been significant progress at all five stations--Tysons East, Tysons Central 123, Tysons Central 7, Tysons West and Wiehle Avenue this year. Tysons East, at Dolley Madison Boulevard and Old Meadow Road (the closest to McLean) and Wiehle Avenue station construction are the most advanced. The first escalators are in place in the Wiehle Avenue Station where the steel canopy is very visible to drivers using the Dulles Airport Access Highway and the Dulles Toll Road.
- Bridges are in place to carry the rail line from the Dulles Connector Road to the northwest side of Route 123, all along Route 123 and Route 7 in Tysons Corner. The bridges to carry the trains from Route 7 to the Dulles Toll Road/ Dulles Airport Access Highway are being built.
- Construction of the aerial bridges that will take the subway up and over the Capital Beltway (I-495) are almost complete.The most visible construction continues to be these aerial bridges (or guideways), which are being built using the large, horizontal cranes commonly called trusses. Those 366-ton pieces of specialized bridge-building equipment were awe-inspiring mainstays of Tysons Corner for most of the year.
- During the summer, three trusses were in use simultaneously, a construction feat that is believed to have been accomplished nowhere else in North America. In Spring 2011, the truss building the sections of bridges between the west side of the Beltway and the Tysons Central 123 Station completed its work, was disassembled, and then reassembled in the median of Route 7 where it continues to work today.\
- Bridge work is now taking place in the one-mile stretch of Route 7 between Route 123 and the Dulles Toll Road. The truss has moved through the Tysons Central 7 Station area (between SAIC and the Marshalls/Home Goods shopping center) and is now near the Tysons West Station (between Spring Hill and Tyco Road). It will continue its westward bridge building efforts toward the Tyco Road/Westwood Center Drive area in the coming weeks.
The project's first Traction Power Substation and Train Control Room were moved to sites along the Dulles Connector Road and bridges were built across Magarity Road, Pimmit Run, Difficult Run and the Washington and Old Dominion Trail.
Phase 2 of the Silver Line will take the track to Dulles Airport. The federal, state and local government recently approve the money to pay for the line. It appears this might actually happen in our lifetime. Pray!