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Silver Line Testing to Be Done Overnight Saturday, Jan. 25; Opening Date 'Any Month Now'

Construction of second phase of project should begin soon.

Testing on the Silver Line will begin overnight Saturday. Patch file photo
Testing on the Silver Line will begin overnight Saturday. Patch file photo

By Alex McVeigh

Scheduled testing along Phase One of the Silver Line will take place over the weekend of Jan. 25, the next step to eventually opening the 11.4-mile line within the next several months.

Trains will be running along Silver Line tracks from East Falls Church to the Wiehle Avenue station overnight Saturday, said Dulles Metro spokeswoman Marcia McAllister.

The tests, which will be conducted by the contractor building the rail, will likely involve up to 10 eight-car trains.

The construction of Phase One is at 99 percent completion, and as Dulles Corridor Rail Association President Patty Nicoson said, "We're expecting it to open any month now." The association is an advocacy group for rail along the corridor.

Following Saturday's test, the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority will have 15 days to review the results and ask the contractor to make any necessary adjustments.

The 15-day period will begin once all the data from the weekend's testing has been recorded. 

The idea is that after those 15 days, the airports authority "would be substantially complete," Nicoson said. 

The authority would then turn the system over the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority, which would have 90 days to review it.

Nicoson said she hopes the full 90 days won't be needed.

"They have been participating in the testing all along, so a lot of it they're going to accept as things they would have done themselves," she said. "But they do have to train their operators and emergency personnel and get used to the equipment."

Construction on Phase Two, which will run west from Wiehle Avenue to stops in Reston, Herndon, Sterling, Dulles International Airport and Ashburn, is expected to begin soon.

"I've been told construction will start at the airport and probably work out from both ends," she said.  

Phase Two is expected to reach substantial completion by mid-2018, with full operations starting by the end of 2018.

This article was originally published Jan. 24, 2014. It has been updated to clarify when the 15-day review period begins.

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