Construction of Phase 1 of Metrorail to Dulles, the Silver Line, is now 73 percent complete, and will be finished in the summer of 2013.
The opening of the 23-mile line that will whisk riders from Reston to downtown Washington is planned for late 2013, according to Kevin Volbrecht, Deputy Director for Construction for the rail project.
The changes in Tysons are stunning and it seems to have happened almost overnight, according to some business owners and commuters who say they will be glad when train service begins.
In recent weeks, the rail project has switched from heavy construction to a focus on tracks, systems and station building. This is good news for commuters because the traffic impacts have dramatically eased and will only get better.
"We'll become a little less visible to the public as we move into the intricate work of connecting the Dulles extension to the existing rail line and start to power up," said Larry Melton, Project Executive Director for Dulles Transit Partners, the design-build contractor for the Dulles Corridor Metrorail Project. "We are bringing on approximately 300 electricians from around the region to help us with this next stage of construction."
For example, Melton said, the bridge construction above I-495 was completed last fall and now track is being laid behind the sound barriers along those bridges without impact to the traveling public.
Other aerial guideway construction along Route 123 from the Dulles Connector Road into the future Route 123 Metrorail Station near Tysons Corner Center and Tysons Galleria is complete and track continues to be laid.
Crews are now working on bridges crossing from Route 7 to the median of the Dulles International Airport Access Highway/Dulles Toll Road using a large 370-ton horizontal crane. Just a few months ago, three of those cranes were being used. The beltway crane and the Route 123 crane are now gone. Aerial work from Route 7 to the airport road will be completed in late summer, according to the Airports Authority's Volbrecht.
Temporary road shifts to accommodate the construction of the pedestrian pavilions at the Tysons Central 7 and Tysons West stations also will be required.
Construction of all five stations - Tysons East, Tysons Central 123, Tysons Central 7, Tysons West and Wiehle Avenue - is well underway. All are clearly visible to passersby. Tysons East and Wiehle are the most advanced.
At Wiehle, the station structure and track work is complete; escalators, canopies and rooftop are in place.
At Tysons East, interiors are ready for equipment installation, escalators are in place and architectural precast work is complete.
Construction of pedestrian bridges to carry travelers from the sides of busy roads to the stations has started at Wiehle and Tysons East, with the pedestrian pavilions along Route 7 to get into full swing this summer.
Tying into Metro's Orange Line
Metro riders will continue to experience some service disruptions because of electrical system work and testing.
This is one of the most challenging portions of the project. Metro users will continue to see some service disruptions between the East and West Falls Church Metro stations over the next year. Most of these outages (either full outages or single-tracking outages) will be for electrical system work and testing.
In addition, crews are almost finished with a cut-and-cover-tunnel that will ultimately allow trains access to the West Falls Church Rail Yard. The yard is being expanded to provide maintenance for rail cars.
Rail line construction includes wayside support facilities such as traction power substations, train control rooms and communications rooms along the corridor. Several of those are in place, including at Chathams Ford near Beulah Road at the Dulles Toll Road and at Fisher Avenue along I-66 near the Arlington-Fairfax County line, among others.
In late spring and summer, more of these will be installed. All wayside facilities are expected to be installed by late summer, Volbrecht said.
Can residents get to the stations?
Residents continue to ask if they will be able to take public transportation to one of the four stations located in McLean and Tysons Corner.
The McLean Citizens Association again discussed that question at its April meeting. McLean residents cannot take buses to the West Falls Church station, the closest to McLean.