The contractor for the Dulles rail project said it expects to finish resolving MWAA concerns on the Silver Line as soon as today.
In a release Tuesday evening Bechtel, the lead contractor for Dulles Transit Partners, said the company has “made significant progress on all major work” and plans to submit the required paperwork declaring substantial completion to the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority soon.
Substantial completion is the key construction milestone that the project has been struggling to reach for months. It represents the point at which the new rail line can be turned to the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority for final testing and other procedures needed to integrate the Silver Line into the Metro system.
Dulles Transit Partners declared that it had reached substantial completion in February. However, after reviewing the contractor’s submission, MWAA officials did not accept the declaration, saying the contractor failed to obtain occupancy permits for about 20 buildings and structures and had not fully resolved issues with the automatic train control system and other items. In all, MWAA said the submission did not meet the contract standards in 12 areas.
The work needed to obtain occupancy permits and correct other issues could be substantial. For example, all of the public address speakers in the five new rail stations had to be replaced with ones that were UL listed, a type of electrical safety certification.
Dulles Transit Partners was under financial pressure to reach substantial completion by April 9. Per the terms of its contract with MWAA, the contractor could face millions in fines if construction extended beyond this point.
At a meeting of the MWAA Board of Directors last month, project Executive Director Pat Nowakowski said that the authority was working closely with Dulles Transit Partners and Metro while the contractor corrected the problems to ensure that any subsequent declarations of substantial completion could be accepted.
Once Dulles Transit Partners officially submits the declaration of substantial completion, MWAA has up to 15 days to review the documentation and determine whether to accept the declaration.
If the milestone is achieved, there is still some work to be done. Bechtel said it will be continuing to work on the streets and sidewalks around the rail line in Tysons Corner, as well as doing some touch-up work in the stations.
Also, MWAA is planning to issue a contract this month for a more permanent fix to the problems with the automated train control system, one of the issues that has delayed completion of the rail line.