Metro Silver line opening pushed back again, likely to March

The Silver line's opening has been pushed back again. Photo: WMATA

McLEAN, Va. (AP/WJLA) - The Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority is again pushing back its expected completion date for construction of the new Silver Line through Tysons Corner.

The airports authority, which oversees construction of the new commuter line, says it needs several more weeks to complete work. Its most recent estimate had been that it would finish up at the end of November.

Because the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority, which operates Metrorail, estimates it will need 90 days to conduct its own tests, passengers are unlikely to ride the line until the end of March.

The airports authority wants to run more tests on its automated train-control software.

"Our guiding principle throughout this process has been ‘safety first’ and we remain committed to that principal," Pat Nowakowski, the executive director of the Dulles Corridor Metrorail Project, said in a statement. "We will not do anything that might compromise safety or create unsafe conditions for the traveling public."

On Tuesday, construction crews continued their work on the $5.6 billion rail line in the wake of the second announced delay to its opening in as many months.

For commuters who have been waiting patiently for the Silver line to open, another delay is just another wrench in the plans for many who would soon rely on the rail connection.

"It would cut an hour off my commute, which would be nice," Silver Spring resident Arianna Griffin said. Griffin commutes to and from Tysons Corner for work every day.

The first phase of the Silver line will include four stops in Tysons and one in Reston. Eventually, the line will extend to Washington Dulles International Airport and into Loudoun County.

At this point, though, residents and commuters just want service - any service - to be ready to go.

"I wish they'd settle on a date, but I suppose safety is really important," D.C. commuter Elijah Mendoza said.

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