In 1968, the trains stopped running in Loudoun along a route that is today’s W&OD Trail. This week, contractors working on the Silver Line began laying the rails that will bring a return of that service by 2020.
Crews from Capital Rail Constructors have moved the first stack of 80-foot rail sections atop the elevated guideway deck along Autopilot Drive at Dulles Airport and soon work will begin to weld them into place.
CRC, a joint venture led by Clark Construction Group and Kiewit Infrastructure South Co., has a team of about 650 working on the Silver Line’s Phase 2 construction. That workforce will top 1,000 as the $2.8 billion project—including the construction of six stations between Reston and Ashburn—gears up even more. At this point, construction is about 17.5 percent complete.
At the same time, another contractor group, led by Hansel Phelps, is building the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority’s largest rail yard on Dulles Airport property along Rt. 606. At roughly 90 acres, it will provide space for storage and maintenance of more than 160 rail cars.
For those who travel the Dulles Toll Road and the eastern end of the Dulles Greenway, the Silver Line work has been visible since last year. The Innovation Center Station, just east of the Loudoun County line, is the most advanced in construction, with the structural work to wrap up this month. Its neighboring Herndon station is taking shape, with precast and steel work to continue during the next four months. On the Loudoun side, excavation work is underway at the Loudoun Gateway Station site, but work on the structure won’t begin until January. Crews will move to the Ashburn Station site this fall.
Not all the work is visible. One of the biggest challenges was found underground, where specialized crews were brought in to jack-hammer through the dense diabase rock inches at a time to create tunnels under the Innovation and Herndon stations.
CRC plans to complete its work by August 2019, when the line will be turned over to WAMATA for testing.