WASHINGTON Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) brought into service on November 15 the 18.2km extension of the Silver Line from Wiehle-Reston East to Dulles International Airport and Ashburn in Loudon County, Virginia.

Built at a cost of $US 3bn, the extension adds six new stations to the Washington DC metro network, at Reston Town Center, Herndon, Innovation, Dulles International Airport, Loudoun Gateway and Ashburn.

The alignment has been built mainly in the median of the Dulles International Airport Access Highway and Dulles Toll Road, and all stations are on the surface except Dulles International Airport which is elevated.

The opening to Dulles International Airport and Ashburn marks the completion of Phase 2 of the Dulles Corridor Metrorail project, which has been undertaken by the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority (MWAA).

MWAA says that a rail connection between Dulles and the centre of Washington DC has been planned since the airport opened in 1962.

Phase 1 of Dulles Corridor Metrorail opened on July 26 2014 and runs for 18.7km from East Falls Church to Wiehle-Reston East, serving four intermediate stations at McLean, Tysons Corner, Greensboro and Spring Hill.

Dulles International Airport is the only elevated station on Phase 2. Photo Credit: MWAA

Construction of Phase 2 began in 2014 under a design-build contract awarded to the Capital Rail Constructors joint venture of Clark Construction Group and Kiewit Infrastructure South. The contract included systems, track and stations.

A rolling stock maintenance facility has been built on Dulles Airport property by Hensel Phelps under $US 253m contract awarded by MWAA on August 4 2014.

Construction of Phase 2 has been completed four years late and $US 250m over budget, according to The Washington Post.

MWAA says that it now looks forward to “ongoing positive economic impacts” along the length of the Dulles Corridor, including further transit-oriented development as has taken place in Tysons and East Reston following the completion of Phase 1.

“The completion of the Silver Line means a better, greener more affordable way to get to work, school, shopping, entertainment and events, as well as easy access to Washington Dulles International Airport, a gateway to the world,” says WMATA general manager and CEO, Mr Randy Clarke.

“As one of the largest construction projects in the United States, the Silver Line provides high-quality, high-capacity transit service.”

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