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Phase 2 of Dulles rail? $3.83 billion


Phase 2 of the Metro extension to Dulles International Airport and into Loudoun County will cost $3.83 billion, according to a preliminary estimate from the regional airports authority, which is managing construction of the extension.

Phase 1 of the project, from the East Falls Church Metro station through Tysons Corner to Wiehle Avenue in Reston, which is under construction, has a price tag of $2.76 billion, the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority said.

Phase 2 includes six stations, one at Dulles airport, and stations near Reston Parkway, the Herndon-Monroe area, Route 28, Route 606 and Route 772.

The airports authority is finalizing preliminary engineering on Phase 2 and earlier this week held two public meetings to discuss plans for the project. Phase 1 of the rail extension, commonly referred to as the Silver Line, is scheduled to open in 2013, with Phase 2 opening three years later.

Airports officials said the $3.83 billion estimate for Phase 2 includes the cost of building a two-mile tunnel and underground station at Dulles airport. Consultants have been evaluating a secondary location for the station, between Daily Parking Garage No. 1 and Saarinen Circle, that officials have said would save millions of dollars. In a document released Wednesday, the authority said an alternate location could save $640 million over the underground plan.

-- Michael Bolden

By Michael Bolden  | September 15, 2010; 2:49 PM ET
Categories:  Metro, Silver Line  
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Too bad we'll never see tracks that far west along 66.

Posted by: DragonofAnger | September 15, 2010 4:32 PM | Report abuse

is there any way to place a bet on the amount of time it will take WMATA to completely collapse after this opens?

Posted by: jiji1 | September 15, 2010 4:49 PM | Report abuse

It's more likely the system of single-occupant vehicles powered by petroleum will collapse first. It's unsustainable in its current form, not to mention the billions of dollars that flow from the US into the hands of various unpleasant petrodictators.

Posted by: krickey7 | September 15, 2010 6:18 PM | Report abuse

krickey7, stop spreading your teabagging fear of brown people. Ideally everyone should bike to work, but for now some need to buy energy from brown people.

The intermediate problem is that Metro is incapable of providing adequate service on its current routes. How is this vast expansion going to be handled?

Metro is continually losing trains due to collisions.

Metro is continually losing employees due to crime, safety violations, and general incompetence.

Metro can't keep an escalator running for more than a week.

No, let's not worry about those things. Let's worry that brown people might get some of your gas money.

Posted by: jiji1 | September 16, 2010 10:53 AM | Report abuse

I find it virtually impossible to believe the $640 million cost for moving the station 600 feet.

The contracts to build the entire Woodrow Wilson Bridge superstructure were less than that (

The cited additional costs of tunneling 3.4 miles under Tysons was less than that ($526 million according to the Carter & Burgess report from January 2007).

I suspect one could demolish and rebuild the entirety of all the infrastructure in front of the terminal for less than that.

Importantly, though, decisions like this have significant signalling consequences. Placing the airport station two football fields away while cars can drive right up sends the signal that driving is the first-class way to come to the airport while taking the train is the second- (or third-) class way.

Someone more creative needs to be given the task of thinking about how to bring the rail station into or right up to the airport at a reasonable cost--including potential redesign of the roads, too. I'm sure it can be done for a fraction of the $640 million estimate.

Posted by: capybara | September 22, 2010 10:55 AM | Report abuse

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