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WMATA Silver Line Rail Extension to Dulles Airport and Beyond

Image courtesy of Charles Samuelson

The Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority (MWAA) is managing the 23-mile extension of the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) passenger rail transit system, to and beyond Washington Dulles International Airport. The extension is being conducted in two phases. At a cost of over $3 billion, Phase 1 includes five new stations, 64 new railcars and extends the rail system 11.7 miles. Phase 1 opened for revenue service in July 2014. Phase 2, estimated at $2.9 billion, will add another 64 railcars, add six more stations and take the line another 11.5 miles to Dulles International Airport and beyond. Phase 2 is now under construction and completion is expected in 2018.

Since 2006, Lea+Elliott has played key roles in the Program Management Support Services team working directly for MWAA. With primary responsibility for oversight of systems engineering issues on both Phases 1 and 2, Lea+Elliott performed technical reviews and assessments of preliminary engineering documents and identified design refinements to improve the project's chances of implementation. Lea+Elliott works with WMATA to ensure the new extension is compatible with the railcar fleet and WMATA design criteria. Lea+Elliott also applied their extensive experience with Design-Build procurements to assist the project team with contractor negotiations and development of the technical specifications and Design-Build contract documents for both Phases. For Phase 2, Lea+Elliott analyzed airport alignment alternatives for Dulles International Airport, including (1) definition of alternatives; (2) technical feasibility assessment of alternatives; (3) constructability and mitigation assessment of remaining alternatives; and (4) costing and comparison of alternatives.

In the area of Planning Management, Lea+Elliott manages the areas of environmental reviews, agency coordination, transportation management, permitting, right-of-way acquisition, and value engineering. As a subset of planning management, Lea+Elliott supported the efforts required for MWAA to receive a $900 million in federal New Starts funding and a $1.28 billion Transportation Infrastructure Finance and Innovation Act (TIFIA) loan. Lea+Elliott has prepared project management plans; applied to FTA to enter into final design; prepared the application for a full funding grant agreement (FFGA); submitted the New Starts update material to FTA; prepared monthly and quarterly reports; participated in the risk assessment process; and assisted in meeting other FTA requirements.