- The Washington Times - Thursday, April 26, 2018

It’s not clear how Phase 2 of Metro’s $2.7 billion extension of the Silver Line in Northern Virginia will meet its 2020 opening deadline now that cracks have appeared in the supports for the subway station walls and hundreds of concrete panels could crack due to a manufacturing error.

A subcontractor, Universal Concrete Products, used the wrong cement mix for 1,750 concrete panels installed at Metro stops at the Reston Town Center, Herndon, the Innovation Center, Loudoun Gateway and Ashburn, Charles Stark, manager of the Dulles Corridor Metrorail Project, said Wednesday.

The incorrect mix could allow water to seep into the panels, then expand when it freezes, thus cracking the concrete. Workers already have replaced 65 of the concrete panels, and will have to apply a sealant every 10 years to the remaining panels to protect them, Mr. Stark said.

The Metropolitan Washington Airport Authority (MWAA), which is in charge of the project, didn’t express much confidence in the new project schedule when asked about a statement that the repairs would delay construction.

“We didn’t say that, the contractor did,” MWAA spokeswoman Marcia McAllister told The Washington Times on Thursday.

The project’s primary contractor, Capitol Rail Construction, and its subcontractor Universal Concrete Products could not be reached for comment.

Phase 1 of the Dulles Corridor project extended the Silver Line about 12 miles into Fairfax County from the railway’s split from the Orange Line at Wiehle — Reston East station. It was completed in 2014.

That same year, Phase 2 began, with the goal of extending the line another 11 miles to Loudoun County by way of Washington Dulles International Airport in Chantilly and adding six new stations by 2020.

The second phase is estimated to be 13 months behind schedule and roughly $226 million over budget.

The MWAA said that the subcontractors will bear all the material and labor costs necessary to repair the panels.

“It’s in their contract to build this project with a durability of 100 years,” Ms. McAllister said. “When they fail to do that, that means they have to go back and fix it and deliver the product they were hired to produce.”

Sherri Ly, MWAA’s manager media relations, told The Times late Thursday that officials “continue to work with the parties involved to ensure that Metro does not incur future expenses related to the concrete panels.”

The Silver Line’s engineering oversight team also found that workers with Capital Rail Construction had incorrectly installed girders that support five of the six new station buildings, Mr. Stark said.

“Water is a problem,” Ms. McAllister said. “Water has managed to get into some of the ends of the girders because they weren’t completely sealed, and now they’ve suffered some damage because it’s cold and it freezes.”

Workers will have to repair the girders like a root canal — by draining the liquid and filling it with a special cement and sealant. Officials said Capital Rail Construction will have to cover all the costs of the repair.

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