On a chilly Wednesday evening, more than 100 people celebrated the soon-to-be-completed first phase of the Silver Line rail project at a special party sponsored by Bechtel, the lead contractor on the $5.6 billion project.
Guests at the invitation-only “appreciation reception,” held at the Tysons Corner Metrorail station included Rep. Frank Wolf (R-Va.), Fairfax County Board Chairwoman Sharon Bulova (D), as well as executives and members of the board of the trustees of the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority, which is overseeing construction of the rail line.
Giant portable heaters warmed the inside of the chilly rail station as guests sampled hors d’oeuvres, including crab cakes, egg rolls and tiny cups of tomato soup with grilled cheese circle sandwich garnishes. At the appointed moment, the crowd raised glasses of champagne to toast the many people who had worked on the project.
“Who’s the genius that decided to do this thing out in the cold?” said Bechtel’s Larry Melton, the project executive director, drawing laughter from the crowd on a night when the temperature was a frosty 37 degrees. “Yes, that would be me.”
The Tysons Corner station, located across from the Tysons Corner Center, is one of four stops in Tysons. A fifth stop, in Reston, is at Wiehle Avenue. Construction is expected to be completed at the end of the month. The rail line will then be turned over to officials at the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority, which will conduct a series of tests. Once those are complete, the line will open for passenger service.
Despite the chilly temperatures, guests were in a festive mood. The crowd included executives from Bechtel as well current and former employees who had been part of the Silver Line project. The multi-level Tysons Corner stop is expected to be the busiest of the five new stops on the Silver Line.
MWAA Board Chairman Michael Curto, noting several projects being built around the station, said the Silver Line’s impact, ” . . . will be so much greater than its footprint.”
WMATA Metropolitan Area Transit Authority have yet to announce when they will begin passenger service on the first phase of the rail project. Preliminary work on the second phase of the rail project, which will extend Metro service to Dulles Airport, has already begun.