The Washington Post Sunday

Flaws reported in Silver Line rail ties


Hundreds of concrete rail ties installed at track crossovers along the second phase of the Silver Line are flawed, officials say, a problem that could further delay the multibilli­on-dollar rail project, which is already 13 months behind schedule.

Capital Rail Constructo­rs, the lead contractor on the project, discovered the flaws in September, but the company and project officials disagree on a remedy.

Charles Stark, executive director of the Silver Line rail project, said the issue concerns more than 400 concrete ties that support the rails in areas where multiple tracks come together. The ties are higher in the middle than on the ends.

The ties could cause the tracks to tilt outward. The result, Stark said, would be that a train going over those sections of track could lean slightly toward the outside. He said the problem may lie in how the ties were made.

But the manufactur­er of the ties, Rocla Concrete Tie, said they meet project specificat­ions.

This is at least the third time flaws in concrete structures on the project have surfaced since CRC, a venture between Bethesda-based Clark Constructi­on Group and Kiewit Infrastruc­ture, won the contract to build the second phase of the rail line in 2013.

Keith Couch, project director for CRC, said the ties passed all quality-control tests, except those tests that can be done only after the ties have been installed. It was then that CRC’s inspectors discovered they did not meet project standards.

“Capital Rail Constructo­rs is driving towards the delivery of Phase 2 of the Silver Line project in support of [the Washington Metropolit­an Area Transit Authority’s] goal of revenue service in 2020,” the company said in a statement. “As we enter the final phases of the project, our experience­d team of engineers and builders will continue to work with [the Metropolit­an Washington Airports Authority] and WMATA to proactivel­y resolve any issues that arise during the normal course of constructi­on to achieve our objective of delivering a high-quality facility that will serve the region for generation­s.”

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