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380-ton span marks milestone for Dulles Rail project

Tuesday - 7/17/2012, 6:14pm  ET

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Span being lowered into place. (WTOP/Adam Tuss)

Adam Tuss, wtop.com

TYSONS CORNER - Slowly, deliberately and delicately, the final 380 ton aerial piece of the Silver Line puzzle fit into place Tuesday. It's a major milestone for the Dulles Rail project.

The span, made up of 12 custom-cast concrete segments, completes the aerial guideway that will carry Metro subway trains on the line. It marks the first time that a complete connection of the first phase of the Silver Line has been made from Falls Church, through Tysons and continuing to Reston.

"Everything has to fit together. At the end of the day we have to run a train across there," said Pat Nowakowski, head of the Dulles Rail project. "This is something we've been at for over two years now and it is nice to actually see it come to an end."

The first leg of the Silver Line, expected to open late next year, will have four stops in Tysons Corner.

In all, more than 2,700 reinforced, precast concrete segments, each weighing between 25 tons to 40 tons, have gone into the aerial structure.

In the planning stages of the Silver Line, there was often intense debate about whether the rail line should be above or below ground through Tysons.

"Whether people appreciate the beauty of an aerial structure, I'll leave that to the individual. But for us -- it is a beautiful thing today," said Nowakowski.

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(Copyright 2012 by WTOP. All Rights Reserved.)