Management Advisory on Dulles Corridor Metrorail Project Safety Concerns
The Office of Inspector General (OIG) issued a management advisory to the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) on a potentially serious safety issue related to the adequacy of foundations at a segment of the Dulles Corridor Metrorail Project. This issue remains unresolved a year after we first brought it to FTA’s attention in a November 2008 Hotline complaint. A credible source contacted OIG asserting that the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority, the project sponsor, had not conducted sufficient testing on eleven pier foundations and their underlying steel piles that were built 30 years ago, and will support a portion of the project’s new guiderail. The FTA’s response to our Hotline complaint was incomplete and inconsistent with subsequent engineering information that FTA provided to us.
In our management advisory, we prompted FTA to conduct a review of project management performance to assess whether adequate oversight is being conducted on the project. In addition, we urged FTA to develop a plan outlining how it will ensure that sufficient testing of the existing foundations will take place before additional construction is undertaken at the locations in question. Finally, we encouraged FTA to outline additional steps it plans to take to enhance future oversight of the project. We will consider actions taken as a result of this management advisory as part of our planned audit of FTA’s Dulles Project oversight, which we announced on November 19, 2009.