Maryland Purple Line Now Scheduled to Open in Spring 2027

The Maryland Department of Transportation Maryland Transit Administration and Purple Line Transit Partners announced they are seeking Board of Public Works approval of a modification to the Purple Line Public-Private Partnership Agreement that extends the contractual deadline for achieving Revenue Service Availability to Spring 2027.

This schedule change reflects delays in completion of utility relocation activities, the challenges and complexities of completing construction in a dense urban environment with significant pedestrian and vehicular traffic, the ongoing national workforce and supply chain issues, and the unique history of the Purple Line Light Rail Project.  The project’s history includes two highly uncommon events: a set aside, and later reinstatement, of a key federal government environmental approval in 2016 and the replacement of the design-build contractor in 2022. The new design-build contractor faced unexpected conditions as some construction sites that sat dormant for nearly two years were reopened.

Work on the Purple Line continues to advance. The project is more than 50% complete, and construction is actively progressing along the entire alignment from New Carrollton to Bethesda at 60 active construction sites with approximately 700 workers. A significant amount of construction activity currently underway, including utility relocation work and replacement and upgrading of storm drain systems, has less of an impact visually than building a station but is inherently critical to the completion of the overall project.

More recognizable activities underway include several Purple Line stations currently under construction, including Bethesda, Connecticut Ave, Lyttonsville, Manchester Place, Silver Spring, Silver Spring Library, Campus Drive UMD, Riverdale Park – North, and Glenridge; bridge and retaining wall construction, including completion of Talbot Avenue in Silver Spring; light rail track being laid at several locations, including Ellin Road, the Plymouth Tunnel, and Campus Drive at the University of Maryland; and vertical excavation (blasting) of a 130-foot shaft at the Bethesda station that will connect future Purple Line riders to the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority Metro’s Red Line. Additionally, work continues to prepare the Glenridge Operations and Maintenance Facility to start receiving light rail vehicles in early 2024.

The Maryland Transit Administration and Purple Line Transit Partners collaborated over the last several months to identify and mitigate delays where possible and to reach agreement on an equitable resolution of project delays. In addition to the extension of the project’s Revenue Service Availability deadline, the Maryland Transit Administration will provide net compensation to Purple Line Transit Partners of $148 million, including an increase of  $205 million paid during the construction period, less a $57 million reduction to payments made during the operations and maintenance period. This compensation amount reflects the additional cost of continuing construction activities during the extended period. The agreement is subject to approval by the Board of Public Works and is scheduled for review on July 19, 2023.

The Maryland Transit Administration and Purple Line Transit Partners meet weekly to review construction progress, anticipate potential schedule impacts, and develop mitigation strategies to reduce the risk of further delays. A project of this size and complexity will face many challenges that will require the project team to develop alternative solutions and strategies to mitigate cost and schedule impacts. Mitigation strategies may include rescheduling certain work to run concurrently rather than sequentially, resequencing work activities, extending work hours, adding additional crews, revising maintenance of traffic plans, and ordering materials in advance to ensure timely delivery.

Together with the Maryland Transit Administration and our design-build contractor, Maryland Transit Solutions, we’re doing everything in our power to identify innovative solutions to fast-track progress,” said Purple Line Transit Partners Chief Executive Officer Doran Bosso. “Purple Line Transit Partners values the partnership we have with the Maryland Transit Administration to deliver this important project to the citizens of Maryland, and we strive to be good neighbors to the communities impacted by construction.”

-via Press Release

This article was posted on: July 19, 2023