Purple Line NOW News - July 28, 2021

In today's edition of Purple Line NOW News, here's what you'll find:

  • What's Happening at PLN?
  • Purple Line in the News
  • Features & Highlights
    • The Purple Line and Local Business Communities
  • Construction News
    • Sleaford Road Underpass
    • New Tallest Building in Silver Spring
    • Questions and Answers from the Community Advisory Team Meetings
    • Photos Around the Purple Line Corridor

Share This Newsletter

Please feel free to share this newsletter - no permission from us needed! You can always find a link to our newsletter on our Purple Line NOW website which makes it easy to share with your friends, neighbors, constituents, customers, and employees.

What' Happening

   WHAT'S HAPPENING AT PLN?

Please Help Us Continue Our Work

We appreciate your consideration of a donation to Purple Line NOW which will help us continue to offer events like the webinar we hosted last month throughout the year, free of charge to all participants as well as this information-packed newsletter. We do not host special event fundraisers, nor do we receive underwriting grants from any source, government (local or otherwise), nor are we a membership organization (we do not ask for annual dues). We rely solely on support from donors like YOU!

Remember, with your donation, your name (or your business name) will be listed on our website, as well as in event literature and signage for a year following your donation.

As always, a great big thank you to ALL OF OUR DONORS! We simply could not do our work without your support. If you don't see your name on our website link, you can donate by clicking the purple button below. 

Thank you, thank you! Especially after the year from which we are all slowly emerging, a great big THANK YOU!

 

PL in the News

   THE PURPLE LINE IN THE NEWS

Ezra Klein Interviews Jerusalem Demsas (E. Klein, July 23, 2021, New York Times)

The New York Times Ezra Klein podcast included a discussion on the delays to the Purple Line that built on the Vox article on transit costs included in last week's newsletter. The discussion with the journalist Jerusalem Demsas comes at the 21 minute mark and while a frustrating reminder of the sources of delay, the piece also touches on the workers who currently must ride multiple bus lines who will have a better transportation future once the Purple Line is complete.

Features and Highlights

   FEATURES & HIGHLIGHTS

The Purple Line and Local Business Communities

If you've read our prior newsletter, you've heard that Maryland Purple Line project management office is standing up a Business Engagement Team. The past few weeks have seen that team in action with Executive Director for Transit and Delivery Matt Pollack meeting with the Riverdale area business community and the local business community in Silver Spring to discuss how the Purple Line will run on Bonifant Street east of Georgia Avenue in downtown.

If you have a business along the line or know someone who does, the team is available to help foster relationships. The team consists of:

  • Lesli Leath, Business Relationship Manager, [email protected], 1-240-695-9269
  • Minh Diep, Business Engagement Officer for Montgomery County, [email protected], 1-551-206-5889
  • Marlene Veras, Business Engagement Officer for Prince George’s County, [email protected], 1-443-802-1608

What Would You Like to See At the Next Purple Line NOW Forum?

We are beginning to think about the next Purple Line NOW forum, set to occur sometime this fall. What would you like to know more about? General updates? Specific focus areas? Campus and the Purple Line highlights? Send your ideas to [email protected] and we'll try to make it happen! 

Construction Updates

   CONSTRUCTION UPDATES

Sleaford Road Underpass

MDOT has announced via letter that the pedestrian and bicycle underpass at Sleaford Road can be completed within this year despite earlier fears of delay for budgetary reasons. The letter notes that the underpass can be advanced largely by Maryland directly while a variety of other key priorities will require the selection of a new design build contractor which is expected to take place this fall.

New Tallest Building in Silver Spring

In another form of construction news, the new tallest building in Silver Spring, in the Ripley District near the Silver Spring Metro and future Purple Line station, has just topped out. The Montgomery County Council also approved a new apartment building that will include 74 affordable housing units and will be within a thousand feet of the Piney Branch Road Purple Line Station.

Community Advisory Team Meeting Questions and Answers

As promised, we wanted to let you know that the questions and answers from many of the Community Advisory Team meetings are now posted to the MDOT MTA website. We encourage you to check out those for your area.

Below are a few questions (and answers!) from each of the stations currently published. We’ll let you know when the remaining stations go up, as well.

For those of you new here, MDOT MTA hosts a series of Community Advisory Team meetings (now done virtually) about every six months. The spring/summer meetings concluded earlier this month. We’ll let you know when the next round is scheduled for later this fall.

Just a reminder: There are loads of questions posted for each of the CAT meetings online. The following represent just a few questions from each. First, though, here are some that we thought were general enough as to be of interest to all:

Did the Purple Line gain any needed additional funding with the passage of the American Rescue Plan Act or the previous coronavirus relief bills?

Response: Since its inception, the Purple Line has had federal financial support. In August 2017, in Glenridge, Governor Larry Hogan and then-United States Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao signed a $900 million full funding grant agreement, locking in federal dollars for the project. That funding remains intact. The American Rescue Plan Act solidifies that funding but does not add to it.

How loud are the light rail cars? Are they as loud as Metrorail cars?

Response: We expect that the light rail will be quieter than Metro. A lot of Metrorail is up in the air, so it is louder and generating noise through all the elevated structures. The Purple Line will be mostly on street level. The other piece has to do with speed, and they are operating at a higher speed. Additionally, Purple Line cars are equipped with special wheel covers to help reduce noise.

What work does the design-construction partner do? Is it expected that a design construction partner will be on board before the utility relocation work is completed?

Response: Once the new design-builder is on board, they will complete construction to bring the project to revenue service. We have a certain amount of utility relocation the state is undertaking, but we will not be able to get to all of it before the new design-builder is on board and they will be doing some of their own utility relocations.

Now, on with the stations!

Bethesda (June 8, 2021)

The intensive development around the Conn. Ave. Station has raised concern regarding the flow of traffic in that area. Presumably there will be both buses and private vehicles dropping passengers off for the Purple Line. With hundreds of residential units and a large number of commercial properties being built adjacent to the Station there will be additional volume throughout the day. What measures are being undertaken to avoid buildups on Conn. Ave., Manor Road, Chevy Chase Lake Drive and Chevy Chase Lake Terrace?

Response: Most of the Purple Line stations, including this elevated station, have been designed as neighborhood stations where users will be walking, biking, or taking alternate transit to access the stations. Connecticut Avenue is not intended to operate as a drop-off lane for private vehicles. Appropriate signage will be in place. Regarding the ongoing and upcoming private developments underway in the surrounding areas, each developer should be coordinating with MDOT SHA and Montgomery County regarding traffic studies and any accommodations necessary due to traffic volume increases. We will work closely with partners at MDOT SHA and Montgomery County to mitigate any future problems that may arise.

Assuming the fall acceptance of a new design-build contractor, when do you anticipate construction to begin and will the MTA have a voice in the sequence of projects completed? Will the Capital Crescent Trail be available during the testing phase?

Response: The Capital Crescent Trail construction is going to proceed according to the design schedule that the new design-builder puts forward. There are no anticipated delays due to cost overruns that may occur in the future. At this time, the Capital Crescent Trail is fully in the design and part of the construction plans and will be completed with the rest of the project.

Does MTA have any say in the order in which some construction activities resume? For example, the South entrance to the Bethesda metro station needs to be completed so Elm St. can be reopened. The current state of this entrance is also impacting the Metro Tower project at 7316 Wisconsin.

Response: The state does not have the ability to dictate sequencing of the work. The design builder is responsible for creating the critical path to completion. Anything that MDOT MTA would do to change their schedule as far as giving them different priorities would impact their ability to complete the overall project. So, in that case we are limited, and we will essentially hold them to their end date, not interim project milestones.

Silver Spring (May 25, 2021)

Once utility pipes have been relocated it is my impression that all that’d be left to do is laying the tracks and landscaping on our block. Can this work be done in the daytime so the residents in our senior citizens building can be allowed to sleep?

Response: Once utility relocations are complete, there are still many additional phases of work that will occur. Utility relocations will be followed by storm drain work, road repaving, sidewalk replacement, track laying, catenary pole placement and systems installation. Lastly, we’ll do the landscaping for the area pending the seasonal conditions. We try to do as much work as we can during daylight hours to limit disruptions to our neighbors.

Should we expect our water to be cut off again (on Bonifant) or is this part of the project completed?

Response: The previous water cut off was due to a leak in the existing system and not a result of the relocation tie-ins. That repair was needed quickly, therefore there wasn’t much time for notifications about this unfortunate event. We did have our field engineers go door to door, and our Outreach team made calls to the contacts they had. There will be at least one planned outage expected for tie-in work. This outage will be coordinated in advance through WSSC, which will notify their customers directly.

Saturday work on Bonifant Street is problematic for the businesses. Can work occur on Sundays instead?

Response: During this ongoing MDOT MTA managed construction period, the State will make every effort to limit Saturday construction work along Bonifant Street. If weather or other events impact the construction schedule, the State will endeavor to use Sundays as the bad weather make-up day.

Long Branch (June 15, 2021)

What steps remain for tunnel construction?

Response: Excavation within the tunnel was completed by the previous contractor. Right now, we are focusing on walls near the tunnel. Once the new design-build contractor is on board, they will finish the construction, including completion of systems, lighting, communications, track placement, construction of the Manchester Place station, and restoring traffic conditions around the tunnel.

Concern expressed regarding the conditions of the road(s) in the Long Branch area (Bradford and Plymouth Street). Roads are in bad shape with lumps, ridges, trenches, and depressions work trucks have left and the patch jobs do not last. Does anyone inspect our streets?

Response: We will review the roads within our limit of disturbance and determine any repairs. Roads outside of the project limits are the responsibility of the road owner, either the Maryland Department of Transportation State Highway Administration (MDOT SHA) or Montgomery County. If specific sites can be identified, we can help sort through ownership in advance.

Arliss Street was supposed to be closed for construction. When will that be happening?

Response: The portion of Arliss Street between Garland Avenue and Flower Avenue has been closed as part of the tunnel construction. The southern segment will be part of the next design builder’s work to build out the track from the portal all the way down Arliss Street to the station. Access to the apartments will be maintained.

University Boulevard (May 19, 2021)

Will Prince George’s County be funding new sidewalks on University Blvd. near its intersection with Adelphi Rd. or is that part of the Purple Line scope?

Response: While utility work is ongoing, however, the project is not installing final sidewalks or traffic signal crossings, unless it is needed for utility work. That work will occur by the new design-builder once they are brought on board. We do have a responsibility to replace a sidewalk that is removed for utility relocation. The Purple Line will be building new sidewalks on University Blvd. within our project’s alignment. We cannot speak to what improvements Prince George’s County will make.

Along with the plans, are there renderings of the plans, especially at the intersections to see pedestrian crosswalks, etc.?

Response: We do have landscape plans available on our website and station renderings. However, they do not show pedestrian crosswalks since many of the designs are not final as this is a design-build project. We can share engineering drawings with you if you are interested in seeing those to see the sidewalks and crosswalks in the final condition.

What does the team think is the biggest challenge going forward on University Blvd.? What is the biggest opportunity from the team’s perspective?

Response: Our biggest challenge is getting the utilities out of the way. This utility relocation is very disruptive, as we are in travel lanes continuously up and down the roadway. We have a certain amount of utility relocation the state is undertaking, but we will not be able to get to all of it before the design-builder is on board. We want to make sure the contractor is fully cognizant of what they need to be doing and they are prepared to go out there and continue with the completion of utility work so that we can take the next steps which will be ultimately laying the tracks down the corridor. The opportunity is as we finish our construction, Prince George’s County will come in and do additional work beyond what the scope of the Purple Line is to increase the pedestrian feel of the whole area. The county is currently engaged in a study looking at a series of potential areas of the Cool Spring/Adelphi area.

College Park (June 22, 2021)

Can you identify when the bus loop will be reopened?

Response: We are anticipating Winter 2021 for the bus loop to be reopened.

What is the design of the bus loop?

Response: The bus loop is a standard loop design. There are two stormwater facilities in between the wall and right near the entrance where the buses will turn from and onto River Road. The bus loop has a saw-tooth pattern and will feature new upgraded lighting and landscaping.

Will bus stops and bus routes be affected? Where will they be located?

Response: We do not dictate the bus stop locations or routes along the project alignment. Those are determined by the bus operators, including the University of Maryland Department of Transportation Services.

Photos from Around the Corridor

Purple Line NOW would like to take a moment to thank the hardworking Purple Line crews for their diligent and careful work during these hot summer months!

 

Stay Connected

   STAY CONNECTED

Get Connected

Make sure you are signed up for timely alerts from Purple Line NOW via our Twitter and Facebook pages, and at our website Purple Line NOW.

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Purple Line NOW News - July 14, 2021

In today's edition of Purple Line NOW News, here's what you'll find:

  • What's Happening at PLN?
  • Purple Line in the News
  • Features & Highlights
  • Construction News
    • Greater Lyttonsvlle/Woodside Community Advisory Team
    • Photos Around the Purple Line Corridor

Share This Newsletter

Please feel free to share this newsletter - no permission from us needed! You can always find a link to our newsletter on our Purple Line NOW website which makes it easy to share with your friends, neighbors, constituents, customers, and employees.

What' Happening

   WHAT'S HAPPENING AT PLN?

Please Help Us Continue Our Work

We appreciate your consideration of a donation to Purple Line NOW which will help us continue to offer events like the webinar we hosted last month throughout the year, free of charge to all participants as well as this information-packed newsletter. We do not host special event fundraisers, nor do we receive underwriting grants from any source, government (local or otherwise), nor are we a membership organization (we do not ask for annual dues). We rely solely on support from donors like YOU!

Remember, with your donation, your name (or your business name) will be listed on our website, as well as in event literature and signage for a year following your donation.

As always, a great big thank you to ALL OF OUR DONORS! We simply could not do our work without your support. If you don't see your name on our website link, you can donate by clicking the purple button below. 

Thank you, thank you! Especially after the year from which we are all slowly emerging, a great big THANK YOU!

 

PL in the News

   THE PURPLE LINE IN THE NEWS

Why does it cost so much to build things in America? (J. Demsas, June 28, 2021, VOX)

Features and Highlights

   FEATURES & HIGHLIGHTS

A Fond Farewell to Reemberto Rodriguez

Purple Line NOW wishes all the best to Reemberto Rodriguez on his retirement earlier this month from his position as Silver Spring Regional Director. Reemberto has been a terrific advocate for the project throughout his tenure, as well as for the many businesses along the corridor. A warm thank you for his years of service to our community. We wish him well on his next adventure! A little more about Reemberto can be found here.

An Analysis of Transportation Costs

In this article, Vox has an analysis of transportation costs, not just for transit, but also for other forms of infrastructure. Explanations include insufficient experience, cumbersome processes, jurisdictional disputes, and a need to invest in staffing. One other cause covered in the article, and one that we are all too familiar with, was the way a small group of opponents were able to delay the Purple Line. The article concludes by looking at some steps that could be taken to address this challenge, with the first step being more data.

What Would You Like to See At the Next Purple Line NOW Forum?

We are beginning to think about the next Purple Line NOW forum, set to occur sometime this fall. What would you like to know more about? General updates? Specific focus areas? Campus and the Purple Line highlights? Send your ideas to [email protected] and we'll try to make it happen! 

Construction Updates

   CONSTRUCTION UPDATES

Community Advisory Team Meeting Highlights

In this edition of Purple Line NOW News, we bring you a brief overview of the final Community Advisory Team meeting for Spring/Summer 2021, this one focusing on Greater Lyttonsville/Woodside. We have also included some of the questions and answers provided during the presentations, but to watch the full presentation, including all of the questions submitted in advance, we encourage you to visit the MDOT MTA website.

Matthew Pollack, Executive Director, Transit Development and Delivery, Vernon G. Hartsock, Project Director, Anita Rodgers, Acting Deputy Project Director, Contracting Officer, and Gary Witherspoon, Deputy Project Director Public Outreach & Communications hosted the following CAT meeting.

First, a bit of an update on the full project from the leadership team:

The Settlement agreement was approved by the Board of Public Works and has started the procurement process to re-solicit the project for a new design-build contractor.

MDOT MTA (jointly with PLTP) will have final approval over selected replacement design-build contractor. As you know, MDOT MTA took over the large number of contracts when the former builder left the project, and since then, MDOT MTA has continued to manage those contracts and advance construction during this interim period.

The team gave us an estimated timeframe for the procurement process:

  • January 8, 2021: Issued Request for Qualifications
  • February 18, 2021: Received Statements of Qualifications
  • March 3, 2021: Short-List Teams
  • March 8, 2021: Issued Request for Proposals
  • Summer 2021: Select Contracto
  • Fall 2021: Board of Public Works Review/Approval

The following three companies comprise the short list of those being considered:

  • Halmar International
  • Maryland Transit Solutions (made up of Dragados USA Inc. and OHL USA Inc.)
  • Tutor-Perini/Lunda, a joint venture

As we have mentioned in previous editions, the potential companies have been given 60 days of extra time to complete their research and price out the work to be done in a “thoughtful and competent manner,” said Gary Witherspoon. Once selected, the decision will go back to the Board of Public Works for approval this fall.

We know some of you have a keen interest in the progress of the vehicle production and we received an update on those, too.

Did you know that these particular light rail vehicles are some of the longest in North America? They are 140 feet long and are built in segments, called “car shells,” according to Vernon Hartsock. The car shells are fabricated and painted in Spain and then shipped to Elmira, New York.

MDOT MTA has been working directly with CAF to progress production of vehicles. So far, all 130 car shells have been fabricated, 94 car shells have been painted, 82 are in Elmira, NY for assembly, five are in transit from Spain to Elmira, and seven are awaiting shipment from Spain to Elmira.

MDOT MTA recently established a Business Engagement Team in the Purple Line project management office to foster relationships with those businesses along the alignment that may be impacted. The team consists of:

Lesli Leath, Business Relationship Manager, [email protected], 1-240-695-9269

Minh Diep, Business Engagement Officer for Montgomery County, [email protected], 1-551-206-5889

Marlene Veras, Business Engagement Officer for Prince George’s County, [email protected], 1-443-802-1608

Lastly, a reminder of the Construction Schedule:

  • Typical day shift: 7 a.m. – 5 p.m.
  • Typical night shift: 7 p.m. – 4:30 a.m.
  • Make-up/maintenance day will be Saturdays

Greater Lyttonsville/Woodside Community Advisory Team Meeting

The Community Advisory Team (CAT) meeting was held on June 29, 2021. Stations in this segment include Lyttonsville and 16th Street/Woodside.

As we have mentioned before, the primary focus has been on underground utility relocations. Vernon Hartsock said that, “in any project this size, the first order of business is always utility relocation.” In this case, the construction team is having to bury significant infrastructure in ground (and overhead) and that infrastructure includes drainage systems, railroad ties, catenary systems and poles, along with all of the communication cables. So far, about 5% of the relocations are complete along this segment.

In the past six months, crews have completed the Rock Creek pedestrian bridge substructure.


Rock Creek Concrete Placement for New Pedestrian Bridge

They have also constructed a retaining wall at the Falkland Apartments and restored the parking lot, returning it to residents for their use. The team also began tree clearing last month between 16th Street and Spring Street, adjacent to CSX tracks. Hartsock explained that the tree clearing is to make room for water and sewer relocation. This will also be the area where the future CCT will be located.

In the next six months, to get as much of these utility relocations done before the new design build company is hired, crews will continue their work in the following areas:

• The water line along 3rd Avenue/Ballard Street, Bradford Place, and 16th Street.
• Sewer at Spring Center and 3rd Avenue/Ballard Street.

This sewer work is time sensitive as it is going under the WMATA/CSX tracks, so crews have to be “efficient about accomplishing their work quickly.” Hartsock noted that the work will occur 24/7 for approximately a week. They will complete the Pepco overhead crossing at Talbot Avenue and continue the tree clearing cited above. They expect the clearing should be finished sometime this month. Crews will also be removing the graffiti on Lyttonsville Place Bridge by the end of summer. 

There were a few questions submitted in advance, but we will alert you when the full Q&A is available to the public.

Delegate Solomon asked the team to address the timing of the Talbot Avenue Bridge opening.

During this interim construction period, the state committed to minimizing the impacts of other projects in the state, which requires the team to remain laser focused on moving forward the construction plan to facilitate reducing the overall risk profile of the project. Matt Pollack said, “This is why you see us focusing on utility construction permitting and relocations, while other construction items, such as the Talbot Avenue Bridge, have been deferred for completion by the new design builder.” When the new design builder is hired and approved, they will get the full construction schedule.

Delegate Solomon also asked about the completion of the Lyttonsville Place Bridge, which is functional, but not completed. He noted that there remains issues with transition points, sidewalks, etc. and asked for an update on when the finishing touches would be done?

Kevin Oberheim: “We have reached a resolution on work that needs to be done.” During this interim period, crews will be removing graffiti and recoating the substructure, but Oberheim said that other work that still needs to be completed, including the interface with the elevator, will be finalized and passed on to the new design builder.

When will the CCT open?
When will the Talbot Avenue Bridge be completed?
What is the anticipated completion date of the project?

Until the new design builder is hired, they cannot give a date for any of the above. Once the new team is selected and approved by MDOT MTA, it will go to the Board of Public Works with “high level schedule” information and updated costs, sometime this fall. At that point, it will include the date for commencement of revenue services (opening day!) Once the design build contractor is brought under contract, they will be responsible for putting together a detailed construction schedule with projected finish dates for individual items like the bridge and the trail. We will then be able to see the detailed schedule and the completion dates for all the work in the sequence.

Photos from Around the Corridor

Purple Line NOW would like to take a moment to thank the hardworking Purple Line crews for their diligent and careful work during these hot summer months!

 

Stay Connected

   STAY CONNECTED

Get Connected

Make sure you are signed up for timely alerts from Purple Line NOW via our Twitter and Facebook pages, and at our website Purple Line NOW.

Facebook Twitter

Purple Line NOW News - June 30, 2021

In today's edition of Purple Line NOW News, here's what you'll find:

  • What's Happening at PLN?
  • Purple Line in the News
  • Features & Highlights
  • Construction News
    • Long Branch CAT Meeting Highlights
    • College Park CAT Meeting Highlights

Share This Newsletter

Please feel free to share this newsletter - no permission from us needed! You can always find a link to our newsletter on our Purple Line NOW website which makes it easy to share with your friends, neighbors, constituents, customers, and employees.

What' Happening

   WHAT'S HAPPENING AT PLN?

Please Help Us Continue Our Work

We appreciate your consideration of a donation to Purple Line NOW which will help us continue to offer events like the webinar we hosted last month throughout the year, free of charge to all participants as well as this information-packed newsletter. We do not host special event fundraisers, nor do we receive underwriting grants from any source, government (local or otherwise), nor are we a membership organization (we do not ask for annual dues). We rely solely on support from donors like YOU!

Remember, with your donation, your name (or your business name) will be listed on our website, as well as in event literature and signage for a year following your donation.

As always, a great big thank you to ALL OF OUR DONORS! We simply could not do our work without your support. If you don't see your name on our website link, you can donate by clicking the purple button below. 

Thank you, thank you! Especially after the year from which we are all slowly emerging, a great big THANK YOU!

 

PL in the News

   THE PURPLE LINE IN THE NEWS

Why does it cost so much to build things in America? (J. Demsas, June 28, 2021, VOX)

Features and Highlights

   FEATURES & HIGHLIGHTS

What Would You Like to See At the Next Purple Line NOW Forum?

We are beginning to think about the next Purple Line NOW forum, set to occur sometime this fall. What would you like to know more about? General updates? Specific focus areas? Campus and the Purple Line highlights? Send your ideas to [email protected] and we'll try to make it happen! 

Community Advisory Team Meetings Scheduled for Summer 2021

The last round of the MDOT MTA Round 8 of the CAT meetings, which began in May, is now complete. We have two updates for you below and we will bring you the highlights from the final spring/summer CAT meeting, held last night, in the next edition of Purple Line News.

Construction Updates

   CONSTRUCTION UPDATES

Community Advisory Team Meeting Highlights

As we did in the previous edition of Purple Line NOW News, we continue with an overview of the next two Community Advisory Team meetings. In the line-up for this issue are the Long Branch and College Park stations, respectively. We have also included some of the questions and answers provided during the presentations.

As always, we offer you this brief overview of the highlights, but encourage you to view the full presentations on the MDOT MTA website.

Matthew Pollack Executive Director, Transit Development and Delivery, Vernon G. Hartsock, Project Director, Anita Rodgers, Acting Deputy Project Director, Contracting Officer, and Gary Witherspoon, Deputy Project Director Public Outreach & Communications hosted both of the following CAT meetings.

First, a bit of an update on the full project from the leadership team:

The Settlement agreement was approved by the Board of Public Works and has started the procurement process to re-solicit the project for a new design-build contractor.

MDOT MTA (jointly with PLTP) will have final approval over selected replacement design-build contractor. As you know, MDOT MTA took over the large number of contracts when the former builder left the project, and since then, MDOT MTA has continued to manage those contracts and advance construction during this interim period.

The team gave us an estimated timeframe for the procurement process:

  • January 8, 2021: Issued Request for Qualifications
  • February 18, 2021: Received Statements of Qualifications
  • March 3, 2021: Short-List Teams
  • March 8, 2021: Issued Request for Proposals
  • Summer 2021: Select Contractor
  • Fall 2021: Board of Public Works Review/Approval

The following three companies comprise the short list of those being considered:

  • Halmar International
  • Maryland Transit Solutions (made up of Dragados USA Inc. and OHL USA Inc.)
  • Tutor-Perini/Lunda, a joint venture

As we have mentioned in previous editions, the potential companies have been given 60 days of extra time to complete their research and price out the work to be done in a “thoughtful and competent manner,” said Gary Witherspoon. Once selected, the decision will go back to the Board of Public Works for approval this fall.

We know some of you have a keen interest in the progress of the vehicle production and we received an update on those, too. MDOT MTA has been working directly with CAF to progress production of vehicles. So far: all 130 car shells have been fabricated, 94 car shells have been painted, 82 are in Elmira, NY for assembly, five are in transit from Spain to Elmira, and seven are awaiting shipment from Spain to Elmira.

MDOT MTA recently established a Business Engagement Team in the Purple Line project management office to foster relationships with those businesses along the alignment that may be impacted. The team consists of:

Lesli Leath, Business Relationship Manager, [email protected], 1-240-695-9269

Minh Diep, Business Engagement Officer for Montgomery County, [email protected], 1-551-206-5889

Marlene Veras, Business Engagement Officer for Prince George’s County, [email protected], 1-443-802-1608

Lastly, a reminder of the Construction Schedule:

  • Typical day shift: 7 a.m. – 5 p.m.
  • Typical night shift: 7 p.m. – 4:30 a.m.
  • Make-up / maintenance day will be Saturdays, as required Purplelinemd.com hosts notifications for all work zones and hours in which work will be conducted as well as any lane closures needed

Long Branch Community Advisory Team Meeting

The Long Branch CAT Meeting was held on June 15, 2021.

Stations in this segment include Manchester Place, Long Branch, and Piney Branch Road.

Over the past six months, the utility relocations have continued. As the team explained, with a light rail project of this size, the volume of utilities that need to be relocated and buried is tremendous.

  • Primary focus has been on utility relocations both underground and overhead on Piney Branch Road
  • WSSC waterline and sewer work
  • Pepco
  • Verizon
  • Removed temporary support of excavation struts at the east portal
  • Began construction of portal slab/walls

Crews also began Kenwood House parking lot reconstruction.


Rebar form work (green) for a future wall at the east portal. On the right, finishing work on a recent concrete pour of a tunnel wall.

Looking ahead six months, the team expects to continue utility relocations both underground and overhead through the onboarding of the new contractor. They will also remove the temporary purple wall adjacent to the east portal and this fall will complete Kenwood House parking lot reconstruction, along with the finished portal slab/walls.

Questions and Answers:

What steps remain for tunnel construction?

Excavation within the tunnel construction was completed by the former Design Build partner, and once the new company is on board, they will finish the completion systems and restore conditions around the tunnel.

The new builder will have a lot of choices, but should we assume by default that a new concrete facility will be going up by Arliss Street once the new builder is on board?

There are no plans for another concrete plant install at this time.

Under the original contract, there were incentives for getting to opening; the concessionaire holding some of the financings for the project; two payments at key milestones; and the availability payments only starting as the project is open for public transit. We won't know the details on the schedule until a builder is decided on, but are those incentives remaining in place?

Yes, they will be similar, but not exactly the same. The intention and key processes for those incentives hasn’t changed.

Concern expressed regarding the conditions of the road(s) in the Long Branch area (Bradford and Plymouth Street). Roads are in bad shape with lumps, ridges, trenches, and depressions work trucks have left and the patch jobs do not last. Does anyone inspect our streets?

Yes, they do. The Purple Line team will review the road within the limits of their scope and make any repairs they are able to make within that scope. They will assist in sorting through any issues to determine who owns a particular road, and for those outside the project’s scope, will help identify the contacts and facilitate those repairs.

What is the status of the requested graffiti removal at Manchester Place?

They are finalizing the contract arrangements and seeking permissions for any on private property. Hoping that the clean-up process will occur within the next couple of months. The team asked that any graffiti be reported to the proper authorities, as well, as this is a criminal matter.

College Park Community Advisory Team Meeting

The College Park Community Advisory Team was presented on June 22, 2021.

Stations in this segment:

  • Adelphi Road - UMGC-UMD
  • Campus Drive - UMD
  • Baltimore Avenue - College Park - UMD
  • College Park Metro - UMD
  • Riverdale Park North - UMD

The work done over the past six months has primarily been focused on utility relocation, both underground and overhead on the University of Maryland campus. Work on the pump station on Campus Drive has continued, and construction at the College Park Metro bus loop has been restarted. The bus loop will be opening soon and at that time, the temporary locations will be restored to the new locations. The team will provide more information at the fall CATs.

 

Looking ahead six months, the bus loop will be completed, but the utility relocations will continue, including steam, underground electric, water and sewer, and communications (at UMD). Both the Campus Drive pump station, drainage and sidewalk at the Campus Drive underpass will be completed.

Questions and Answers:

How loud are the light rail cars?

The Purple Line cars will be quieter than the Washington Metro vehicles. The Purple Line will operate mostly at street level, and will operated at lower speed, which produces less noise. Additionally, the cars will be outfitted with special wheel covers to reduce noise.

Is it expected that a design-construction partner will be on board before the utility relocation work is completed?

The new company will be responsible for finishing up some of the utility relocation work that isn’t able to be completed before they are hired and begin their work.

What is the anticipated completion date of the project?

We won’t have a definitive timeline until the new design build company is on board.

***

In our next edition, we'll finish up with the last CAT meetings of Spring/Summer 2021.

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Purple Line NOW News - June 16, 2021

In today's edition of Purple Line NOW News, here's what you'll find:

  • What's Happening at PLN?
  • Purple Line in the News
  • Features & Highlights
    • Board of Public Works Approves Funding for Purple Line Consultants
    • Upcoming Community Advisory Team Meetings
  • Construction News
    • Riverdale & Glenridge/New Carrollton CAT Meeting Highlights
    • Bethesda CAT Meeting Highlights

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Please feel free to share this newsletter - no permission from us needed! You can always find a link to our newsletter on our Purple Line NOW website which makes it easy to share with your friends, neighbors, constituents, customers, and employees.

What' Happening

   WHAT'S HAPPENING AT PLN?

Please Help Us Continue Our Work

We appreciate your consideration of a donation to Purple Line NOW which will help us continue to offer events like the webinar we hosted last month throughout the year, free of charge to all participants as well as this information-packed newsletter. We do not host special event fundraisers, nor do we receive underwriting grants from any source, government (local or otherwise), nor are we a membership organization (we do not ask for annual dues). We rely solely on support from donors like YOU!

Remember, with your donation, your name (or your business name) will be listed on our website, as well as in event literature and signage for a year following your donation.

As always, a great big thank you to ALL OF OUR DONORS! We simply could not do our work without your support. If you don't see your name on our website link, you can donate by clicking the purple button below. 

Thank you, thank you! Especially after the year from which we are all slowly emerging, a great big THANK YOU!

 

PL in the News

   THE PURPLE LINE IN THE NEWS

Maryland board approves $183.5 million for Purple Line construction consultants (K. Shaver, June 16, 2021, Washington Post)

A first look at the future Purple Line’s railcars (M. Small, June 16, 2021, WTOP News)

A Quick Stations Tour of the Purple Line (R. Bennett, May 13, 2021, PLCC Real Estate Round Table)

Features and Highlights

   FEATURES & HIGHLIGHTS

Board of Public Works Approves Funding for Purple Line Consultants

Earlier today, the Maryland Board of Public Works approved $183.5 million for consultants to continue managing many of the 150 contracts that the state took over when the former builder left the project. According to the Washington Post, state transportation officials say, “the $183.5 million is not a cost increase because it was already in the project’s $2 billion budget for work that would have been done by the Fluor team.”  

In fact, Secretary Slater went on to clarify that “every activity we do under this new contract authority is an activity that won’t be included in the costs when the new builder is hired. This funding will move the process along and reduce risk."

The Maryland Department of Transportation officials have said that the consultants “have taken on an even more significant role since the departure of the design-build contractor, which has allowed the state to continue critical work on the project during this interim period.”

Peter Franchot, Maryland’s Comptroller (and member of the Board of Public Works), praised the work that Secretary Slater has done to keep the project moving during the past year, and he underscored the necessity for this critically important project to reach completion.

We believe that by asking for this new contract authority, the state is taking the steps necessary to see the project through to opening day. We look forward to learning the updated costs and schedule now that Maryland has the support it needs to finish the selection of a new builder in September and to then fully resume construction.

Community Advisory Team Meetings Scheduled for Summer 2021

MDOT MTA continues to conduct Round 8 of the CAT meetings which began in May and will run through this month with the final two groups:

College Park: June 22, 6:30 pm
Greater Lyttonsville/Woodside: June 29, 6:30 pm

Construction Updates

   CONSTRUCTION UPDATES

Community Advisory Team Meeting Highlights

As we did in the previous edition of Purple Line NOW News, we continue with an overview of the next two Community Advisory Team meetings. In the line-up for this issue is the Riverdale/Glenridge/New Carrollton and Bethesda stations.

As always, we offer you this brief overview of the highlights, but encourage you to view the full presentations on the MDOT MTA website.

Matthew Pollack Executive Director, Transit Development and Delivery, Vernon G. Hartsock, Project Director, Anita Rodgers, Acting Deputy Project Director, Contracting Officer, and Gary Witherspoon, Deputy Project Director Public Outreach & Communications hosted both of the following CAT meetings.

First, a bit of an update on the full project from the team:

The Settlement agreement was approved by the Board of Public Works and, as we brought to you in our May 4 forum, Purple Line Transit Partners (PLTP) has started the procurement process to re-solicit the project for a new design-build contractor.

MDOT MTA (jointly with PLTP) will have final approval over selected replacement design-build contractor. As you know, MDOT MTA took over the large number of contracts when the former builder left the project, and since then, MDOT MTA has continued to manage those contracts and advance construction during this interim period.

The team gave us an estimated timeframe for the procurement process:

  • Issued Request for Qualifications - January 8, 2021
  • Received Statements of Qualifications - February 18, 2021
  • Short-List Teams - March 3, 2021
  • Issued Request for Proposals - March 8, 2021
  • Select Contractor - Summer 2021
  • Board of Public Works Review/Approval - Fall 2021

We know some of you have a keen interest in the progress of the vehicle production and we received an update on those, too. MDOT MTA has been working directly with CAF to progress production of vehicles. So far:

  • All 130 car shells have been fabricated
  • 94 car shells have been painted
  • 82 are in Elmira, NY for assembly
  • 5 are in transit from Spain to Elmira
  • 7 are awaiting shipment from Spain to Elmira

Check out the news item from WTOP News about the new rail cars, as well!

Lastly, MDOT MTA recently established a Business Engagement Team in the Purple Line project management office to foster relationships with those businesses along the alignment that may be impacted. The team consists of:

Lesli Leath, Business Relationship Manager

[email protected], 1-240-695-9269

Minh Diep, Business Engagement Officer for Montgomery County

[email protected], 1-551-206-5889

Marlene Veras, Business Engagement Officer for Prince George’s County

[email protected], 1-443-802-1608

Riverdale & Glenridge/New Carrollton

The Riverdale & Glenridge/New Carrollton CAT meeting was held virtually on June 3, 2021.

Stations in this segment include:

  • Riverdale Park/Kenilworth
  • Beacon Heights-East Pines
  • Glenridge
  • New Carrollton Metro

As has been the case with a project of this size, utility relocations comprise a large portion of the work to be done along the corridor. This segment is no exception with the primary focus here on utility relocations both underground and overhead on Kenilworth Avenue, Riverdale Road, Veterans Parkway, Annapolis Road, and Ellin Road. Crews have been busy specifically working on WSSC waterline and sewer work, and Pepco and Verizon utilities. They expect that these relocation efforts will continue through the end of this calendar year. Along Kenilworth Avenue, underground utility relocations continue.

At the Glenridge Operations and Maintenance Facility (OMF), wall construction continues, along with the installation of permanent utilities (water, sewer, power, and gas) to the building. The substructure for the access bridge from Veterans Parkway to the OMF which is over the future Purple Line tracks, has been completed.


Waterproofing application on a wall adjacent to Ellin Road

Looking ahead, along with the continued aforementioned utility relocations (both underground and overhead, which will occur through the onboarding of the new design-build contractor), crews will begin the 66-inch water line relocation along Veterans Parkway this month. We were alerted through a public notification at the beginning of the summer that a long-term lane closure would be needed to facilitate this specific relocation. If there are any impacts to service, WSSC will provide notices.

Additionally, workers are preparing the OMF building for occupancy.

Some questions were asked in advance of the meeting for which the team was able to provide answers:

  • Will future construction at the 450-410 intersection require multiple lanes of Annapolis Road (both east and west) to be closed for extended periods as was the case in May?

The "Maintenance of Traffic" plan (or MOT) for future track construction will maintain two through lanes in each direction through each phase. They do not anticipate needing to close multiple through lanes for any of the remaining work. However, with the new design build team yet to be installed, there could be a potential that they may seek approval for an alternative MOT plan.

  • If construction requires multiple lane closures on Annapolis Road, is it possible to open more than one lane when work is not being done and conduct work beyond the overnight hours?

It depends on the work being performed. Certain portions of water line construction that occurred there in May had to be protected while crews were working on it, and that protection could not be removed during non-work hours. In that case, lane closures and barrier walls were required 24/7 for protection. Matt Pollack said that they will do their best to open lanes when work is not being performed.

Bethesda/Chevy Chase

The Bethesda and Chevy Chase Community Advisory Team meeting was held virtually on June 8, 2021.

The stations in this segment include:

  • Bethesda Metro
  • Connecticut Avenue

Over the past six months, work crews have completed the Connecticut Avenue LRV bridge substructure as well as the Connecticut Avenue CCT bridge substructure. They have also finished the construction of parapets on the Chevy Chase Lakes Terrace CCT bridge, along with the substructure concrete placement for the new pedestrian bridge.


Rock Creek concrete placement for new pedestrian bridge


CAT members submitted some questions in advance and the presenters provided answers to them. To see or hear the full scale of those answers, please visit their website, but we wanted to bring you a few of those that were fielded during the presentation.

  • There are now two separate spans for the Connecticut Ave. Purple Line overpass. Will there be an additional span for the trail or is the span work complete?

The span is not complete, although there are two girders currently erected for the LRV bridge. The new design-builder will be responsible for setting the girders for the CCT bridge.

  • If there is need for additional spans to bridge Connecticut, approximately when is that work planned?

Not sure about the specific schedule because the new design-build team needs to be hired and then onboarded and then will produce an updated construction schedule.

  • When will work on the Station at Connecticut Ave. begin?

The new builder will give an early mobilization schedule once they are hired, and then a full construction schedule through opening day.

  • The intensive development around the Conn. Ave. Station has raised concern regarding the flow of traffic in that area. Presumably there will be both buses and private vehicles dropping passengers off for the Purple Line. With hundreds of residential units and a large number of commercial properties being built adjacent to the Station there will be additional volume throughout the day. What measures are being undertaken to avoid build-ups on Conn. Ave., Manor Road, Ch. Ch. Lake Drive and Ch. Ch. Lake Terrace?

Most of the Purple Line stations have been designed as neighborhood stations where users will be walking, biking, or taking alternative transit to access the stations. Connecticut Avenue is not intended for drop-off lane for private vehicles. Appropriate signage and community education will occur closer to service.

In our next edition, we'll finish up with the last few CAT meetings of Spring/Summer 2021.

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