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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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What' Happening


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


PL 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


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


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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