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Purple Line NOW News - June 18, 2020

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

  • The Purple Line in the News
  • Riverdale and Glenridge/New Carrollton CAT Meeting Highlights

The Purple Line in the News

Purple Line construction progress has occurred in parallel with ongoing negotiations between the state of Maryland, the concessionaire, and the subset of firms responsible for building the line. Earlier this week, Washington Post reporter Katie Shaver wrote an in-depth piece (Maryland Likely on Hook for Millions to Save Purple Line, June 13, 2020) focusing on the factors driving the negotiations, including the bigger picture for the builder and the options currently under consideration.

Two big factors in the negotiation are the payment for cost increases, such as those stemming from the lawsuit that prompted the one year delay of the project, and the handling of true uncertainty. Maryland Transportation Secretary Greg Slater emphasized in his recent briefing to the Montgomery County Council that Maryland is willing to address reasonable cost, but that the state desires a one-time adjustment rather than accepting more risk on Maryland's part.

The parties have until June 20th to reach an agreement. Typically, public information is hard to come by in the final stages of negotiation, although Delegate Mark Korman recently shared via his Twitter that the disputed amount is between $500 and $600 million, with some of the claimed costs perhaps having more support than others. Del. Korman also highlighted that it can be confusing and complicated with all the entities involved, but that there are ultimately three actors, the state which owns the project, the concessionaire that has a contract with Maryland, and the builder that has a contract with the concessionaire.

However, no matter the complexities, as the Washington Post Editorial Board plainly stated in their opinion piece earlier this spring, "The biggest losers would be those in the suburbs through which the Purple Line would pass, including supporters, opponents and commuters, who would be left with the upheaval of a major construction project roughly one-third completed. Their anger would be amply justified." (If the Purple Line project collapses now, everyone will suffer, May 29, 2020).

In case you missed Purple Line NOW's commentary regarding the current dispute and negotiations, you can read it here: Purple Line NOW News, June 3, 2020.

Stay Safe!

All of us here at Purple Line NOW hope that you and your loved ones remain healthy during this pandemic and as we reopen our state. Please, stay safe!

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Riverdale and Glenridge/New Carrollton CAT Meeting Highlights

Continuing our wrap-up of the recent Community Advisory Team (CAT) meetings, we highlight some of the work that has been done, as well as upcoming plans for the next few months. Today, we’ll focus on the combined Riverdale and Glenridge/New Carrollton CAT meeting held on May 5, 2020 and presented virtually by Gary Witherspoon, MDOT MTA Public Outreach & Communications, Deputy Project Director; Tim Pinkerton, PLTC Area 3 Construction Manager; and Shaquanna Shields, PLTC Communications Supervisor.

As always, we encourage you to either watch or read the full presentation on the MDOT MTA website which contains lots of helpful graphics and a full array of updates.

As you know, construction is underway and approximately 28% of the project is already completed. You’ll remember that the plan is to open the Purple Line in two phases:

  • Phase 1 by December 2022 with six operational stations from New Carrollton Metro to the College Park Metro
  • Phase 2 by mid-2023 when the remaining 15 stations will open

To get us started, here is an artist’s rendering of what the Riverdale Park-Kenilworth Station might look like when completed.

Courtesy of MDOT MTA and PLTP

The LRV will pass over Kenilworth Avenue and Riverdale Road at the elevated station which will help reduce traffic concerns. The presentation reminds us that the station is ADA compliant and can be accessed from a “series of stairs and/or elevators located on the southern side of the station.” The presenters also noted that the station makes use of crosswalks at track level to allow people to cross the track to get to the other platform.

Some highlights from the work that has been done since the last CAT meeting:

On Kenilworth Avenue, traffic has shifted for the road’s widening leading up to the Riverdale Road intersection. Crews have been working on sidewalk and curb reconstruction and utility relocation. More visible is the completed installation of concrete bridge girders that will support the elevated station.

On Riverdale Road, the OCS foundation installation has begun, utilities are being moved, and the retaining wall construction is continuing.

On Baltimore-Washington Parkway, crews have installed the precast concrete arched underpass section and have started building the roadway for traffic shifts back to the Baltimore-Washington Parkway bridges.

Courtesy of MDOT MTA and PLTP

Over on Veterans Parkway, we learned that the retaining walls from Riverdale south are largely complete while grading for the light rail track continues.

At Glenridge Yard, construction continues on the new Operations and Maintenance Facility (OMF) – the massive structure you can see below.

Courtesy of MDOT MTA and PLTP

Utility relocation is a massive undertaking for this project, and it continues throughout the Purple Line corridor, including this stretch of the plan. Along with those continuing relocations, work has started at the New Carrollton Metro parking lot as well as grading at the IRS building.

Looking ahead six months, the traffic shifting on Kenilworth Avenue mentioned above will continue while the installation of the elevator and stair foundations will begin at the station. Once the bridge deck is in place, crews will start the elevated portion of the station.

On Baltimore-Washington Parkway, the northbound and southbound bridges will be completed and traffic will shift for both the north and southbound direction back to the original alignment over the rail underpasses. Those temporary bridges you may have seen will be demolished.

At the Beacon Heights-East Pines Station, traffic will be shifted to the north side of Riverdale Road near Veterans Parkway this summer to facilitate additional utility relocations and light rail track work.

On Veterans Parkway, traffic shifts will occur in three phases across Annapolis Road for installation of utilities and light rail track.

In the next edition of the Purple Line News, we’ll cover the Lyttonsville, Long Branch, and University Boulevard CAT meetings. As always, we encourage you to read or watch the full presentations, especially if you live or work in the area covered.



The Next Purple Line NOW Forum: Getting Ready for the First Purple Line Ride

We are working on bringing an online webinar or presentation to you later this summer, so please stay tuned for further details and a date!

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