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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

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What' Happening


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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!

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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


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

Features and 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


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 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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