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CONSTRUCTION NEWS TO KNOW
Construction Progresses at Silver Spring School
The first phase of Purple Line related construction at the Silver Spring International Middle School is showing signs of real progress as it enters its fourth month of construction.
Following the end of the most recent school year, Purple Line Transit Constructors began work on reconfiguring and reconstructing the parking lots at the school, which are immediately adjacent to the future Dale Drive station stop. So far, construction has been primarily confined to the planned “middle parking lot” which is one of three areas designated for construction at the school. Construction is also planned for the lower and upper parking lots, the latter of which was closed for a brief period this summer, but it reopened in time for the beginning of the school year. The middle parking lot remains closed while crews work to grade the site to prepare it for paving and build the retaining walls.
Middle parking lot is denoted by area contained in purple. Upper parking lot is directly above it and lower parking lot is to the right.
At first blush, it may seem odd that a school parking lot is being reconstructed as part of the Purple Line project; however, the old entrance to the lot was located directly across the street from the planned Dale Drive station, so it would have undoubtedly created issues for Purple Line trains as well as pedestrian/vehicular traffic. As a result, the entrance on Wayne Avenue has been moved around the corner to Dale Drive to facilitate ingress and egress from the parking lot. In time, the lower parking lot’s entrance on Wayne Avenue will also be shifted several hundred feet east of its old location on Wayne Avenue to avoid any impacts to the station.
PLTC constructed a new entrance for the upper parking lot this summer
The first phase of construction also involved the removal of over a dozen trees on the grounds of the school, which understandably caused some consternation among community members over the loss of tree canopy. What many people may not realize, though, is that electricity can jump a considerable distance from the catenary lines that power the Purple Line trains to surrounding trees. The Purple Line utilizes a 1500 watt power system, so there is a heightened concern about electricity jumping from the catenary lines to trees. At PLN’s last Envisioning the Purple Line Forum in July, Fred Craig, CEO of PLTP, noted that electricity can jump up to 30 feet from the catenary to nearby trees. For that reason, and out of an abundance of caution, the concessionaire is removing trees that lie outside of the Purple Line’s direct path, but which may impact operations.
Soil compactors and excavators are pictured here in front of the school
Purple Line Transit Constructors is expected to continue work on the middle parking lot at the school on Saturdays during the month of October, while work on the upper and lower parking lots will wait until next summer.
Year-Long Road Closure Begins in New Carrollton
On Monday, a 1000-foot long section of Ellin Road, located just outside of New Carrollton, was officially closed to traffic, and will remain that way for the next twelve or so months to enable the relocation of utilities and to construct other facilities that will support the Purple Line's operations.
The closure spans from the intersection of Ellin Road and Veterans Parkway down to Henson Oaks Drive. During the closure, motorists are encouraged to use the official detour that has been developed.
Construction on Ellin Road will be phased over the course of the next few years to minimize disruption to the residents who live off of Henson Oaks and to ensure continuous access to their homes. The first phase will consist of utility relocation. Subsequent phases will include construction of the track foundation, road reconstruction and installation of electrical systems.
For those of you who may not be familiar with Ellin Road, it’s the final turn that Purple Line trains will take before they arrive at the final destination on the eastern end of the line in New Carrollton. Prior to its closure, Ellin Road was a four-lane road with two lanes in each direction, but it will be going on a diet and converted to one lane of traffic in each direction to make room for the Purple Line.
Ellin Road as it looks today
We often like to talk about the “multiplier effect” that the investment in the Purple Line has in communities beyond the travel time benefits in these construction updates, and New Carrollton is no exception to this effect. The Purple Line will have the added effect of improving pedestrian safety in an area that is decidedly autocentric. At present, there are no pedestrian crossings at the intersection of Ellin Road and Veterans Parkway, however, as part of the project, a new crosswalk will be installed across Veterans Parkway, thereby enabling residents on the western side of Veterans Parkway to walk to the New Carrollton Purple Line station, as well as all of the other transit lines at New Carrollton: Amtrak, Metro, MetroBuses, and the Prince George's County “TheBus” system.
The purple overlay shows the approximate location of the future crosswalk across Veterans Parkway
PURPLE LINE NOW NEWS AND EVENTS
Some Purple Line-related events for you:
- MTA is hosting an open houses in Prince George's County, tomorrow, Thursday, October 4, 6:30 to 8:30 pm, UMD Stamp Student Union Atrium. The Montgomery County open house was held this past Monday and was well attended by the community.
- They have also set the fall's Community Advisory Team (CAT) meetings:
- Long Branch - October 16, Oak View Elementary School (All Purpose Room, 400 East Wayne Avenue, Silver Spring, MD 20901) from 6:30 pm to 8 pm.
- Riverdale - October 18, Purple Line Project Office (6811 Kenilworth Avenue - 1st Floor Training Room, Riverdale, MD 20737) from 6:30 pm to 8:30 pm.
- College Park - October 23, Purple Line Project Office (6811 Kenilworth Avenue - 1st Floor Training Room, Riverdale, MD 20737) from 6:30 pm to 8:30 pm.
- Silver Spring - October 25, Sligo Creek Elementary School (Cafeteria located in basement of the school, 500 Schuyler Road, Silver Spring, MD 20910) from 7 - 8:30 pm.
- Bethesda - November 27, Bethesda Chevy Chase High School (Cafeteria) 4301 East-West Highway, Bethesda, MD 20814 from 6:30 – 8 pm.
- Glenridge – November 29, Purple Line Project Office (6811 Kenilworth Avenue - 1st Floor Training Room, Riverdale, MD 20737 from 6:30 – 8 pm.
- Lyttonsville – December 4, Rosemary Hills Elementary School (All Purpose Room) 2111 Porter Road, Silver Spring, MD 20910 from 7 – 8:30 pm.
- University Boulevard – December 6, Langley Park-McCormick Elementary School, (Multi-Purpose Room), 8201 15th Avenue, Langley Park, MD 20783 from 6:30 – 8 pm.
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