Ahead of its public hearing on the issue Wednesday, the Town of Chevy Chase says it now has a preliminary cost estimate from the state on an underpass crossing of the Purple Line at Lynn Drive.
The Town says it could cost $7 million to build a new Lynn Drive crossing. Some in the Town hope the Maryland Transit Administration includes the project in Purple Line plans, as the existing path serves about 230 crossings a day — including many Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School students from the Town.
But the Town and the MTA have also been at odds about what a new Lynn Drive crossing should look like. The existing path isn’t an official one, meaning that users are technically trespassing on a Montgomery Avenue property each time they use it.
That and the inability to reach agreement with the Town on a new crossing, led the MTA to make the no build option its preference.
Then in June, the MTA came back to the Town’s Purple Line Mitigation Advisory Committee with a final attempt at a solution, but made clear the Town and potentially Montgomery County would have to pay for it.
According to a notice the Town of Chevy Chase sent Wednesday morning, the state actually might be willing to pick up part of the tab:
The best cost estimate available for all the elements of the underpass (sidewalk from Lynn Drive path, underpass itself, property acquisition for switchback connection to Montgomery Avenue and construction of switchback connection) is $7 million. This is a total cost and MTA, the County and the Town have not yet discussed cost-sharing. It is clear that the Town would have to pay for the construction easement and cost of building the sidewalk to the underpass. MTA has said it will pay for the underpass itself, for additional walls and for the structure over the underpass.
That leaves the property acquisition of a house at 4306 Montgomery Ave., which the proposal would require for construction of a switchback ramp to connect to Montgomery Avenue and a rebuilt Capital Crescent Trail.
The Town Council is expected to deliberate after the public hearing, which is set to start at 8:30 p.m.
It’s also possible Montgomery County could add the cost of the Lynn Drive crossing to the $95 million it has budgeted to rebuild the Capital Crescent Trail along the Purple Line tracks.
Gary Erenrich, from the Montgomery County Department of Transportation, told the Mitigation Committee in June that the county might be willing to help, as the crossing project connects directly to the Trail.