WASHINGTON — A year after major work kicked off on the Purple Line in Montgomery and Prince George’s counties, road closures are beginning to become more common with construction picking up steam.
The formal groundbreaking for the 16-mile, 21-stop light rail line Aug. 28, 2017 — a year ago Tuesday — featured Gov. Larry Hogan taking the controls of a backhoe and dozens of people excited for faster trips between New Carrollton, College Park, Silver Spring and Bethesda.
Until the line opens though, it means disruptions for neighbors and commuters.
That includes increasing current or upcoming lane closures from Veterans Parkway in New Carrollton and Riverdale Road under the Baltimore-Washington Parkway to Elm Street in Bethesda.
Crews are now setting up a long-term lane closure along Campus Drive at the University of Maryland. The iconic “M” will be moving a few yards away.
Trees have already been cleared along a significant portion of the Purple Line route.
In four areas, more significant work has been underway for weeks, months or longer.
The Glenridge rail yard where the groundbreaking was held has seen some of the most obvious changes with tons of earth moved as part of grading work.
In Lyttonsville, work on the station has temporarily taken out the Lyttonsville Place bridge.
In Bethesda, crews are digging a shaft down that will connect the Purple Line to the Metro station.
Off Piney Branch Road, Flower Ave. and Wayne Ave. in Silver Spring, work on the lone midline tunnel is underway as a machine digs under the neighborhood. The work does include some blasting when harder rock is hit.
The Purple Line is being built and operated by a private group, Purple Line Transit Partners, for the Maryland Transit Administration. It will connect to the Metro system at Bethesda, Silver Spring, College Park and New Carrollton, but will be run independently of the Metro system.