Back on track? Construction on Purple Line set to resume this spring

The group designing and building the Purple Line announced it has secured funding to complete construction of the light rail line in suburban Maryland with a new contractor — and that neighbors, businesses and residents should expect construction to ramp up this spring and summer.

Construction on the project to link Prince George’s and Montgomery counties with the 16-mile, 21-station light rail line has been stalled for more than a year after the previous construction contractor walked off the nearly half-built project in December 2020 amid a dispute with the state on cost overruns.



In a news release Thursday, Purple Line Transit Partners, the consortium managing the overall project, cited close coordination with the Maryland Department of Transportation’s Maryland Transit Administration to secure funding to finish construction as well as for future operations and maintenance.

“We are excited to start a new chapter and deliver the Purple Line to Maryland,” said MDOT MTA Administrator Holly Arnold. “There will be a noticeable increase in construction activity later this spring and summer as this critical project moves forward. The Purple Line will revolutionize transportation in the Washington, D.C. region, with convenient service within an interconnected transit system.”

The light rail line, which was originally set to open this March, has been beset by delays since even before construction began in 2017.

The Purple Line is now expected to be completed by the fall of 2026 — more than four years behind schedule — with an extra $1.4 billion added to construction costs. The total project is now estimated to cost $3.4 billion.

After a standstill in construction for much of last year, there have been indications this year the once-beleaguered project was getting back on track.

In January, the Maryland Board of Public Works approved the selection of Maryland Transit Solutions to complete the halted construction work.

Last month, the U.S. Department of Transportation approved a $1.7 billion loan as part of the restructured financing package.

“Our rock-solid partnership with MDOT MTA is the reason we’re able to make today’s announcement, which brings the Purple Line an important step closer to serving the people of Maryland,” said Jane Garvey, chairman of Purple Line Transit Partners, in a news release. “Leading up to today’s milestone, ‘Team Purple Line’ has spared no effort to ensure the restart of construction hits the ground running.”

The Purple Line group said it has been working with the state to refine designs, relocate utilities and other steps in anticipation of resuming construction.

Once completed, the Purple Line will run east-west, connecting New Carrollton in Prince George’s County, to Bethesda in Montgomery County, and linking up with five existing Metro stations, three MARC commuter lines and Amtrak.

Jack Moore

Jack Moore joined WTOP.com as a digital writer/editor in July 2016. Previous to his current role, he covered federal government management and technology as the news editor at Nextgov.com, part of Government Executive Media Group.

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