RIVERDALE – The general mood among the Transit Partners was optimistic on Nov. 28, as the Purple Line Community Advisory Team (CAT) met at Riverdale Park to discuss the construction of the line’s Glenridge/New Carrollton section.
The bulk of the meeting’s discussion centered around the operations facility under construction at Glenridge Yard, just off Veterans Parkway (also known as Highway 410).
Earlier this month, The Maryland Department of Transportation (MDOT) began performing site grading work on Saturdays, followed by the start of excavation work. In the next six months, MDOT hopes to hire contractors to install essential underground utilities and stormwater management systems.
The Purple Line project, scheduled to finish in 2022, has not been without major headaches for area commuters.
On Oct. 1, to make room for extensive construction, Purple Line Transit Partners (PLTP), the project concessionaire, worked with the MDOT State Highway Administration to close a section of Ellin Road stretching from Veterans Parkway to Hanson Oaks Drive. While the closure is scheduled to last one year, the PLTP has set up a clearly-marked detour through Harkins Road and Annapolis Road.
PLTP has also worked with both Metrobus and Prince George’s County The Bus, as well as local school bus drivers, to temporarily modify bus routes during the period of the road closures. After construction is finished, the routes will be moved back to their original configurations.
“After the year, they will close the second portion of it, closer towards the New Carrollton Metro [station],” said Mike Madden, Deputy Project Director for the Purple Line. “They will have a detour set up for that too.”
Some area residents expressed concerns that they would lose much more than time stuck in traffic.
After the release of the MDOT Maryland Transit Administration’s (MDOT MTA) impact statement for the Purple Line in Aug. 2013, the MDOT MTA Real Estate unit acquired and vacated over 20 residential properties along Riverdale Road, including single-family dwellings, and help tenants to relocate. At Wednesday’s meeting, a member of the committee expressed her fears that the Ellin Road construction could leave residents like her in the same position.
Tim Pinkerton, construction manager from Fluor Corporation and lead presenter at the meeting, was quick to reassure concerned residents that their homes were in no danger.
“There will be no more houses to tear down,” said Pinkerton after the meeting. “That wasn’t part of my work. That’s MTA, and they made those arrangements.”
The next Purple Line CAT meeting, concerning the Lyttonsville section of the route, will take place Dec. 4 at Silver Spring’s Rosemary Hills Elementary School.