By Zamir Courtney
College Park residents may see the Purple Line sooner than they think. Despite many delays, construction is continuing while parties negotiate the terms of additional funding, according to Maryland State Sen. Jim Rosapepe (District 21).
“This is a normal contract dispute; this is just huge because it involves the Purple Line,” Rosapepe said. He added that Maryland Department of Transportation (MDOT) is applying pressure to ensure an agreement is reached.
Gregory Slater, MDOT transportation secretary, provided brief updates about the line during a Prince George’s County Council meeting on June 16.
Slater told councilmembers that he has been in daily conversations with contractors, and discussions have been productive. He added that both sides are taking the time to understand each other’s viewpoints and added that they are working on “the best way to resolve and solve the issues so that we are not back here, and [so we are] continuing to make progress.”
Prince George’s County Councilmember Dannielle Glaros (District 3) expressed concern that the project is moving forward slowly and believes that the state needs to take action. “At the end of the day, the state needs to step up and has got to address this and must, in my opinion, keep this project moving,” Glaros said during the meeting.
The deadline for an agreement to determine who will pay additional costs of the project is June 20.
Rosapepe commented on the dispute, saying it is mainly about financial matters rather than issues related to construction.
“It will get built,” he said. “It’s a little later than we hoped, but we are very focused on making sure this dispute does not delay the line any further.”
Construction of the line is about 40% complete. According to state officials, the line is slated to open in two phases. The first phase is scheduled for late 2022 and will include six operational stations from New Carrollton to College Park. The remaining stations will open during phase two, with the line fully operational by mid-2023, according to purplelinemd.com.
Community Advisory Teams (CATs) are in place to establish communications with communities around the project’s construction zones, and information updates can be found on purplelinemd.com.
Recent posts by the University Boulevard CAT report that traffic on the Northwest Branch Bridge is currently redirecting to the southern side of University Boulevard East. This phase one traffic shift is due to end in August. Phase two is expected to begin this summer and shift traffic to the northern side of University Boulevard East. This shift will be in place for about a year.
Traffic patterns will change, as necessary, for the duration of the project. To receive notices on closures, go topurplelinemd.com.