The Lyttonsville Place bridge Credit: Google Maps Streetview

Purple Line officials said this week they plan to close the Lyttonsville Place bridge this summer so it can be rebuilt over six months as part of the construction of the 16.2-mile light-rail line.

The bridge passes over the former Georgetown Branch Trail near Rosemary-Hills Lyttonsville Local Park and connects the neighborhood to Brookville Road.

The closure will leave the Lyttonsville community in Silver Spring, which is nestled between East West Highway, the trail right-of-way and CSX train tracks, with few options for entering and exiting the community. This issue was a point of contention for residents at a Tuesday night community advisory team meeting at Rosemary Hills Elementary School, according to Fred Craig, CEO of Purple Line Transit Partners, the team of companies building the line that will run from Bethesda to New Carrollton.

He said some residents requested that Purple Line officials stage construction on the bridge to allow one side to be used while the other is demolished and then reconstructed. However, Craig said construction officials determined it would be safer and more cost effective to close the bridge, demolish it and build a new one.

“We’re trying to do this as fast as we can and limit as much as we can the public’s exposure to potential safety hazards,” Craig said.

Montgomery County officials previously closed one of the neighborhood’s other outlets—the Talbot Avenue Bridge—in May 2017 after it failed a structural inspection. Purple Line crews are scheduled to reconstruct that bridge in 2019.

The county is trying to acquire use of a right-of-way from a private property owner to connect Stewart Avenue to Kansas Avenue in the neighborhood. This would enable residents to continue to access Brookville Road—an important artery that drivers use to reach Georgia Avenue and eventually the Capital Beltway in Silver Spring. Stewart Avenue currently dead ends just before it reaches Kansas Avenue in Lyttonsville.

Image via Purple Line Transit Partners

However, Craig said some residents near Kansas Avenue expressed concerns at the community meeting that their streets would be overwhelmed with traffic if that change was implemented. As a result, officials are still considering the option.

For now, officials have put forth  a detour route that would largely use East West Highway to provide connections to Lyttonsville while the Lyttonsville Place bridge is being replaced.

Proposed detour routes, click to expand, via Purple Line Transit Partners

At the community meeting, officials also presented preliminary information about other projects expected to impact the western Silver Spring area. The Spring Street bridge, a highly trafficked connection between 16th Street and downtown Silver Spring that takes drivers over the CSX tracks that run behind the former Spring Center shopping center, will be closed in 2020 for demolition and reconstruction, according to the presentation. Craig said Thursday he didn’t have additional information about that project.

Also, demolition of Spring Center buildings on 16th Street, except for the one housing a U.S. Postal Service office, will take place this summer. Purple Line Transit Partners intends to use that site to stage construction vehicles that will be used to build the light-rail line in the area.

The 16th Street post office is scheduled to move to the Silver Spring Library later this summer.

Other work scheduled to take place between this spring and September 2018 in the Lyttonsville area includes removing and rebuilding the Rock Creek trail bridge, relocating utilities and beginning construction on the Lyttonsville rail maintenance yard and station.

CATS Greater Lyttonsville Woodside Meeting #2 Presentation- 4.3.18