As Construction Ramps Up on Purple Line, Police Say Vandalism and Other Incidents Continue
Heavy construction equipment and trail barriers have been damaged; Purple Line contractor releases preliminary construction schedule
A trail barrier removed from a trail entrance near Grubb Road in Silver Spring on Sept. 27
As Purple Line crews ramp up their efforts to clear trees and stage equipment to construct the light-rail line, Montgomery County police say they’re continuing to deal with ongoing problems such as trespassing and vandalism.
Capt. Paul Liquorie, the new commander of the 2nd Police District headquartered in Bethesda, said police investigated seven complaints along the former Georgetown Branch Trail. He said four involved damage to barriers or signs that block access to the trail and three were for vandalism or theft from heavy construction equipment working along the trail.
Police charged one person with vandalizing a fence to enter the trail on Oct. 11.
Liquorie said a charge of vandalizing more than $1,000 worth of property carries a fine up to $2,500 and up to three years in prison. Vandalism of less than $1,000 is subject to a fine of up to $500 and 60 days incarceration.
He also said people are continuing to trespass on the trail, which has been closed since early September due to the start of construction on the 16.2-mile light-rail line. Once completed, the line will stretch from Bethesda to New Carrollton in Prince George’s County.
Purple Line route via Maryland Transit Administration. Click to expand
“What may be causing this is that the public doesn’t see a lot of activity along the trail right now,” Liquorie said Monday. “The public may not see ongoing activity, but it can start and continue at any moment. Heavy construction equipment is flowing in there and the tree work has begun. Barriers have been put in place there for the public’s safety and when people are moving and damaging them, that’s an ongoing concern.”
Liquorie said Purple Line Transit Partners, the state contractor building the project, has hired off-duty police officers to patrol the trail, which stretches from downtown Bethesda to the outer edge of downtown Silver Spring. He said police will tailor their patrol efforts to focus on vandalism incidents.
Purple Line Transit Partners is ramping up its construction process in the Bethesda and Silver Spring areas.
At a project Community Advisory Team meeting this month, the contractor shared a general construction schedule for the part of the light-rail line that extends from Bethesda to Silver Spring.
Current work includes excavation under the Apex Building on Wisconsin Avenue to build the Bethesda station, as well as tree cutting and site preparation on the former trail. Over the next six months, crews will begin utility work on Pearl Street, Sleaford Road, Connecticut Avenue and Jones Mill Road and begin excavation and installing walls along the route from Bethesda to Rock Creek. Crews also plan to work on the Jones Mill underpass.
Purple Line Transit Partners is constructing the estimated $2 billion light-rail line under a $5.6 billion, 36-year contract with the state that will fund the contractor for maintaining and operating the light-rail line after it’s completed.
The contractor has published a long-term schedule for the project in the area:
On Wednesday, Purple Line Transit Partners provided Bethesda Beat with a planned road closure schedule for work along the entire line:
Anticipated road closures for the construction of the Purple Line
All dates are subject to change. The following information is being published in full from text provided by Purple Line Transit Partners, with minor edits for clarity by Bethesda Beat:
1. Elm Street is closed near Wisconsin Avenue to excavate and construct the Bethesda Station South Entrance.
2. There is a construction entrance at Woodmont Plaza that is used to access the alignment. Trucks will be entering and exiting through this area during periods of construction. This is the site of a station with construction traffic. – after January 2019 through 2020.
3. There is a construction entrance off of Montgomery Avenue that will be generating truck traffic. Short-term closures may be required for utility work and TPSS work. – 2019 and 2020
4. There is a construction entrance off of East West Highway that will require lane closures to access safely and is a main construction entrance. – present through 2020.
5. Connecticut Avenue will require night-time closures for the Capital Crescent Trail and PL track bridge construction over Connecticut Ave and utility work. This is a construction entrance location. There is a station at this location and will have the associated heavy construction. There is also interface required for construction by developers in this area both north and south of the alignment. – Spring 2018 through 2020
6. Jones Mill Road at the Georgetown Branch Trail (GBT) will be have short-term closures for work with utilities and median islands. It is a main construction entrance and there will be truck traffic. At one point, there is a full closure in a summer month for Jones Mill Road bridge construction over the PL tracks. Traffic will be detoured. Pedestrians and bicyclists are maintained during the closure. – 2018 through 2020
7. There will be intermittent closure of the Rock Creek trail during clearing of trees, bridge demolition, superstructure erection and reconstruction of the trail under the bridges over rock creek. – 2017 through 2020
8. Grubb Road will be a construction entrance. There will be truck traffic. – Fall 2017 through 2020
9. Brookville Road – There is a construction entrance in the Montgomery County Depot. There will be truck traffic. Two lanes will be maintained during construction. – Fall 2017 through 2020
10. Lyttonsville Road bridge over the GBT and Talbot Avenue bridge over the CSX tracks will be closed for bridge reconstruction. Traffic will be detoured. This is also the site of the OMF facility and station. There will be a lot of construction activity here. – early 2018 through 2020
11. Stewart Street will require a full closure due to storm water and utility work. We are working with a concept to re-route Stewart traffic down Talbot Street to Kansas Street. This will require coordinating with affected businesses. – 2018-2019
12. Talbot bridge is currently closed. This will remain closed until the bridge is constructed. Due to access constraints, there will be impacts along Talbot Street for utility work, retaining wall construction and of course the bridge. On the other side of the tracks, there will be impacts to 4th Avenue. 4th Avenue is a very narrow street and will have intermittent closures and no on street parking during construction. Grace Church Road and Hanover Street are very narrow streets that provide access to 4th Avenue and may have no one street parking intermittently to get equipment into 4th Avenue. – Summer 2018 through Winter 2018
13. Elkhart Street and Lyttonsville Road will be impacted with trail construction for intermittent periods. – 2018-2020
14. Spring Street bridge (At 16th Street) will be closed for bridge reconstruction. Traffic will be detoured. – 2019-2020
15. Noyes, 3rd Avenue and associated streets will be impacted due to trail and utility relocations. – 2018-2020
16. 16th Street will be impacted as it is an access point to the mainline trail. There is also a retaining wall, side walk reconstruction, and utility work, especially near 8600 16th street apartments. 16th Street strip mall will be the main yard with truck traffic. This is also the site of a station with associated construction work. – late 2017 through 2020
17. 2nd Avenue will be an access road with impacts at the ends of Apple and Fenwick Streets at the trail. – Spring 2018 to 2020
18. We will be doing manicured demolition and reconstruction at the Falkland apartments. There will be impacts to parking and construction traffic in and out of this facility. – 2018-2020
6. Silver Spring Transit Center (SSTC) and Colesville Road – outside lane closures to construct the Capital Crescent Trail and Purple Line track bridges over Colesville Road. Short-term night-time and weekend closures will occur to erect bridge beams and deck. These short term closures will impact transit bus ingress/egress to the SSTC.
7. Bonifant Street from SSTC to Georgia Avenue will be closed for construction. Bonifant Street from Georgia Avenue to Fenton Street will be one lane. There will be lane closures and lane shifts on Georgia Avenue to reconstruct the intersection at Bonifant Street.
8. Wayne Avenue – 2 lanes will be maintained from Fenton Street to the Plymouth Tunnel west portal. Sligo Creek bridge will be constructed in phases to maintain traffic during construction.
19. Silver Spring Transit Center (SSTC) and Colesville Road – outside lane closures to construct the Capital Crescent Trail and PL track bridges over Colesville Road. Short-term night-time and weekend closures will occur to erect bridge beams and deck. These short-term closures will impact transit bus ingress/egress to the SSTC. This will also impact East West Highway. This will also impact Einstein Bagels and Starbucks during bridge erection. This will also impact the Metro entrances. – Early 2018 through 2020
20. Bonifant Street from SSTC to Georgia Avenue will be closed for construction. Bonifant Street from Georgia Avenue to Fenton Street will be one lane. – Spring 2018 to 2019
21. There will be intermittent closures to Dixon Street at Bonifant Street for construction. – Spring 2018 to 2019
22. There will be lane closures and lane shifts on Georgia Avenue to reconstruct the intersection at Bonifant Street from Wayne to Ripley Streets
23. Bonifant Street between Georgia and Fenton will be reduced to one-way traffic for construction and final configuration
24. Wayne and Fenton will be closed for a long weekend for the construction of the track alignment. There will be night closures for utility and road work including curb, gutter and sidewalks. – Spring 2018 to 2020
25. Wayne Avenue – 2 lanes will be maintained from Fenton Street to the Plymouth Tunnel west portal. Sligo Creek bridge will be constructed in phases to maintain traffic during construction. Construction starts and will conclude in 2020
9. Plymouth Street will be closed for the construction of the Plymouth Tunnel – Nov. 2017 through Spring 2021
10. Arliss Street will be closed for the construction of the Plymouth Tunnel east portal – Nov. 2017 through Spring 2021
11. Piney Branch Road will be constructed in phases to maintain a 4-lane roadway. In order to construct the PL tracks at the intersection of Arliss Street, this section of Piney Branch Road will become a 2-lane roadway. – Spring 2020 through Summer 2012
12. University Blvd. will be constructed in phases to maintain a 4-lane roadway at all times. Certain construction sequence will require left turn lanes on University Blvd. at New Hampshire Ave. and Riggs Rd. to be closed. There will be lane closures and lane shifts on New Hampshire Ave. and Riggs Rd. to reconstruct these intersections. University bridge over Northwest Branch will be constructed in phases to maintain traffic. – Spring 2018 through Spring 2020
College Park/M Square
13. Campus Drive will be constructed in phases to maintain a 2-lane roadway from University Blvd. to Presidential Dr. Campus Drive on campus proper will be a phased 1-lane roadway for westbound and eastbound traffic with a potentials for full closures in off peak months. – Fall 2018 through Spring 2020
14. Rossborough Lane will be closed in segments. There will be lane closures and lane shifts on Baltimore Ave. to reconstruct this intersection. – Spring 2019 through Fall 2019
15. Campus Drive will be constructed in phases to maintain a 2-lane roadway. There will be a full closure in order to lower the Campus Drive roadway underneath the CSX bridge near College Park Metro Station. – Spring 2018 through Spring 2020
16. Kenilworth Avenue will be constructed in phases to maintain a 4-lane roadway. Kenilworth Avenue and East West Highway intersection will require short term night-time closures to construct the PL track bridge. – Fall 2018 through Summer 2021
17. BW Parkway main lanes will require temporary bridges over East West Highway to maintain traffic at all times for the construction of the PL track crossing underneath the existing BW Parkway main lanes. – Fall 2018 through Summer 2022
18. Veterans Pkwy – eastbound lane/shoulder closure for the PL track construction. Two lanes of traffic shall be maintained. There will be lane closures and lane shifts on Annapolis Rd. to reconstruct this intersection. – Spring 2018 through Spring 2020
19. Ellin Road will be closed in segment for construction. This will allow access to be maintained to residence at Hanson Oaks Drive. – Fall 2018 through Summer 2019