Purple Line Blasting Causing Delays at Bethesda Metro Station

Purple Line Blasting Causing Delays at Bethesda Metro Station

Trains holding after controlled explosions to allow inspections of rails

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File photo

Some Red Line Metro trains have been holding for five-minute intervals at the Bethesda station this month while blasting work is done for an elevator shaft needed for a Purple Line light rail station at 7450 Wisconsin Ave.

Construction on the Purple Line, a 16-mile light rail line that will connect Bethesda with New Carrollton in Prince George’s County, has been delayed by about a year and is facing cost overruns.

Construction crews have been blasting at the Bethesda site between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. for a shaft for six high-speed elevators that will connect the Purple Line station with the Metro station.

Metro spokesman Ian Jannetta wrote in an email that Red Line trains are holding for no more than five minutes between morning and evening rush hour.

“After a scheduled blast, Metro conducts track inspections in the area before resuming regular service,” he wrote.

John Undeland, a spokesman for Purple Line Transit Partners, a public-private partnership that is managing the project, said his organization coordinates blasting with the transit agency.

“The train-hold procedures are WMATA’s and they’re handling the impact on their riders,” Undeland wrote in an email, referring to Metro’s parent agency, the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority.

Undeland said 97 feet of the 140-foot elevator shaft had been dug as of Monday afternoon.

Service on the Purple Line is expected to start in March 2023.

Dan Schere can be reached at Daniel.schere@bethesdamagazine.com

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