2021 | Transit

Three design-build contractors short-listed to finish Purple Line

Final choice expected in June

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Three design-build contractors have been short-listed to finish the Purple Line light-rail project, following months of legal feuding and litigation over cost overruns and delays.

On Wednesday morning, Purple Line Transit Partners (PLTP), the private partner of the project, announced the contractors who were narrowed down for the job:
● Halmar International
● Maryland Transit Solutions (made up of Dragados USA Inc. and OHL USA Inc.)
● Tutor-Perini/Lunda, a joint venture

The three teams will compete to be the contractor to finish designing and building the 16-mile, 21-station Purple Line, which will stretch from Bethesda to New Carrollton.

The candidates were chosen out of five that expressed interest.

“PLTP short-listing three qualified firms represents the next step in moving the Purple Line forward,” Greg Slater, the secretary of the Maryland Department of Transportation, said in a press release. “MDOT is committed to successfully delivering this important transit project for the citizens of Maryland, and we appreciate PLTP’s continued partnership to make this a reality.”

The request for proposals will be issued in mid-March. A contractor will be chosen in June before a financial agreement is finished in September.

“Collaborating closely with our MDOT and MTA (Maryland Transit Administration) partners, we look forward to rapidly bringing on a new contractor and resuming full-scale construction,” Jane Garvey, the chair of PLTP, said in the release.

In mid-December, the state approved a $250 million settlement over the litigation with the project’s contractors, ending years of disputes.

The project, which is being completed under a public-private partnership, previously had three companies involved: Meridiam, Star America and Fluor.

Contractors walked off the job in September after initially indicating they would abandon the project in May. Fluor, which was in charge of the line’s construction, exited the project, but Meridiam and Star America are still working with the state to complete the line.

While a new contractor is being selected, the interim construction period is continuing with work on completing designs, obtaining permits and completing utility relocations.

Slater has said that the revised project costs are not “fully known” until a new design-build contractor is in place, but PLTP will finance the additional project costs through debt and equity.

Briana Adhikusuma can be reached at briana.adhikusuma@bethesdamagazine.com.