Construction Set To Begin on Purple Line Tunnel in Long Branch

Plus Lyttonsville Place Bridge to close in mid-June, street closures coming to downtown Silver Spring


Updated - June 5 - Purple Line construction in the Silver Spring area will be ramping up this summer.

Purple Line Transit Constructors, the team of companies building the light-rail line, announced Friday that excavation is scheduled to begin June 6 on the Plymouth Tunnel. The tunnel will extend from East Wayne Avenue to Arlis Street, about one third of a mile.

Crews are expected to work 24 hours a day during the week to excavate the tunnel, although no weekend work is planned, according to a Purple Line construction notice. John Undeland, a Purple Line spokesman, said blasting for the tunnel is expected to take six to nine months. He said blasting would only occur during the day and nearby residents will be notified about the planned blasts in advance. 

The light-rail line will extend from Bethesda to New Carrollton in Prince George’s County once it’s completed, which is expected to happen sometime in 2022.

Construction crews also plan to close the Lyttonsville Place bridge on or around June 18 to reconstruct the crossing with larger sidewalks and redesigned lanes to allow drivers to drop off passengers near the future Lyttonsville station. The bridge construction is estimated to take six months.

Purple Line Transit Partners has released the following “official detour” for Lyttonsville residents and others trying to navigate around the bridge closure:

Over the next six months, Purple Line crews also will begin work on the Silver Spring Transit Center station as well as utility work in downtown Silver Spring and along Wayne Avenue.

Crews will close the grassy area next to the transit center to pour foundations and begin building the rail and Capital Crescent Trail bridges over Colseville Road this summer and fall.

A portion of Bonifant Street is scheduled to close sometime in the fall of 2018 for utility work to take place. Utility and drainage work will also begin on Wayne Avenue east of downtown Silver Spring during the summer. Traffic lanes on the busy road will be reduced from four to two for the work and several parking lots at Silver Spring International Middle School will be closed and become work zones. The upper and lower parking lots at the school are expected to reopen by the beginning of the school year in September, according to meeting materials presented by Purple Line officials at a community advisory meeting on May 8.

Crews have also begun demolishing buildings at the former Spring Center shopping center on 16th Street just west of downtown Silver Spring where a Purple Line construction staging area will be located.

Purple Line crews are scheduled to work day shifts from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. and night shifts from 8 p.m. to 4:30 a.m. and lane closures are scheduled to take place from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., according to the meeting materials.

Correction: This article was corrected to note the tunnel will extend from East Wayne Avenue to Arliss Street. The original version said it would only extend to Plymouth Street.

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