The College Park City Council has ended a protracted dispute on a Metro subway route by endorsing a revised plan for extending the system's long-delayed Green Line through the city.
The plan, approved unanimously Tuesday night, includes a series of measures to reduce noise from subway trains and other disruption in residential areas. The agreement, described as a compromise, resulted from more than a year of negotiations by College Park, Metro and Prince George's County officials.
"It looks like all the parts are finally coming together on the Green Line," said College Park Mayor Alvin J. Kushner. "All we've got to do is start building."
The Green Line, the only unopened line in the planned 103-mile Metro system, has long been a focus of concern among local and federal officials because of its delays. All major disputes over the Green Line's route now appear to have been settled, but prospects for financing construction remain uncertain.
Under Metro's plans, a rail station is to be built in College Park, the site of the University of Maryland's main campus, at a cost of more than $50 million. The station, planned at Calvert Road beside existing Baltimore & Ohio Railroad tracks east of U.S. 1, is scheduled to open in 1992.
Federal funds for constructing the Green Line's northeastern branch, which includes the College Park station, are to be provided under a Metro plan for expanding the rail system to 89.5 miles. Metro and federal officials recently began negotiations over a contract aimed at carrying out this proposal.
The revised College Park plan includes earthen embankments, berms and tunnel-like enclosures to reduce subway noise. The plan also calls for concrete sound barriers and landscaping. Tracks are to be shifted about 40 feet farther from one residential area, and a new site was chosen for a power facility.
In exchange for these measures, the College Park council dropped its earlier demands for putting a major section of the route underground. Prince George's officials had opposed the proposal, contending that additional tunnel construction would increase costs by $15 million.
Nevertheless, one controversial issue remains. Before building the College Park station, officials must construct an underpass, an overpass or a new roadway to replace Calvert Road, which is to be cut off by the subway project. Hearings on the issue are expected in the fall, officials said.
Plans for the Green Line's route through College Park have been embroiled in controversies since the 1970s. At one point, the City Council had pressed for shifting the proposed station's site. The recent negotiations followed a threat by the council to challenge Metro's plans in court. No lawsuit was filed.