The Maryland Transit Administration has completed construction of the Takoma-Langley Crossroads Transit Center and has transferred the facility to Metro. The project is a year behind schedule but is expected to open this fall. (Marvin Joseph/The Washington Post)

The opening of a long-delayed transit center in Langley Park, the Washington region’s busiest bus-only transfer point, is planned for this fall.

Construction of the $34.8 million facility was completed this summer, and Metro has signed a lease and operations agreement, officially taking over the facility from the Maryland Transit Administration, which managed the construction.

Metro and the MTA are still negotiating over a number of items that need to be fixed, including problems with the electrical connections and the drainage system, according to transportation officials familiar with the project. Metro wants those issues resolved before launching operations.

The fixes are expected to be completed in the next few weeks, officials say, and Metro could be training buses at the site by the end of this month.

“We are very, very close to there actually being passengers passing through the center,” said Metro board member Malcolm Augustine, who represents Prince George’s County.

The center is expected to improve traffic and pedestrian safety at the intersection of University Boulevard and New Hampshire Avenue in northwestern Prince George’s, known as a dangerous crossing for pedestrians. (Marvin Joseph/The Washington Post)

The opening will fulfill a decade-long vision for a central station for buses at one of Maryland’s busiest intersections.

A project of the Maryland Transit Administration, the center is expected to improve traffic and pedestrian safety at the intersection of University Boulevard and New Hampshire Avenue in northwestern Prince George’s, known as a dangerous crossing for pedestrians. The center will be a hub where commuters can transfer instead of having to cross six-lane roads to catch their buses.

The transit center also is expected to be a future stop for the Purple Line, the proposed light-rail line connecting Prince George’s and Montgomery counties.

“It is a real improvement for those thousands of riders that go there everyday,” said Montgomery County Council member Tom Hucker (D-Eastern County), who represents an area adjacent to the facility. “In terms of equity, it represents a long-overdue investment.”

After the pending fixes are made, Metro plans to spend a few weeks completing preparations for operations, training drivers and notifying riders of associated service ­changes. Bus stops at various corners in the vicinity will be relocated to the transit center, where as many as 60 buses will go in and out every hour.

Metro says an opening date has not been decided, but some officials say the expectation is that the center will open by the end of October or early November.

The project is already a year behind schedule. Maryland transportation officials had said in early 2015 that construction was near completion and that the facility would open last fall.

Officials blamed the delays on weather and setbacks with utilities, including getting Washington Gas to relocate a gas main. MTA spokeswoman Sandy Arnette said the delays did not affect the project’s budget.

With 12 bus bays, the Takoma-Langley Crossroads Transit Center will be a hub for Metrobus, Ride On, TheBus and University of Maryland shuttles, serving as many as 12,000 commuters daily on the Prince George’s-Montgomery line.

It was built with accessibility features, lighting and public bathrooms. And it offers passengers shelter from bad weather.

Last week, workers tackled electrical issues, and some construction equipment remained at the still-fenced site.

In response to rumors that the opening could be postponed until next year, officials in Montgomery and Prince George’s said they expect no further delays, urging Maryland and Metro to resolve any pending issues with the construction.

“We need to move forward with this. We can’t stall this project any longer,” said Prince George’s County Council member Deni Taveras (D-Adelphi), who represents the Langley Park area. “Whatever needs to be resolved, let’s get it resolved so that we can move forward and open up this transit center so that we can provide a more concentrated service to our community.”

She said the expectation is that any issues will be ironed out by October.

Erwin Mack, 84, a Takoma Park resident and former chairman of the Montgomery County Pedestrian, Bicycle and Traffic Safety Advisory Committee, said the area is ready for the consolidation of buses at one site, which he said would make it easier for riders to make transfers.

“The lights are on at night. Fence is completely around the facility. The University Boulevard is prepared for the buses to enter, but no buses are going in,” he said. “It looks good. It is a fine piece of work, just got to get it operational.”

The project was delayed for years while the state negotiated the acquisition of the 1.2 acres of land it needed. After five years of negotiations, and an effort by the state to acquire the land through eminent domain, a settlement with the landowner was reached in 2013.

During that time, the cost of the project grew. In 2006, the price tag was estimated at $12.31 million. In recent years, that number went from $31 million, a pre-bid price based on the engineer’s estimate, to the final cost of $34.8 million. The total cost includes planning, design, real estate and construction, state transportation officials said.

Although the project has had its setbacks, they appear minor compared with the ones that stalled the massive Silver Spring Transit Center just a few miles away. That transit hub, which opened almost a year ago, was several years late and $50 million over budget.

The Langley Park project was funded with federal grants and with money from Metro, Maryland, and Prince George’s and Montgomery counties. According to Metro, the annual operational cost is estimated to be $1.6 million, including staffing and maintaining the facility. The agency is in the process of hiring a service operations manager for the center.

Once it opens, Mack said, more pedestrian safety efforts will be needed to protect people crossing the major intersection to get to the transit center.

“It is a good thing. It was needed. I am glad it’s built,” he said. “There are still some challenges on how to operate it.”