Details about what residents and motorists in Montgomery and Prince George’s counties will see, hear and feel as Purple Line construction revs up have been few and far between. But during a meeting with the Montgomery County Council on Sept. 28, project officials provided some answers.
Here they are.
Q: When will construction take place?
A: Crews are now working Monday through Friday, from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. However, there could be some night and weekend work. The public will be given advance notice when that happens.
Q: How can the public find out when and where construction will take place, including work that will require lane closures and affect traffic?
A: People can sign up to receive construction notices via the project website. Click on the “construction” tab. The project hotline is 240-424-5325.
Q: How will the Maryland Transit Administration hold the contractor accountable for construction noise and dust?
A: The contractor, Purple Line Transit Partners, is eligible for financial incentives if workers stay within certain maximum levels for noise and dust. If those levels are violated, the state could reduce the amount of incentive paid.
Q: What will the Georgetown Branch Trail look like after it’s rebuilt along the Purple Line tracks?
A: The trail will be 12 feet wide with two-foot shoulders, and a fence will separate it from the train tracks. The trail will have lighting at entrances and underpasses.
Q: Will the trail get any new trees to replace those being cut down?
A: Large trees could obstruct the overhead catenary wires that will power the Purple Line trains, which will run adjacent to the trail. Project officials are finalizing landscaping plans to determine where trees can be replaced.
Q: When will blasting occur, particularly to build a tunnel between Wayne Avenue and Arliss Street in the Long Branch area of eastern Silver Spring?
A: Blasting will be done during the day and “very rarely” at night or on weekends.
Q: Once construction is finished, what will be done to limit noise from trains?
A: The light-rail vehicles will have “skirts” over their wheels to limit noise. Four-foot sound walls also will be built in areas where trains run close to homes, particularly along the Georgetown Branch Trail that runs behind back fences between downtown Bethesda and Silver Spring. Project officials said they don’t anticipate any “wheel squeal,” but any problems could be addressed through the trains’ operations.
Q: When will Purple Line trains run?
A: The light-rail train schedules will coincide with Metro’s operating hours. At this point, Purple Line trains are scheduled to run from 5 a.m. to midnight. Trains will run every 7 1/2 minutes during the morning and evening rush and every 10 to 15 minutes during off-peak hours.