It’s been nearly two years since construction came to a halt over disputes, but building is slated to resume, on the first “suburb to suburb” rail line in the Washington D.C. region. The work will cost Maryland about $1.4 billion more then initially planned, and the builders are confident they will achieve completion in 2026.
Vehicles In Search of Tracks
Perhaps a good omen for the Purple Line: 10-12 of the light rail vehicles being manufactured in Elmira New York are ready for shipment. If only the tracks and facilities were ready too….There is renewed confidence in the air though. As The Washington Post reports, new contract arrangements are getting the building back on track with completion slated for 2026. As Terry Gohde, the project manager for Maryland Transit Solutions, the new construction joint venture for the Purple Line is feeling confident about hitting that date. As he says: “We had a good deal of time during the…proposal phase to study and understand the project… To be totally honest, there are significant penalties to us to not finish on time. Those penalties exceed $200,000 a day for every day we’re late… As is very typical of any construction project, we don’t know everything that we don’t know…It’s the very nature of the beast … We’ll have the typical setbacks that will cause us to maybe accelerate activity in a certain area so that we can maintain the schedule.”
Work is anticipated to begin on the two ends of the project. These involve the Glenridge facility, yard and test track, and the cavern and elevator shaft in Bethesda needed to connect the Purple Line to the Red Line. Commuters of all kinds are likely to feel the pain during some of the construction but as Doran Bosso, the CEO of Purple Line Transit Partners says: “We’re excited about the positive economic and community benefits it’s going to have and [how it will] improve transportation in the region. Now we’re gearing up to deliver it, finally, to the people who have been so patient with us and have continued to support us over the years.”
No More Hurry Up and Wait
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Zippity Do Da?
Massive delays and cost overruns have previously plagued many of the rail and tunnel projects across the country—over decades. By studying the ups and downs of these ambitious efforts, UC Berkeley researchers have made recommendations toward speeding up future projects. Among the strategies for success reported by Construction Dive are:
- Break up the work into smaller contracts to increase flexibility, instead of one sprawling agreement. The Los Angeles Purple Line project was built on-time and on-budget with this method.
- Use a construction-manager-at-risk procurement method so builders can provide input on the design, like the successful Mid-Coast Corridor Trolley project used in San Diego.
- Consider advance utility relocation contracts to expedite utility-related work in tunneled areas and around stations.
Fast moving possibilities around the country currently include a high speed loop connecting downtown San Antonio to the San Antonio International Airport. As details are fine tuned, project estimates are approximated at $247-289 million. The East Coast is hoping to speed up travel too, with a superconducting magnetic levitation train on the I-95 corridor that could move passengers along at speeds of 311 miles per hour.
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Founded in 1930, Colonial Surety Company is a leading direct seller and writer of surety bonds and insurance products across the USA. Colonial is rated “A Excellent” by A.M. Best Company and U.S. Treasury listed.