Partial blockage of the Silver Spring Transit Center this week is a first taste of disruption to come from renewed Purple Line development there. State transportation officials say the most disruptive work on the light rail project in Silver Spring is still months away.
The county’s Department of Transportation recently announced that, due to construction of that project, the second level of the Transit Center is reduced to a single lane from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Monday to Friday. That restriction began Monday.
“This lane closure is anticipated to impact pedestrian access as well, due to the need for construction flag persons to cross,” according to a news release, which advised people with disabilities to use the first- or third-level entrances.
The Purple Line is a 16-mile, 21-station light-rail line that will connect high-traffic residential, business and commercial corridors from Bethesda to New Carrollton. After numerous setbacks, the project is slated to carry passengers by late 2026—a four-year delay from the initial timeline.
Along with the county DOT’s announcement, residents have had to deal with road closures and traffic impacts along the route in downtown Silver Spring. Much of Bonifant Street, both under the Bonifant and Dixon parking garage and east of Georgia Avenue, has been closed to vehicular traffic due to utility relocation and the preparation needed to lay rail down on the road.
According to a Purple Line news release, work along the route in Long Branch will begin around Feb. 6. The work will include stormwater drainage, curb, and roadway reconstruction on Arliss Street between Flower Avenue and Piney Branch Road. It will occur for roughly a year and take place from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on weekdays and weekends as needed.
“Access to parking lots and residential buildings will be maintained. Street parking in the work zone will be prohibited, please follow posted signage,” the news release stated.
David Abrams, a spokesman for the Purple Line project under the state’s Department of Transportation, wrote in an email that the temporary road closure on the second level of the Silver Spring Transit Center is needed to install formwork for the new Purple Line station.
After that, rebar and concrete placement will follow, he added.
Later this month, work will begin on the station at Brig. Gen. Charles A. McGee Library in Silver Spring, and a work zone will be established, Abrams said. Much of the current work in downtown Silver Spring will continue in the coming months before the more intensive work of laying track, he said.
“Georgia Avenue, Wayne Avenue and Bonifant Street will continue to be busy locations for Purple Line construction for the foreseeable future as we complete utility relocations and perform other work necessary in advance of any track being installed,” Abrams wrote. “Many traffic conditions will remain for the next two years, including single-lane access on Wayne Avenue between Sligo Creek Parkway and Fenton Street, and Bonifant Street between Fenton Street and Georgia Avenue.”
There also will be community advisory meetings for neighborhoods along the route in February. More information about those virtual meetings can be found on the Purple Line website.