- The joint venture building the $5.6 billion Purple Line in Maryland’s Washington, D.C., suburbs has stopped construction, seemingly proceeding with plans to quit the light-rail project over $800 million in disputed cost overruns, according to The Washington Post.
- The remaining 16 miles of unfinished construction includes tunnels and roadways through Prince George’s and Montgomery counties.
- A spokeswoman for Purple Line Transit Partners said the joint venture plans to announce a schedule for its departure in the coming weeks. Maryland transportation officials will take over day-to-day management of the project, WTOP reported.
According to the Post, the state will be looking for another contractor to finish the project. In the meantime, it will approach subcontractors to continue work as the next step for the project, which has been plagued with setbacks and lawsuits. The transition from PLTP — made up of Fluor, Lane Construction and Traylor Bros. — to the subcontractors could happen as early as next week.
Maryland transit officials had been trying to reach an agreement with PLTP over the $800 million in cost overruns. PLTP’s departure, combined with transit officials announcing intent to take over the project, indicates the 36-year public-private partnership could be kaput.
On June 23, PLTP formally notified the Maryland Transit Authority and Maryland Department of Transportation of its intent to terminate the partnership in 60 days, citing the cost overruns as the reason.
In August, Baltimore Circuit Court Judge Jeffrey M. Geller filed a temporary restraining order that prevented PLTP from walking off the project. Then, on Sept. 10, Geller ruled that the joint venture could quit over the cost overrun dispute, though transit officials could attempt to salvage the partnership.
After three years of disputes about the overruns, PLTP’s departure could potentially add one to two years to the Purple Line’s completion. The original completion date was March 2022.