- Managers of Maryland’s Purple Line announced Friday that they’ve picked Maryland Transit Solutions (MTS), composed of Dragados USA and OHL USA, to finish and operate the long-delayed light rail system in the Washington, D.C., suburbs.
- The chosen design-build contractors are U.S. branches of major Spanish construction firms. They beat out a Tutor-Perini and Lunda joint venture, according to a press release shared with Construction Dive, while a third shortlisted team, Halmar International, opted not to submit a proposal.
- Construction is expected to resume next spring on the 16.2-mile, 21-station Purple Line, which will eventually connect Prince George’s and Montgomery counties in Maryland and link to Metro, MARC and Amtrak rail lines.
The Purple Line has been under construction since 2017 and was first slated to start carrying passengers by March 2022. The previous contractor — a joint venture composed of Fluor, Lane Construction and Traylor Bros. — quit last year following disputes with the state over who should pay for the nearly $800 million in cost overruns. Maryland eventually agreed to pay a $250 million settlement.
Purple Line Transit Partners (PLTP), which is managing the project under a public-private agreement with state transportation authorities, launched the search for a replacement in January.
Dragados helped build the Los Angeles International Airport Automated People Mover and three Canadian light rail projects, while OHL has more than a century of infrastructure experience. Their proposal offered the best value, according to the release.
“We’re very excited to bring on MTS so the Purple Line can begin serving the people of Maryland as soon as possible,” said Jane Garvey, chair of the PLTP Board of Directors, in the release. “In their proposal, discussions and oral presentation, MTS showed they possess all the right qualities — thorough knowledge of the project, across-the- board expertise and a demonstrated spirit of partnership — to get the job done efficiently and with excellence.”
Next steps in the process include finalizing contracts as PLTP works to secure financing. The new plan, with updated project costs and timeline for opening, will go before the Maryland Board of Public Works (BPW) for approval in February 2022. With a green light from BPW, full-scale construction can resume. The state has taken over day-to-day operations of the project and kept some work moving forward in the interim.
“I’m excited to partner with Maryland Transit Solutions to move full speed ahead with construction and delivery of this regionally important project,” said MDOT Secretary Greg Slater in the release. “I want to thank everyone for their continued patience as we work hard to get the Purple Line back on track.