State, Contractor to Choose Among Three Suitors for Purple Line Construction Work

A partially-completed bridge looms over Riverdale Park in Prince George’s County. It will eventually carry the Purple Line over Kenilworth Avenue near East-West Highway. Photo by Bruce DePuyt.

After losing its prime subcontractor in a dispute over cost-overruns, the consortium building the Purple Line is one step closer to finding a replacement.

Five construction companies expressed interest in picking up where Purple Line Transit Constructors left off when it quit the light rail project in September.

Purple Line Transit Partners, the Riverdale-based consortium responsible for the project, has deemed three of them qualified to submit a formal bid.

The decision was made in “close partnership” with the Maryland Department of Transportation and the Maryland Transit Administration, according to a joint statement released on Wednesday.

The three teams eligible to win the contract to finish the New Carrollton-to-Bethesda light rail line are:

  • Halmar International — Halmar is a large infrastructure firm based in Nanuet, N.Y., that has been involved in the design, construction, financing, operation and “technological innovation” for public-private transportation projects throughout North America. Halmar was part of the Accelerate MarylandExpress Partners consortium that made an unsuccessful bid for the I-495/I-270 project.
  • Maryland Transit Solutions, comprised of Dragados USA Inc. and OHL USA — Dragados USA, a large New York City-based road and bridge construction firm, was part of the Potomac Mobility Group, a consortium that expressed initial interest in the I-495/I-270 project but later declined to submit a bid. OHL USA is a New York firm whose global headquarters are in Madrid.
  • Tutor-Perini/Lunda — Tutor-Perini, based near Los Angeles, has done scores of massive highway, aviation, stadium, roads, bridges and transit projects. Lunda Construction Co. is a Wisconsin based firm company that specializes in bridge, railroad and industrial construction in the Midwest.

“Today we took an important step toward delivering the Purple Line to the Maryland public as soon as possible,” said Jane Garvey, chairman of Purple Line Transit Partners, in a statement. “Collaborating closely with our MDOT and MTA partners, we look forward to rapidly bringing on a new contractor and resuming full-scale construction.”

Transportation Secretary Greg Slater said his agency is “committed to successfully delivering this important transit project for the citizens of Maryland, and we appreciate PLTP’s continued partnership to make this a reality.”

The state took over day-to-day management of PLTC’s subcontracts when the firm quit the project last year, and work on the project is moving forward.

Nonetheless, MDOT and PLTP are eager to get a permanent replacement locked down as quickly as possible.

Purple Line Transit Partners will solicit formal proposals from the three firms deemed qualified in the next couple weeks, according to the news release. Bids will be due and the consortium will make its selection in June.

The state and the contractor hope to come to terms on a new contract in September, a year from when PLTC’s long stalemate with MDOT over cost-overruns ended up in court.

As recently as 2019, officials hoped to open the first segment of the Purple Line by late 2022. The project is not expected to begin operation until 2024 at the earliest.

[email protected]

Bruce DePuyt
Bruce DePuyt spent nearly three decades on local television, including 14 years as executive producer and host of News Talk on NewsChannel 8 in the Washington, D.C., area. He has served as reporter, anchor and producer/host of 21 This Week in Montgomery County and as reporter/anchor at NBC affiliate WVIR-TV in Charlottesville, VA. He's a regular contributor to WTOP (103.5 FM) and frequently moderates community and political events.