Spanish team to take over work on Maryland’s troubled Purple Line

A Purple Line site in Silver Spring (Farragutful /CC BY 4.0)
Spanish construction companies Dragados and OHL have been chosen to complete work on a light rail line near ​​Washington, DC. The two will take over from a consortium led by Texas contractor Fluor that won the $3.3bn project in 2016, but which announced its exit from the job in May last year after delays and legal disputes over cost overruns.

The Purple Line project, which is located in the state of Maryland, is presently about half finished. When complete, it will run for 26km through the Washington suburbs of Bethesda, Silver Spring, College Par, and New Carrollton.

A consortium that included Fluor and Lane Construction was to design and build the line and then operate and maintain it for 36 years. It later reached a $250m agreement that settled outstanding claims and terminated all litigation.

The new plan is for the two companies, which are subsidiaries of ACS and OHLA, to take over in February next year, once it has gained the blessing of the Maryland Public Works department and financing arrangements have been agreed.

The Spanish team won a three-horse race with a joint venture made up of Tutor-Perini and Lunda Construction, and Halmar International.

Concession chair Jane Garvey said the team offered “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”.

Dragados is building the $2.4bn people-mover at Los Angeles International Airport and three light rail projects in Canada with a combined value of $5.5bn. OHL’s current US projects include the $370m South Corridor Bus Rapid Transit project in Miami Dade County, Florida.

  • Edited 17 November 2021 to clarify that Atkins had not been part of the original consortium. Atkins was the lead design firm under Fluor but will complete the project under the new contractor. A reference to the projected completion time was also removed

Image: A Purple Line site in Silver Spring (Farragutful/CC BY 4.0)

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