At Monday night’s focus-group meeting in downtown Silver Spring, project manager Mike Madden said a route along Sligo Avenue was no longer under consideration. That alignment would have carried the light-rail line at street level between Long Branch and the Silver Spring Transit Center.
Impacts on the community, as well as the cost of tunneling beneath East Silver Spring to avoid those impacts, dictated the alignment’s elimination, Madden told The Penguin.
Instead, a street-level alignment could snake south from the transit center, then eastward on Bonifant Street. The alignment would turn north on Fenton Street, then eastward on Wayne Avenue. (See map above.)
However, tunneling beneath Bonifant Street won’t be possible, Madden said. From its elevated station at the transit center, the Purple Line would not have enough distance to transition into a tunnel, he explained.
Tunneling would be likely if a proposed east-west route between Thayer and Silver Spring avenues is selected, said Joe Romanowski, a consulting engineer for the state.
However, that alignment would not burrow beneath the proposed Studio Plaza development off Georgia Avenue, Madden said. Instead, it would run beneath Silver Spring Avenue, then turn north near Fenton Street. (See map above.)
Tunneling is also likely if a route is selected from Silver Spring Avenue near Georgia Avenue, directly to Wayne Avenue near Cedar Street. The tunnel would be deep enough so as not to disturb homes or trees on the street surface, Madden said.