University Drops Campus Drive Alignment Opposition

The Washington Post is reporting that University has officially dropped its long opposition to the Campus Drive alignment to the Purple Line.  The debate has raged on since 2007 but in the end University officials have agreed with the steps MTA plan on taking to address their concerns.

Frank Brewer, the university’s vice president for administrative affairs, said Wednesday that the MTA had addressed those concerns.

“We wanted to make sure the university is not in MTA’s way in any way, shape or form to make the Purple Line happen,” Brewer said. “We’ve always wanted the Purple Line to come across campus. It was just a question of where.”

After meetings with university officials over the past year, the state agreed to bury part of a light rail system’s overhead electrical wiring on campus and to install equipment that would reduce electromagnetic interference in particularly sensitive nearby labs.

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5 thoughts on “University Drops Campus Drive Alignment Opposition”

  1. Typical. So if they can bury the cables there, why can’t they bury them along Wayne Ave?

    I would feel happier with this project if it was less a sop to developers and actually a well thought out transportation plan.

  2. Paul says: “Typical. So if they can bury the cables there, why can’t they bury them along Wayne Ave?”

    It is expensive to bury cables. The university has sensitive scientific equipment near Campus Drive that must be protected from electromagnetic interference from above ground power cables nearby. Campus Drive does not have any other utility power or telephone overhead wires now. Burying the cable on Campus Drive makes sense because it makes it possible for the Purple Line to take the Campus Drive route vs. the much costlier Prinkhert Drive route.

    Wayne Ave. already has overhead utility wires along its north side. The only benefit of burying the Purple line power cables along Wayne Ave. would be a very marginal improvement in appearance – the overhead Purple Line cables will be little more intrusive than all the wires already overhead there.

    Sorry, but you can’t make the case to bury the cable along Wayne, or along most of the rest of the alignment. Campus Drive is a special case.

  3. I’m assuming that the cables won’t actually be buried – how would they supply electricity to the train? They’re probably enclosed at ground level like the Metro system, which means that pretty picture of an open area attached to this article is likely a fallacy – there will have to be concrete barriers and a tall fence along both sides of the railway, just like Metro, so some moron doesn’t touch the third rail.

  4. Just for clarification, the burying of cables and the issue of electromagnetic interference (EMI) are independent. The EMI effect of a power source is a function of distance, not of whether it’s above or below ground. However, in order to reduce EMI on campus, which was a huge sticking point for the university, MTA has agreed to use a more complex power supply system on that stretch of track, which will go some way towards mitigating the EMI.

  5. The overhead cables will not be buried.

    The overhead wire is one side of the electric power circuit for the vehicle. On the other side, current goes through the steel wheel to the tracks, which are grounded. The electromagnetic interference issue (to the extent there is one) arises on the track side of the circuit. The concern is that current will flow from the tracks into the ground and then sideways into buildings.

    What they are going to do, in essence, is to put a bare wire in the ground beneath the tracks that completes the circuit and thereby draws in stray currents that might otherwise go out through the ground toward the side. It’s the same basic concept as a lightning rod. The implementation is more complex, and I am not familiar with the details, but that’s the idea.

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