September 11, 2012

Valley Metro accelerates light rail extension by 7 years

Valley Metro’s (Metro) construction of light rail is back on the move in Phoenix, with the re-launch of the Northwest extension along 19th Ave. from the current end-of-line north 3.2 miles to Dunlap Avenue.  The project has received approval to accelerate the completion year from 2023 to 2016.  Final design is under way; construction will begin in early 2013.

Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton says many in the city have been looking forward to the project beginning again. “Speaking on behalf of the residents and passengers, I know there is much anticipation to add light rail service to the highly-used bus service along this route. This project is an investment in the community I believe in and will prove to be a great benefit with its completion.”

The Northwest extension was initially set to open this year; however, in 2009, the economic downturn and decline in local sales tax revenue forced the project on hold. With its postponement, the project was pushed out to a 2023 completion year. The positive strides in the economy, expected boost from the building of this extension and local willpower have helped to advance it by seven years.

This project is one of six high-capacity/light rail extensions being planned for or in active construction in the metro Phoenix region. It will extend rail service farther north into Phoenix, capturing new riders, serving high-density neighborhoods and getting closer to the Interstate 17 freeway and its employment centers.

“It’s an exciting time as we further expand into Phoenix, providing our customers with greater access to transit and choice in how they travel,” said Valley Metro CEO Steve Banta. “It is another step in building a multi-modal Total Transit Network that supports regional growth, mobility and quality of life.”

Metro is in process of re-energizing contracts with the Northwest extension designer, AECOM, and contractor, Sundt/Stacy Witbeck. AECOM will work through the spring to update and complete design; Sundt/Stacy Witbeck will break ground with utility relocation at the first of the year.

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