We are only ONE DAY away from the newest RTD light rail line – and first FasTracks corridor – opening to the public! RTD will commemorate the completion of the corridor tomorrow morning at 10:30 at the Jefferson County Government Center/City of Golden Station.
Time for a quick summary – this light rail corridor has been in the works for years as RTD bought the right-of-way in the 1980s. Funded as part of the voter-approved FasTracks initiative in 2004, this 12.1-mile, $707 million corridor will add about 5,000 parking spaces to the RTD park-n-ride network. The picture below gives a look at how RTD’s new light rail network maps will help guide passengers.
DenverUrbanism (and DenverInfill) have been covering the construction of the West Rail Line for a few years and it’s very exciting to see it almost complete. We’ve given a rundown to each station detailing design aspects and layouts. The 12 (11 new, 1 relocated) stations are listed below. For other non-station related information (bridges, economic impacts, etc), check out this link.
Auraria West Station (existing, but realigned and relocated for the West Rail Line) – 5th & Walnut Streets (no parking provided)
Decatur-Federal Station – Federal Boulevard & Howard Street (1,900 spaces)
Knox Station – Knox Court & 12th Avenue (no parking provided)
Perry Station – Perry Street & 12th Avenue (no parking provided)
Sheridan Station – Sheridan Boulevard & 12th Avenue (800 spaces)
Lamar Station – Lamar Street & 13th Avenue (no parking provided)
Lakewood – Wadsworth Station – Wadsworth Boulevard & 13th Avenue (1,000 spaces)
Garrison Station – Garrison Street & 13th Avenue (no parking provided)
Oak Station – Oak Street & 13th Avenue (200 spaces)
Federal Center Station – Routt Street & 2nd Place (1,000 parking spaces)
Red Rocks College Station – 6th Avenue Frontage Road & Arbutus Drive (no parking provided)
Jefferson County Government Center/City of Golden Station – 6th Avenue & Johnson Road (705 parking spaces)
The West Rail Line was constructed by Denver Transit Construction Group (DTCG) and Balfour Beatty Rail, Inc. Swinerton Builders constructed the garages at both the Sheridan and Lakewood-Wadsworth Stations. I’ve mentioned the economic impacts of the corridor, but I believe they bear repeating. Especially in economic times like we are all in right now, public infrastructure projects such as the West Rail Line (and the rest of the FasTracks project) have a HUGE, positive, and lasting economic impact.
- Direct wages paid – $71,020,000
- Equipment, materials, and supplies – $98,131,000
- Subcontractors (60-98% hired locally) – $250,000,000
- West Rail Line construction provided employment to over 755 people
- 10 light rail bridges
- 3 street bridges (Decatur, Federal, and Sheridan)
- 2 light rail tunnels (Simms/Union and I-70)
- 4 pedestrian structures (3 bridges, 1 tunnel)
- 115 retaining walls with more than 10,000 feet of noise wall
- 20 at-grade crossings
- 9 miles of double-tracked (bi-directional) and 3 miles of single-tracked light rail
Everyone should check out the line this weekend – the weather will (finally) be great. The entire light rail system will be free Saturday with parties at most stations along the corridor throughout the day on Saturday. Click here for more information on station parties. For those who can’t make it out Saturday, take advantage of two free light rail tickets by liking RTD on Facebook. RTD has also finalized the schedules for the W Line – those can be found here.
It’s hard to believe that FasTracks was approved 8 1/2 years ago, but this is the first major project completed as part of that multi-billion dollar vote. RTD now has 81 miles of light rail and commuter rail either under construction or under contract, not to mention the work going on at Denver Union Station, the Commuter Rail Maintenance Facility, and US36. While the West Rail Line is huge in and of itself, it’s only one small piece of whats to come over the next three or four years throughout metro Denver.
Go west young man, go west.