Lots and lots of progress is being made along the East Rail Line between Union Station and DIA!
For those who haven’t been to the airport lately, you’re in for a shock. The elevator shafts for the new Westin Hotel are rising into the sky with only a few floors left to go. It looked like crews were working on the third or forth floors as well.
As for the new DIA Station, crews have laid the platforms and the canopy pieces are on-site. These pictures are a few days old, so they may have already moved some of them into place! It’s hard to get a picture from the road without the cops yelling, so I apologize for the picture. A few pieces of the rail station canopy cover are directly behind the wood bracing.
A lesser known, but albeit important, piece of the East Rail Line lies just south of the future DIA Station. Known as the “Triple Stack,” this tunnel/bridge combination will stack two modes of transportation into three levels – inbound and outbound East Rail Line trains, inbound west side terminal traffic as well as outbound east side terminal traffic. Two levels existed prior to the East Rail Line construction, but crews have been out digging the bottom layer for the trains. The pictures below don’t do it justice, but this was a complex piece of the project.
Also, keep in mind most of Peña Boulevard east of E-470 is a construction zone with speed limits dropped to 55 mph. Denver PD is notorious for clocking drivers along that segment of road, so give yourself a little extra time to avoid a speeding ticket and help keep construction crews safe.
It has been a while since our last East Rail Line update and a lot of progress has been made between Denver Union Station and Denver International Airport. In this post I will focus on the area around DIA where some of the most noticeable changes have occurred. Starting at the airport; the foundation, first level and two main piers of the South Terminal building have gone vertical. These two main piers will become the main structural components of the Westin Hotel and East Rail Line Terminus; Airport Station.
To either side of the South Terminal Redevelopment Project, construction of the bridges and ramps that will support the automobile and bus entrances and exits are also progressing. The east side bridge has been on hold as foundation work is underway below, but the bridges on the west side are nearing completion.
At the southern end of the construction site (below) is where the East Rail Line platform will soon be. Currently we can see the concrete forms that will become the foundation where the trains will arrive and depart from.
In the next few months we should see more levels of the South Terminal Redevelopment project completed, girders and decking installed for the five entry and exit ramps as well as the installation of the iconic canopy frame. For those of you interested in following the Denver International Airport South Terminal Redevelopment construction without going out to the airport, check out the new construction webcam set up above this area, as well as refer back to the construction sequence video posted by Ken back in February.
After leaving the airport, the approach to the first bridge, which spans a drainage swell, is complete and the adjacent bridge, which spans the airport automobile exit, is nearly complete with just a few last piers and girders to go.
Between the western runway and 79th Avenue (Rental Car Row) is the right-of-way where the East Rail Line will travel. In this area, crews are currently installing the Overhead Cantenary System (OCS) piers, the poles that will hold the electrical and communication cables, and compacting the ground in preparation for railroad tracks and ties.
The second major development along this segment is that the final girder for the bridge over Peña Boulevard is in place! The 1,953-foot bridge is one of the largest bridges along this line and has been in the works since last fall.
Since this bridge spans one of the busiest roadways in the the Denver area, Peña Boulevard, Denver Transit Partners has scheduled a number of overnight girder installations this spring where crews close Peña Boulevard down to a single lane and work into the early morning. Below is a link to a cool time-lapse video of the final girder being installed last weekend.
Forgive the lack of order in this update but, today we will take a look at the construction progress on the East Rail Line’s terminus at Denver International Airport (DIA). Construction crews have been very busy south of the main terminal preparing this area for one of this region’s most impressive construction projects. Hopefully you have had the opportunity to look over Ken’s post from last week - especially the construction sequence video at the end of the post that gives this update some reference.
Over the past few months, the majority of the work here has been focused on constructing the piers that will support the new automobile and bus entrance ramps on the west side of the terminal (the Level 5 bridge on the east side is also being reconstructed at this time). Construction of these piers is almost complete and over the next few months, we should see the girders installed and ramp roadways near completion.
The circulation system will remain the same once the project is complete. On the west side, cars and buses will approach from the south and exit on the north. The departure and arrival levels will also remain the same.
The most exciting development that we can now see are the first components of the train station and hotel’s foundation. The area that was used for construction staging and assembly has now gone vertical. Over the next few month crews will continue pouring the foundation and constructing the framework that will make up the first level of the South Terminal construction. This will become the ground level of the Westin Hotel and the future DIA Station, with access to downtown Denver and rest of the Denver metro area.
As with the rest of the East Rail Line, this spring and summer will bring a dramatic transformation at DIA. The completion of the ramps, first two levels of the future DIA Station, as well as installation of the canopy over the rail platforms is all scheduled for the next few months so keep checking back here for monthly updates or take a trip out to DIA to see it for yourself.
It’s been almost a year since we presented the renderings of the Gensler designs for Denver International Airport’s South Terminal Redevelopment Program, which includes three major elements: a new 500-room Westin hotel, an extension of the Jeppesen Terminal, and a new Public Transit Center for RTD’s East Line that will connect DIA with Union Station in Downtown Denver.
What I have for you today is not a construction update. Robert and Ryan are in charge of that department, and they have a bunch of blog posts on the East Line/DIA terminal construction in the works. Instead, I’m happy to offer a new batch of renderings of the DIA project, courtesy of my friends at Gensler. The images below are not significantly different from the ones we posted last year; rather, they reflect refinement of the design one would expect in a big project like this over the course of a year. With major construction fully underway, these renderings (and videos!) give us a clearer sense of what the final outcome of the South Terminal Redevelopment Program will be.
But before we begin, let’s be clear about one thing: the combination of RTD’s East Line rail transit, the Denver Union Station transit center, and DIA’s South Terminal Redevelopment Program represents one of our region’s most profound and strategic civic investments in a generation. Most cities across America would love to have any one of these three projects going on in their city. We’ve got the whole enchilada: a $2 billion trio of integrated infrastructure projects that competitively positions the Denver region for the next century. For a detailed discussion about the importance of these projects, check out our DenverUrbanism podcast from last November.
On to the renderings! As we like to do here at DenverUrbanism, all images are big and high resolution. Click to embiggen/zoom to enjoy at full size.
First, the South Terminal Redevelopment Program overview showing the Westin Hotel and the Public Transit Center generally viewed from the south looking north. You’ll notice that the train platforms have been shifted to the left (west) to accommodate an additional set of platforms for future transit lines yet undetermined:
Here are a few images showing the RTD train platform and Public Transit Center under the dramatic glass canopy:
Connecting the existing Jeppesen Terminal with the new Westin Hotel and Public Transit Center is a 60,000 square-foot public plaza on Level 5 designed to accommodate not only pedestrian traffic, but also exhibition space, restaurant patio seating, observation lounges, and other public amenities:
In the center of the plaza is a grand escalator that will transport travelers the four levels between the Public Transit Center level and the main floor of the Jeppesen Terminal:
The South Terminal Redevelopment Program also includes several additional elements, including a bus terminal and hotel porte-cochère on Level 1, a hotel conference center on Level 2, a new airport security area on Level 4, and hotel lobby and restaurant functions on Level 6:
Finally, here are two videos, courtesy of Denver International Airport and Gensler. This first one shows a flyover in and around the entire project:
and this second one shows an animation of the construction sequence for the project:
The Westin hotel will open in 2015 and the Public Transit Center, along with RTD’s East Line, will open in early 2016.