STV Celebrates Opening of Charlotte's LYNX Blue Line Extension
Apr 30, 2018
The Charlotte Area Transit System (CATS) inaugurated passenger service on the long-awaited LYNX Blue Line Extension (BLE), thanks to STV, a leading provider of design and construction management services for transportation infrastructure and facilities throughout North America.
The 9.3-mile extension of the LYNX Blue Line effectively doubles the length of the initial 9.6-mile light rail line running northeast from the 7th Street Station in Uptown to the University of North Carolina’s Charlotte campus. STV provided planning and design services along five miles of the original LYNX Blue Line running from the Interstate 485/South Boulevard terminus through Center City to 7th Street.
STV developed planning for the final alignment of the extension’s route and provided the necessary environmental assessments needed for regulatory review and approvals for the $1.16 billion project. The firm designed all 11 stations, 13 bridges, including an 822-foot bridge over the Toby Creek Greenway in the University City area and over 40 retaining walls. In addition, STV oversaw the design of three parking garages and one surface lot providing over 3,000 new parking spaces.
“This project has been more than a decade in the making and has involved so many people that have been dedicated to getting to this moment,” said STV Senior Vice President, Martin Boyle. “It is extremely satisfying to see this through to completion and it will be even more gratifying to see how it will benefit the quality of life for those who live in the connecting neighborhoods and the completion of the many opportunities for economic development along the alignment which are already underway.”
The extension of the LYNX Blue Line will make the trip from UNC Charlotte to Center City and the Spectrum Center in approximately 25 minutes running through University City, Newell, NoDa and Optimist Park along much of North Tryon Street (U.S. 29) and North Davidson Street. With about 32 percent of the alignment on the same right-of-way used by freight and passenger trains, STV was able to use its longstanding relationships with regional freight lines to coordinate the reconfiguration of tracks along with necessary improvements to power systems, signals, communications and the addition of an overhead catenary system.
Based on the firm’s success in providing preliminary designs, STV was selected to continue its work with final design and construction management for three parking garages, a new North Yard maintenance and storage facility and the expansion of the existing South Boulevard Light Rail Facility to accommodate additional rail vehicles.
Launched in 2007, with 15 stations and seven parking facilities, the southern corridor of the LYNX Blue Line proved successful and immediately exceeded initial ridership projections. STV has since provided architectural and engineering expertise to add capacity along the entire line with the future addition of three-car trains. Charlotte continues to be one of the fastest growing cities in the country and the LYNX Blue Line is credited with generating more than $1 billion in commercial and residential development along the initial segment. LYNX Blue Line currently serves more than 16,000 daily passengers and the addition of 11 new stations, more than 3,000 new parking spaces and the extra capacity of three-car trains is expected to boost ridership to more than 25,000 daily passengers along the new extension, making it the largest light-rail system in the Southeast.
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