The Regional Transportation District (RTD) and Kiewit Infrastructure Co. held a groundbreaking ceremony for RTD’s I-225 Light Rail Line extension today. The event, with a theme New Dawn. New Day. New Train. New Connections on the Horizon, kicked off construction on the complete light rail project from Nine Mile to Peoria.
The ceremony kicked off construction along the I-225 Line from Iliff northbound to Peoria and Smith Road. After a competitive bidding process following an unsolicited proposal by Kiewit Infrastructure Co., the RTD Board of Directors awarded a contract to Kiewit in July 2012 to complete the full I-225 Rail Line by the end of 2015. The line will open in 2016 after about six months of testing.
“Last May, we started construction on the portion of the I-225 Rail Line from the existing Nine Mile Station to Iliff,” said Tom Tobiassen, RTD Board Director, District F. “Little did we know that less than a year later, we’d be starting construction on the entire line, and in just a few short years from now we’ll be celebrating the opening of the line.”
Construction has been underway from Nine Mile to Iliff since spring 2012 as part of a joint contract with Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT). Constructing this segment as part of CDOT’s expansion project allows both RTD and CDOT to efficiently build the rail line segment and expand the highway by sharing construction resources. It also minimizes inconvenience to the public by expanding the light rail and the highway at the same time.
Speakers at the event included RTD General Manager Phil Washington; RTD Board Chair Lorraine Anderson; RTD Directors Tom Tobiassen and Claudia Folska; City of Aurora Mayor Steve Hogan; Adjutant General of Colorado Major General H. Michael Edwards; University of Colorado President Bruce Benson; and Kiewit District Manager Craig Briggs.
The I-225 Rail Line is a 10.5-mile light rail extension that will travel through the City of Aurora and make key connections to the Anschutz Medical Campus and the future VA Hospital. The line, part of RTD’s FasTracks program, will link the existing Southeast Light Rail Line at the Nine Mile Station with the planned East Rail Line at the Peoria Station and will include eight stations.
FasTracks is RTD’s voter-approved transit expansion program to build 122 miles of commuter rail and light rail, 18 miles of bus rapid transit service, add 21,000 new parking spaces, redevelop Denver Union Station and redirect bus service to better connect the eight-county District. For more information, visit www.rtd-denver.com