"This is a big day for RTD, Aurora and the region. Today's groundbreaking is a huge step toward expanding our RTD system. This progress offers better mobility, more transportation options and opportunities for economic development, all which benefit Aurora and the Denver metro area," said Tom Tobiassen, RTD Board director.
The ceremony commemorated a farewell to the Yale Bridge, which will be replaced with a larger bridge spanning I-225. The new bridge makes room for the light rail and widening of the highway, a construction partnership between RTD and CDOT. The Yale Bridge will be closed for about six months during reconstruction. Traffic will be interrupted between South Xanadu Way on the west side and South Abilene Street on the east side of I-225 during this time.
The I-225 Rail Line project is part of RTD's FasTracks program. It is a 10.5-mile light-rail extension that will travel through the city of Aurora and a small section of Denver. The line will connect the existing Southeast Light Rail Line at the Nine Mile Station with the planned East Rail Line at the Peoria/Smith Station and will include eight stations.
The first segment of the light-rail expansion, will open in summer 2014. 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.
Project elements include a 600-space surface Park-n-Ride, a new light-rail station and bus plaza at Iliff and a new light-rail bridge out of the median over northbound I-225.