Utah Transit Authority (UTA) Draper TRAX light-rail line, a 3.8-mile extension of service in the Salt Lake City area, is now open.
“This expanded light-rail service has generated thousands of jobs and will improve access to employment and other economic opportunities for decades to come,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx. “Salt Lake’s bold vision to place transit within easy reach of residents and connect dozens of communities along the fast-growing Wasatch Front is an excellent example of how investments in transportation lay a strong foundation for future growth.”
The project includes three new stations with park-and-ride-facilities. With the debut of the Draper TRAX Line, UTA has completed the FrontLines 2015 program, more than two years ahead of schedule and $300 million under budget. Frontlines 2015, a $2.9 -billion program to build 70 miles of rail in seven years, was initially scheduled for completion in 2015. Four new light-rail lines and one new passenger rail line have more than doubled UTA’s rail system. FTA committed approximately $545 million in total to the Frontlines 2015 Program, which includes $90 million through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. The Federal Transit Administration committed $116 million for the Draper project through its New Starts Capital Investment Grant Program.
With each line, UTA employed many tactics to complete construction ahead of schedule. UTA points to the Airport TRAX Line as an example of where creativity was used to accelerate the project. Three solutions surrounding right-of-way acquisition, bridge construction and project cash flow, were used to complete the project ahead of schedule. This early completion helped save taxpayer dollars, reduced construction impacts to businesses and residents along North Temple, shortened road construction delays and allowed for earlier public transit access to the Airport.
“Despite the worst economic downturn in generations, UTA is proud to have completed FrontLines 2015 projects ahead of schedule and under budget,” UTA said. “We would like to thank designers, contractors and stakeholders for working together to help us meet the challenges we faced.. As we move forward in expanding routes and increasing frequency of service, we will continue to combine innovative public transit with efficient business practices.”