The Valley Metro Regional Public Transportation Authority and the city of Mesa, Ariz., celebrated the start of construction on the system’s Gilbert Road Extension Oct. 15 at a community fall festival.
Valley Metro, the regional transit system serving the greater Phoenix metropolitan area, has taken on the project to bring rail service to an additional 1.9 miles from Mesa Drive to Gilbert Road. Valley Metro completed a previous 3.1-mile extension project along the line in August 2015, bringing light-rail to downtown Mesa.
Construction begins this week and the extension is scheduled to begin service in late 2018 or early 2019. The project’s current budget is $152.7 million, portions of which come from both federal and local funds, officials say.
Valley Metro Interim CEO Scott Smith acknowledged the extension’s influence on the local community.
“This extension is the East Valley’s gateway to countless connections in Mesa, Phoenix and Tempe,” Smith said. “Expanding regional travel options is important for future riders and has proven itself as a catalyst for strong economic activity.”
Stacy and Witbeck/Sundt, a joint venture of Sundt Construction, Inc., served as the construction contractor for the line’s Northwest Extension in Phoenix, which began service earlier in 2016, as well as a segment of the system’s 20 miles of light-rail that began operating in 2008.
“We are proud to partner with the city of Mesa and Valley Metro on this project,” said Jennifer Donaldson, project manager for Stacy and Witbeck/Sundt. “We also look forward to working closely with the community, minimizing the impact of construction and working to build a quality product for Mesa and this region.”
Mesa Mayor John Giles noted the extension’s groundbreaking on the Gilbert Road Extension as another step toward the completion of NextMesa, a series of changes planned to improve the community, which he introduced Sept. 18, 2014, after being sworn in as mayor.
“We’ve seen how light-rail has revitalized our downtown and now we’re taking Mesa to the next level by extending the benefits of light rail to new neighborhoods and the greater East Valley” said Mayor Giles.
More information about the extension is available here.