Part of the Blue Line light rail extension will go underground

A ride on the Lynx Blue Line extension won’t be all sunshine and tree-lined roads when it opens in summer 2017.

The 9.3-mile route will include a 340-foot tunnel near Institute Circle. At its deepest point, the tunnel will carry riders nearly 30 feet below North Tryon Street on the approach to UNC Charlotte.

The tunnel is about 40 feet longer than the three-car trains that will operate on the tracks.

Light rail trains will travel in the median on North Tryon Street for several stops after leaving uptown. Train cars will make a stop at UNC Charlotte after exiting the median through the underpass.

More than 300 truckloads of concrete and 325 tons of steel rebar were used in building the underpass, the only underground portion of track along the light rail system’s new northern leg.

The $1.16 billion Blue Line extension will add 11 stations between uptown and a final stop at UNC Charlotte.

Photo: Jeff Siner/Charlotte Observer