University City

Hear about Blue Line update, University City Area Plan

Area residents can learn about the most recent developments of the Lynx Blue Line Extension project at two public meetings coming up.

Charlotte Area Transit System officials will host meetings on Feb. 11 and March 11 to share the newest projet details, as well as get residents’ ideas on the University City Area Plan.

The Blue Line Extension light rail project will be a roughly 9-mile extension expected to start serving 11 stations between uptown and the UNC Charlotte campus in 2017, according to CATS officials.

The project includes four parking facilities. Once operation begins, all the stations will be served by CATS’ network of feeder buses as well.

In early January, CATS officials gave a project update to the Charlotte City Council.

Judy Dellert-O’Keef, public and community relations specialist for CATS, said civil construction work for the Blue Line Extension project is split among three contracts, the first scheduled to begin in March.

The City Council awarded the civil construction contract for the first portion of the extension, “Segment A,” to Balfour Beatty/Blythe Development Jan. 27. The segment will run from south of Seventh Street to south of the proposed Old Concord Road station, according to officials.

The construction will include work on roadways, bridges, retaining walls and traffic signals, according to CATS. The joint venture of Balfour Beatty/Blythe Development was the lowest bid at nearly $108 million.

Segments B and C – the portion from Old Concord Road to near University City Boulevard, continuing to the end of the alignment at the UNC Charlotte campus – have been combined into one contract, likely to be awarded Feb. 24, Dellert-O’Keef said.

Portions of the Blue Line Extension route will be built in the median of North Tryon Street, requiring the road to be widened in those areas, Dellert-O’Keef said. The combination of Segments B and C in one contract will help streamline that process.

There have been concerns about possible traffic problems along the North Tryon segments, but Dellert-O’Keef said traffic signals will be installed at intersections such as Orr Road and Arrowhead Drive to help facilitate turns across North Tryon.

At Harris Boulevard, a bridge will be built to take the light rail over the intersection so “vehicular traffic will be the same as it is today,” she said.

The third portion of the project, Dellert-O’Keef said, is the construction “of the railroad bed and rail itself, in the center area where the tracks are.” That contract is scheduled to be awarded on March 24.

But throughout the construction process, Dellert-O’Keef said, access to area businesses will be maintained.

“Our goal throughout is to make sure there’s always access to neighborhoods or businesses along the alignment.”