The Regional Transportation District (RTD) continues to reach milestones and move forward with building the FasTracks program sooner rather than later — including in the northern suburbs of the metro region.
Earlier this year, RTD identified funding to build the much-anticipated North Metro Rail Line from downtown Denver to 72nd Avenue. Shortly after that, we received an unsolicited proposal to build the line farther than 72nd. After determining the proposal had merit, RTD issued a Request for Proposals (RFP), which opened up a competitive bidding process to design and build the North Metro project. Bids are due on Sept. 23 and, following an extensive evaluation process, the RTD Board is expected to award a contract in late November.
What makes this process interesting is that we won’t know how much of the project beyond 72nd we’ll be able to build in the short-term until we receive and review all of the proposals. However, we do know that construction on portions of the North Metro Rail Line will start in 2014. Since this opportunity presented itself, we have been getting a lot of questions and we want to address some of them.
One of the most common questions we get is about the type of trains we’ll be running. The trains on the North Metro Rail Line will be electric commuter rail trains, which are larger and heavier than the light rail trains on RTD’s current rail lines. The trains will be powered by overhead electrical lines, but will travel at faster speeds than light rail trains and have storage space. Being electrified, the operation of the trains won’t produce much noise. RTD is working with adjacent cities to implement “quiet zones” at the intersections on the rail line so trains won’t have to sound their horns in neighborhood communities.
Another question we get is about construction impacts. Once we have a contractor on board, the company will be required to put together a construction schedule that will provide more information on where staging and storage will take place, where equipment will access the construction site and many other details. Preparing for the construction of the line will require coordination meetings with local governments and adjacent property owners.
Additionally, you may begin to see some early construction activities along the corridor. Suncor Energy will be installing a new pipeline paralleling the North Metro Rail Line from 72nd to Highway 7 beginning this fall. This is not to be confused with RTD work along the line. Neither the North Metro Rail Line project nor the Suncor Energy project will interfere with the construction or maintenance of the other. Our RTD Board approved Suncor’s easement agreement last December and the Adams County Commissioners gave their approval to the pipeline this summer. By using the easement from RTD, impacts to private property will be greatly reduced.
We’re making progress on the North Metro Rail Line, and we look forward to working with and hearing from you, our constituents, as we move toward expanding an efficient, effective transportation system for the entire region. RTD is committed to keeping you informed of activities through the website at www.rtd-fastracks.com/nm_2 . Be sure to sign up for email updates and construction information so you can remain informed as we keep FasTracks moving forward.
RTD Board Director Larry Hoy is second vice chair of the elected body and represents District J, which covers portions of Thornton, Northglenn, Westminster and Federal Heights, and Director Paul Solano represents District K, which covers Commerce City, Henderson and Brighton.