The first segment of the Northwest Rail Line, a 41-mile commuter-rail line from Denver Union Station to Longmont, is now under way. A groundbreaking ceremony was celebrated on June 28 near the future site of the Westminster Station.
This first segment will be 6.2-miles long and end in south Westminster near 71st Avenue and Lowell Boulevard. Regional Transportation District (RTD) officials said construction of the rail line is set to being in January 2013. The ceremony highlighted the impact the project will have on local jobs, business and people.
“The reason for this event is really to celebrate with Westminster on the future,” said RTD public information officer Kevin Flynn. “We’ve come a long way, and the city has big plans for the station. We applaud them for taking the time to take this station to the next level.”
This first portion of the rail line is already funded and is expected to be complete in 2016. Voters in Westminster approved funding for the FasTracks project in 2004. Westminster Mayor Nancy McNally is excited to see the project get under way.
“We have worked very hard for the passage of FasTracks, and it’s very exciting to see this part begin and eventually be complete,” she said. “This project will be great for the southern part of our city. We are excited to see how everything comes together.”
The city of Westminster approved the intergovernmental agreement with RTD on June 11. According to the city’s website, the agreement calls for several features — including surface parking, bus loading and unloading facilities, and the north plaza — to be removed from RTD’s agreement with their concessionaire, Denver Transit Partners, and allows the for the city’s construction of these elements. This allows the city to focus on the revitalization of the station area, which is a benefit to the city and residents, McNally said.
“We will be able to provide a huge green-space area and a wonderful area for residents over time,” she said. “The area won’t just be a place for transit, it will be a place for people to go and enjoy themselves, it will be a benefit to our schools, art district and businesses.”
McNally said the project will be completed slowly, so residents shouldn’t expect a change overnight. The good news, she said, is that the first segment of the Northwest Line is under construction and people can finally see their tax dollars put to use.
“This project is happening, we haven’t been forgotten,” she said.
The Northwest Rail Line will travel through North Denver, Adams County, Westminster, Broomfield, Louisville and Boulder. For more information, go online to www.rtd-fastracks.com.