Project status: In August 2010, the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) approved the Central Mesa Light Rail Extension into Project Development which marks the first step in receiving federal project approval and ultimately federal funds to build the 3.1-mile extension on Main Street from Sycamore to Mesa Drive. With this approval, METRO was able to begin the project design phase.
Also underway is the federally-required Environmental Assessment (EA) that evaluates the potential environmental impacts to the community along the corridor from this project. Critical environmental categories evaluated include noise and vibration, traffic and parking, and historical and archaeological resources. The EA is scheduled to be complete in spring 2011.
Design: Design will be conducted and publicly reviewed over the next 20 months at the 30, 60, and 90 percent completion milestones, and include the following activities:
Roadway design – The design team will further refine the conceptual design approved by the Mesa City Council in mid-2010, including the traffic and track configuration.
Architectural design – Utilizing the Mesa Specific Urban Design Guidelines, the architect team will design the stations, landscaping, and traction power substations to reflect the uniqueness of the corridor.
Art – A public art program is an integral part of a light rail project. Art elements will be incorporated at stations and at a downtown traction power substation site and reflect the neighboring community. Artists’ work will be presented to the public for comment during periodic design milestones.
Utility engineering – As part of the design process, the underground utilities will be investigated by potholing and surveying to determine their exact locations. Geotechnical investigations will also be conducted and involve collecting samples of underground soil for laboratory testing.
Real estate acquisition – As the design progresses, impacts to property will be defined. Federal and State regulations will be followed to ensure that all affected property owners undergo a fair and equitable purchase process. Real estate acquisition is anticipated to begin in summer 2011.
For information on the business outreach plan and next steps for this project, click here for the full update.
*source: METRO light rail*