Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Charlotte sets Blue Line extension opening

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A rendering of Charlotte's LYNX Blue Line Extension. A rendering of Charlotte's LYNX Blue Line Extension. Charlotte Area Transit System

Charlotte’s LYNX Blue Line Extension will open March 16, completing a $1.1-billion project to add 9.3 miles and 11 stations to the North Carolina city’s light rail system.

The opening of the route from uptown to the University of North Carolina-Charlotte coincides with the beginning of play in the 2018 NCAA Men’s Division I Basketball Championship, where the Spectrum Center will host first- and second-round games March 16-18.

The 45-minute ride on the complete Blue Line, operated by the Charlotte Area Transit System, will connect passengers from Interstate 485 in south Charlotte to the university.

Prior to opening, the Siemens light rail vehicles will be test-run on a regular schedule beginning Jan. 21.

Agency Chief Executive John Lewis made the announcement at a meeting of the City Council Jan. 8. The opening had been delayed from a planned August opening, and CATS was facing a deadline at the end of March by the federal government, which had funded half the project’s construction.

The operator plans to make changes in bus routes to connect with light rail. CATS will also increase the frequency of rush-hour trains from every 10 minutes to every 7-1/2 minutes.

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