DART extends Blue, Orange LRT lines

Written by Douglas John Bowen

Dallas Area Rapid Transit Monday morning opened two more rail segments on its light rail transit system.

DART’s Blue Line now extends to Rowlett, Tex., while its Orange Line farther into Irving, Tex., and closer to Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport, which the agency hopes to reach in December 2014, adding DART to the list of U.S. transit agencies offering direct rail service into a major airport. DART held a ceremonial ribbon-cutting ceremony for the Blue Line extension in Rowlett last Friday (photo). 

Downtown Rowlett Station marks the first expansion of the Blue Line since it reached Garland, Tex., in November 2002. The 4.5-mile, $360 million segment completes the build-out of the northeast corridor and increases access to and from the largely residential community.

“Rowlett residents had the foresight and wisdom to invest in alternatives to driving around this sprawling region,” said John Carter Danish, chair of the DART Board. “They knew public transit was more than an amenity, but a ‘must’ for preserving their city’s small-town charm while also providing access to big-city resources and opportunities.”

In late 2016, DART will lengthen the Blue Line south from Ledbetter Station to connect to the University of North Texas at Dallas.

DART added four miles to the Orange Line, with new stops at North Lake College and Belt Line Road, on DFW Airport property. Last July DART opened the first section of the $1.3 billion Orange Line serving an initial three stations.

“The Orange Line connects people to a greater number of educational and employment opportunities throughout North Texas, and when it reaches DFW Airport, light rail will link the Dallas area to the entire world,” DART President/Executive Director Gary Thomas said.