Where It's At: LRT

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May 19, 2003 // UPDATED 10:50 am - April 30, 2007
By: Ellen Nigon
Ellen Nigon

A regular feature that tracks the progress of the new Central Library and light-rail transit

What once had been artistic renderings in most people\'s minds are now becoming more concrete, as light rail stations begin to appear Downtown.

\"At all four Downtown stations people can see visible structures up and out of the ground. The public has been looking at these artistic drawings. Now we\'re starting to see those artists\' sketches transformed into real life out on the street. In the coming weeks people are going to be pretty amazed to see how quickly those stations start to take shape,\" said Joshua Collins, community outreach specialist with the Hiawatha Project Office.

Construction crews have begun track work at Chicago Avenue and 4th Street, which is currently reduced to one lane of traffic. Collins said that work would continue through mid-June.

Crews are also working on crossovers (track that allows a light rail vehicle to move from one track to another) between Park and Portland Avenues.

\"As we start to complete those crossovers and move from Park into the Chicago intersection we\'re really wrapping up the final bits of track work in the Downtown area,\" Collins said. \"After that we\'re also going to see the overhead poles and electrical wires that power the vehicles installed in the next couple months.\"

Within the next two weeks, the first light rail vehicle will be running outside on a test track between the Cedar Riverside station and 26th Street.

\"It\'s about a mile-long piece of track that we need to test that vehicle on. We need to run it about 4,000 miles,\" Collins said. \"This first vehicle has to go 3,500 miles without any faults. If there are any problems that clock starts over and we will run it another 3,500 miles. It has to go through these tests before we accept it into the line.\"

Source: Joshua Collins, Hiawatha Project Office