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RTD breaks ground on Southeast Rail Extension

Construction on RTD's highly anticipated Southeast Rail Extension Project is beginning.

RTD and its partners who made the project possible held a groundbreaking ceremony on May 10 at the site of the future Sky Ridge Station. That's south of Lincoln Avenue along I-25 near Sky Ridge Medical Center in Lone Tree.

The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) awarded RTD $92 million through its Capital Investment Grant (CIG) Program for the project.

Southeast Rail Extension map

Balfour Beatty Infrastructure Inc. (BBII) is the construction contractor selected by RTD to build out the extension transit project.

“FTA is proud to partner with Denver to support the Southeast Rail Extension,” said FTA Acting Administrator Carolyn Flowers. “By expanding light rail south of the city, we are helping to create efficient, new access to Denver and all that the city has to offer, improving connections for residents along the I-25 corridor who are traveling to jobs, school, medical care and other opportunities in downtown Denver and throughout the metropolitan area.”

FTA is providing $92 million in federal funds toward construction of the $233.1 million Southeast Rail Extension. The remaining cost is being covered by local funding sources.

"The start of construction on the Southeast Rail Extension is another shining example of how important collaboration and innovation are to completing the FasTracks vision,” said RTD Board Chair Tom Tobiassen. “This project wouldn't be happening without the support from the local jurisdictions, as well as our federal partner. It is because of our strong partnerships that we continue to expand public transportation throughout the Denver metro area and create a city that is ready for the future."

Unprecedented local funding and support

An unprecedented $25 million in cash and an estimated $3 million in land and right of way permits from the City of Lone Tree, Douglas County, Coventry Development and the Southeast Public Improvement District made the Southeast Rail Extension a reality for this region.

Jim Gunning, mayor of Lone Tree, said, “This is transformational for our Southeast region. This is about connecting people. It’s about living, working and shopping here, getting into downtown, getting to the airport and the world; it’s about multimodal transportation and, most importantly, it’s about planned growth for our future.”

RTD General Manager and CEO Dave Genova, said, “On behalf of RTD, I want to express our thanks to the city of Lone Tree, Douglas County, Coventry Development, the Southeast Public Improvement District, and the Federal Transit Administration for partnering with us to move this project forward.”

Creating new jobs

The $233.1 million construction project is estimated to create more than 300 jobs through 2019.

The project will also add three bridges and three new stations.

Light rail trains will travel across the 620-foot-long Lincoln Avenue bridge; a 1,397-foot-long bridge over I-25; and the 506-foot-long bridge over RidgeGate Parkway.

The three new stations will be at the following places:

  • Sky Ridge Avenue (near the Sky Ridge Medical Center)
  • The future Lone Tree City Center
  • End-of-line station at RidgeGate Parkway with 1,300 parking spaces

All stations will be within walking distance of more than 500 acres of new mixed-used, commercial and residential development.

Options galore

The Southeast Rail Extension project—from Lincoln Avenue to RidgeGate Parkway—is part of the 2004 voter-approved FasTracks plan. The extension will add 2.3 miles of light rail to the existing 19-mile Southeast Rail Line.The project also includes three new stations, 1,300 parking spaces and the purchase of eight vehicles.

When the project is completed in 2019, residents will have the option to travel from the RidgeGate Station on the E Line to Union Station, the F Line to 18th•California, and the new R Line through Aurora to Peoria Station and connect to the University of Colorado A Line commuter train to Denver International Airport or to Union Station in downtown Denver.

Artist's conception of RidgeGate Parkway Station