Blue Line Moves Charlotte Forward

Approximately 1,000 people were gathered, hoping the message on their T-shirts—“First to Ride”—would become a reality. That was the scene at UNC Charlotte on March 16, 2018 when Charlotte’s Blue Line Northeast Corridor Extension opened for business.

Blue Line Connects Uptown to University

The $1.2-billion, 9.3-mile light rail extension is part of the Charlotte Area Transit System’s (CATS) successful LYNX Blue Line, which opened in 2007. It was the first rapid rail service in North Carolina. The new Blue Line Extension connects commuters from uptown Charlotte to UNC Charlotte. And riders can make that commute in less than 30 minutes.

18,000 Hours, 11 Years

Don Pettigrew, PE, represented McKim & Creed at the ribbon cutting and inaugural ride on February 26. McKim & Creed provided mechanical, electrical and plumbing engineering and construction services for the Blue Line. Those services contributed to the completion of 11 stations, surface parking, bridges, a tunnel, the north maintenance facility and south maintenance facility renovations.

The March 16th opening marked the “culmination of 18,000 [McKim & Creed] hours devoted to this project over the past 11 years,” noted Don. “Seeing it in operation was truly a momentous occasion.”

Huge Economic Impact

CATS officials anticipate 25,000+ commuters will ride the extension each day. According to a press release, CATS expects the extension to generate $44 billion in economic development by 2035.