Interim Director of Communications
Metro representatives and others gathered today to commemorate the completion of a $10 million light rail interlocking project near the UMSL South MetroLink Station, located at 7798 Natural Bridge Road in St. Louis County. Kicking off in fall 2011, the construction project involved the installation of a new universal crossover between North Hanley and Page, allowing trains to cross from one track to the other. The construction of the new interlocking system will give Metro the ability to support single track operations and operate with shorter customer delays during scheduled and unplanned service disruptions. Metro President and CEO John Nations made the project completion announcement during today’s event, with Mokhtee Ahmad, Federal Transit Administration Regional Administrator for Region 7, and UMSL Chancellor Tom George.
Prior to the construction of the UMSL South crossover, the closest interlocking system was four miles away. Any work that needed to be completed to the tracks had to be scheduled after service hours or with the use of bus shuttles. The new system is designed to help Metro reduce operations and maintenance costs and more effectively maintain the rail system while minimizing system delays.
In addition to the construction of the interlocking system, work on the project included the building of a sidewalk, a new access road and signal house and significant drainage improvements adjacent to the alignment. Funded by approximately $8.5 million dollars in American Recovery & Reinvestment Act (ARRA) federal economic stimulus funds, $1.1 million in other federal funding and $289,000 in local financing, the project helped to create 270 jobs.
“Today was a very special day as we formally celebrated the completion of this important project along our MetroLink alignment,” said Nations. “This new interlocking system not only represents a $10 million investment in the economy, but is also playing an important role in Metro’s mission to improve our regional infrastructure and build a better transit system for the citizens of the St. Louis region.”
Contractors who worked on the interlocking project included R.V. Wagner, Railworks, Progress Rail, Midvale Electric, Herzog Technologies, Wissehr Electric and Stantec.
Metro also utilized its own skilled workforce to assist with various elements of the project, helping to reduce costs and accomplish the original scope of the project within the allowable timeframe for expending ARRA funds.