Metro is celebrating the completion of a special construction project that will reduce operations and maintenance costs, and more effectively maintain the rail system while shortening delays for customers during scheduled and unplanned service disruptions.
This morning, Metro representatives and others gathered to commemorate the completion of a $10 million light rail interlocking project near the UMSL South MetroLink Station. As Metro President and CEO John Nations made the project completion announcement today, he was joined by Mokhtee Ahmad, Federal Transit Administration Regional Administrator for Region 7, UMSL Chancellor Tom George, Metro Board of Commissioners Chairman David Dietzel, and Bill Ray– Special Assistant to St. Louis County Executive Charlie Dooley.
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. 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.
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 time frame for expending ARRA funds. “We applaud members of our own skilled workforce who stepped up to assist with several elements of the project,” said Nations. “Among those I’d like to recognize from Metro are Chris Poehler—Senior Vice President Engineering and New Systems Development, Fred Bakarich—Director of Capital Projects, Vera Cavato—Senior Project Manager Engineering, the engineering team, Kelly Hamm—Director of Maintenance of Way, Scott Grott—Director MetroLink Operations, Trent Smith—Director of Rail Systems and Tracy Beidleman—Director of Program Development and Grants.”
We would like to thank our customers for their patience during the construction and technical testing of the new UMSL South Interlocking. Metro is very proud this important project was completed on time and on budget.