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Crews Break Ground In New Phase Of San Diego Trolley Expansion Project

SANDAG crews break ground on the new Blue Trolley Line expansion into Univers...

Credit: SANDAG

Above: SANDAG crews break ground on the new Blue Trolley Line expansion into University City, San Diego, Jan. 18, 2017.

Crews Thursday began building a viaduct that will carry the Blue Line along Genesee Avenue as part of an 11-mile extension of the trolley line from downtown to University City.

The Mid-Coast Trolley project will extend the Metropolitan Transit System's Blue Line from its current northern terminus of America Plaza along the Interstate 5 corridor to Mission Bay Park, the VA Medical Center, UC San Diego and the Westfield UTC shopping mall with nine new stations beginning 2021.

Blue Line trains will use existing track to travel from downtown to Old Town Transit Center along Pacific Highway.

In the latest phase of the project, which began last year, crews began boring holes for trolley support structures that will support the trolley in the middle of Genesee Avenue, the part of the route that will connect UCSD and Westfield UTC.

RELATED: Trolley Extension Gets $1 Billion From Transportation Department

“This is a significant step for the $1.8 billion project,”John Haggerty, Director of Rail for SANDAG, said in a statement. “People will really start to see the Trolley take shape as the columns start to line the roadway.”

Photo credit: SANDAG

This undated image shows the map for San Diego's Mid-Coast Trolley expansion project which will extend the Blue Line Trolley from Santa Fe Depot in downtown San Diego to the University City area.

The work along the busy thoroughfare also includes widening the street in order to accommodate the aerial trolley tracks that will run down its center, Haggerty said.

Transit officials say the extension will provide another public transit option to the Mid-Coast corridor, which is expected to see a population increase of 19 percent by 2030. It will provide additional transportation capacity and an alternative to the congested 5 Freeway.

“This project is important for our region’s mobility, and we appreciate the public’s patience with construction,” said Haggerty. “When it’s finished, residents, students, and employees in University City and at UC San Diego will have an exciting new option for getting around without a car.”

MTS is purchasing 36 trolleys for the expansion.

The project is expected to cost $2.17 billion. Half the cost will be covered by federal grants and the rest of the funding will come from TransNet, the region's half-cent sales tax for transportation, according to SANDAG.

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