Blue Line Extension One Step Closer to Completion

CHARLOTTE -- The Blue Line extension is one step closer to completion now that the final girders were laid on the line's longest bridge Wednesday.

The bridge is as long as two and a half football fields with each concrete girder weighing 50,000 pounds.

"They look they same to us on the ground, but they're all slightly different based on the skew of the bridge," said David Smith, construction manager for the Charlotte area transit system, or CATS.

Smith says this is a milestone for the project. Now that the girders are placed, construction can continue to lay down tracks to finish the light rail.
        
This bridge marks the end of the line just before the last stop on UNC Charlotte's main campus.

"It will connect the UNC Charlotte main campus to the center city campus," said Smith.

Smith says the Blue Line will extend another nine miles when it's complete, and it'll look exactly like the Blue Line already running in South End Charlotte.
        
He says the extension will be a huge help to those who commute to or from the university area.

"An average of about 25,000 daily riders on an average weekday," said Smith.

Smith says the line should be finished by the fall of 2017, but laying the girders was one of the biggest hurdles, and it's now complete.

"So it's really neat to see it come together," said Smith.

Construction is now underway on all eleven bridges of the Blue Line extension.

CATS officials say it's on time and on budget.