No, the new light rail line isn’t open yet. But you might start seeing trains run on it.
At long last, the LYNX Blue Line Extension project has begun testing trains along North Tryon Street. Jill Brim, the project director, said that these low-speed tests will continue through the end of the week.
The light rail extension, once completed, will connect UNC Charlotte and Uptown. Construction on the extension began in 2013, so students have excitedly awaited the more convenient route towards internships and nightlife in Uptown for years. Not to mention, people with homes and businesses near the construction sites of the extension are surely ready to see an end in sight.
“We’re very excited because [the testing] gives a good visual to all the people in Charlotte to show how the project is progressing,” Brim said.
Brim said so far, the testing was “very successful” on Wednesday. That’s a great sign, but there’s still a lot more safety testing that must take place before the extension can open. Previously, the project had a finish date of August 2017, but several months ago the opening date was pushed back to March 2018.
“We’ve always been very aggressive with our schedule,” Brim said. “We wanted to open well in advance, but right now we’re just right on schedule. That’s March of 2018, and that’s what we’re shooting for. We are, of course, looking for opportunities to move that schedule ahead.”
Safety testing of the trains will continue all along North Tryon Street to test communication systems, signal systems, and alignment safety. Travel control personnel will guide cars and pedestrians through intersections during testing.
“We encourage everyone to look, watch for trains, and pay attention to the signs and lights,” Brim said.