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East Rail Line hits major milestones

This is a big milestone for the East Rail Line. The "Golden Spike" ceremony took place November 24, 2014 marking the joining of the last rails on the 23-mile commuter rail line between downtown's Union Station and Denver International Airport.

Golden Clip ceremony November 24, 2014
We don't use spikes anymore - we use steel clips inserted horizontally. The photo shows the track crew preparing to push the final "golden clip" to connect the steel rail to the concrete tie. By the way, it's not real gold, it's just spray paint.

See the stats on progress on the line to the airport, and what work is taking place now.

First commuter rail cars arrive in Denver

RTD's first 4 commuter rail cars have arrived from the assembly plant in Philadelphia. They are at Union Station and you're invited to tour them December 3-6 from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. each day.


I-70 flyover almost finished

The mile-long Interstate 70 Flyover on the East Rail Line is nearing completion. This is the sweeping curve by which the trains to Denver International Airport will go from paralleling I-70 to heading north along Peña Boulevard.

The I-70 flyover at Pena Blvd. on the East Rail Line to Denver International Airport was almost finished in July 2014.
I-70 flyover at Peña Blvd. in Denver (July 2014)

Doing this requires getting up and over the Union Pacific track by Smith Road, Airport Boulevard, 32nd Avenue, Pagosa Street and I-70, with its entrance and exit ramps.

40th Avenue reopens with major improvements

East 40th Avenue in Denver was reopened after being closed for 19 months for reconstruction, rail line installation and major improvements

A stretch of East 40th Avenue in Denver has reopened after major construction was completed related to the East Rail Line to the airport. Read the story and see before and after photos here.

Track tamper works near the Airport Station

A track tamper worked on packing the rock ballast for the tracks entering what members of the East Rail Line team call the "Triple Stack Underpass."

Track tamper on the East Rail Line at the airportTrack tamper at Denver International Airport

It's the reinforced concrete box that RTD built directly underneath the "X" formed by the west terminal inbound roadway and the east terminal outbound roadways. And because of that, some of the East Rail crew have nicknamed it the "X Box."

Telephone Town Hall meeting

RTD Director Barbara Deadwyler (District B) hosted a telephone town hall meeting on Wednesday, May 28, 2014. Participants received the latest information about the Southeast Rail Extension plans and the FasTracks project in general.

You can listen to an audio recording or read a transcript of the meeting here.

Watch video: Fly over the entire East Rail Line

Climb in the helicopter, click the play button on the video clip below and enjoy a cool flyover of the 22.8 mile-long East Rail Line from Denver Union Station to Denver International Airport.

Construction is well underway on the commuter rail line which you be able to start riding in 2016.

Two East Rail Line stations get new names

The RTD Board has unanimously adopted changes to two of the six commuter rail stations on the East Rail Line. The changes came after a final review of the names that had been in use.

In finalizing station names for the start of signage, audio and electronic announcements of station stops, RTD worked with Denver and Aurora, the local government partners on the project, to see if they wanted any changes to better fit their future land use planning efforts. Modified names were given to the 40th Ave & Airport Blvd Station and to the Denver International Airport Station. Here are the final station names:
  • 38th & Blake (no change)
  • 40th & Colorado (no change)
  • Central Park (no change)
  • Peoria (no change)
  • 40th Ave. & Airport Blvd. • Gateway Park (change from 40th Ave. & Airport Blvd)
  • Denver Airport (change from Denver International Airport)
You can see these changes on our interactive maps of the project:
East Rail Line Map
East Rail Line Virtual Tour (includes photos)

What a difference 3 years makes

Progress on the East Rail at Denver International Airport
The photo on the left is the south lawn of the Jeppesen Terminal at Denver International Airport, taken on a field trip in July 2010 to scope out the site for the groundbreaking a month later.

Next to it is the same site a year and a half later, after excavating down 70 feet.

Finally, the same place in Dec. 2013, making substantial progress with the RTD East Rail Line transit station and the 519-room Westin Hotel, both being built by DIA.

Slideshow: Aerial photos of East Rail Line

Check out some of the work that's being done on the East Rail Line from the view inside a helicopter.

Photos courtesy of HDR Inc., © 2013 by Keith Philpot

Groundbreaking held for Peoria Crossing

The groundbreaking for Peoria Crossing happened Monday, Aug. 19, 2013. It's a $50 million project that will build a bridge to take buses, cars, trucks, pedestrians, bicyclists and others up and over the Union Pacific tracks on Peoria Street at Smith Road.

While Peoria Crossing is a completely separate project from the East Rail Line, the Peoria Station and Park-n-Ride is just west of there, so this bridge project -- headed up by Denver and Aurora -- will be highly coordinated with East Rail Line construction to make sure both projects meet their schedules. When completed, the bridge will separate buses, cars and trucks on Peoria Street from our airport trains.

Left to right: RTD Board Chair Lorraine Anderson, Aurora Mayor Steve Hogan, Denver Mayor Michael Hancock, Denver Councilman Chris Herndon, Denver Public Works Manager Jose Cornejo, RTD District B Dir. Barbara Deadwyler, and Alice de Stigter, General Attorney in Denver for the Union Pacific Railroad. August 19, 2013
In the photo, tossing dirt at the construction site, are left to right: RTD Board Chair Lorraine Anderson, Aurora Mayor Steve Hogan, Denver Mayor Michael Hancock, Denver Councilman Chris Herndon, Denver Public Works Manager Jose Cornejo, RTD District B Direcotor Barbara Deadwyler, and Alice de Stigter, General Attorney in Denver for the Union Pacific Railroad.

The bridge will be ready to open for traffic in summer 2014.

Working on the longest bridge

RTD's East Rail Line goes tubular, dude, with this worker on the Interstate 70 Flyover Bridge preparing a steel reinforcing cage for a bridge support pier on Pagosa Street in Aurora. In the background is part of the flyover that's already in place.

Work on the I-70 flyover on the East Rail Line. June 2013
Work on the I-70 flyover along the East Rail Line

This will be the longest bridge in the RTD system when the airport train opens in 2016. The I-70 Flyover Bridge will be 4,985 feet when completed. It has to be that long in order to cross over the Union Pacific track along Smith Road, Airport Boulevard, 32nd Avenue, Pagosa Street and Interstate 70 all in one stretch.

Test track set in place on East Rail

Dynamic Track Stabilizer tamps down and packs the concrete ties into the rock ballast, using vibration as well as pressure to set them evenly both horizontally and vertically to ensure a smooth ride.
Test track between Havana and Sand Creek in Denver

Construction on the airport line is moving right along, where overhead power line poles and a short segment of test track have been set between Havana Street and Sand Creek, next to Smith Road. In the photo above, you're looking west toward the Central Park Boulevard Bridge at Stapleton.

That piece of equipment on the right, some people might call it a track-making thing. But it does have a more sophisticated, technical name.

It's called a Dynamic Track Stabilizer. It is used to tamp down and pack the concrete ties into the rock ballast, using vibration as well as pressure to set them evenly both horizontally and vertically to ensure a smooth ride.

Watch part of the Peña Rail Bridge go up in just 2:00

As part of the construction of the RTD FasTracks East Rail Line, Denver Transit Partners crews set the girders over westbound (outbound) Peña Boulevard on Saturday, March 23, 2013.

On Monday, March 25, 2013, DTP crews set the girders within the Peña Boulevard median. The girders were placed over eastbound Peña Boulevard on Saturday, April 6, 2013. At approximately 1,952 feet long, the Peña Boulevard bridge has 17 spans and crosses over Peña Boulevard, near East 75th Avenue.

Watch it happen really fast thanks to the magic of time lapse and some music.

Video: Eagle Project progress spring 2013

This new video shows you just how much progress is being made on the new East Line from Denver Union Station to Denver International Airport, as well as the other projects that are part of Eagle P3.

Google Maps discovers the East Rail Line

Updated aerial photography from October 2012 shows construction

Google Maps Aerial Photo of Peña Bridge Construction, October 7, 2012

Stonehenge? No, it's the East Rail Line's Peña Boulevard Bridge under construction, in an aerial overflight from Oct. 7, 2012, posted by Google

Google has updated the aerial imagery that it uses in its Google Maps Satellite View and on its Google Earth application, giving fans of the project a look back into the near past at our progress on the East Rail Line project at Denver International Airport.

The new imagery is from Oct. 7, 2012. It shows bridge construction and alignment grading over the entire 11 miles of the Peña Boulevard segment of the 23-mile line. You can follow our work from what we call the "Triple Stack Underpass" south of the Denver International Airport's Jeppesen Terminal, where our trains will pass underneath the east and west terminal roadway crossover.

From there, headed west, you will see:
  • The track alignment between Runway 7/25 and 78th Avenue
  • A dozen support piers for the 1,953-foot Peña Bridge, all north of Peña Boulevard (the beams connecting them are all installed and we're working in the median and south side now)
  • Start of work over E-470 -- now ready for setting of bridge beams
  • Concrete drainage culverts to allow storm runoff to go under the tracks
  • The beginning of alignment grading from west of Tower Road down to Green Valley Ranch Boulevard
  • Bridge piers for the First Creek and the 56th Avenue commuter rail bridges.
To follow along, use this Google Maps satellite view, which starts at the DIA terminal, zoom in to see the construction, and click on the push pins to read about what's there. Stay at the fourth zoom level out -- the up-close imagery is the old stuff.

Google Maps Aerial Photo of Triple Stack Underpass Construction, October 7, 2012

Google satellite view imagery from Oct. 7, 2012, shows the commuter rail alignment, here running left to right, headed into the Triple Stack Underpass at Denver International Airport. View is looking toward the west.

40th Avenue closed

40th Avenue Fact Sheet Printable PDF

The Regional Transportation District's contractor for the East Rail Line has closed 40th Avenue between Blake and York streets for full reconstruction. The closure began Nov. 28, 2012.

For up to 16 months, Denver Transit Partners will install the commuter rail alignment along the north side of the street, place new drainage lines underground and rebuild the street in concrete including eight-foot sidewalks on the south side.

The public is asked to comply with instructions on posted construction signs and to use alternate routes to bypass the area. RTD's Route 44 bus line will operate on 37th Avenue and York Street through the construction area only.

Construction schedules are subject to change. In the event of after-hour emergencies, call 1-855-EAGLE P3 (324-5373). For additional construction information, or if you have questions, please contact the DTP Public Information Team at 303-297-5284.

For online project information including construction and traffic detours, go to: www.rtd-fastracks.com/ep3_26.

Here is a map of the Route 44 bus detour:

Route 44 Detour

See a larger version of this map here.

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