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Eagle P3 Quarterly Newsletter April-July 2016

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Eagle P3 Project Quarterly Newsletter: April-July 2016

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Commuter train at night
RTD commuter rail trains are operating on the University of Colorado A Line. In 2016, all Eagle P3 Project rail lines will open to the public. Photo: Stapleton Front Porch

Time to ride! A thank you from RTD and its contractor

The year 2016 has finally come. A year when RTD will open up five transit lines - something that has never happened in the world of public transportation. The entire RTD Eagle P3 team and its contractor, Denver Transit Partners, want to thank all of you for your patience and excitement during the last five years of construction.

Collectively, the project employed more than 10,000 people, injected millions of dollars into the local economy, hired hundreds of local small and disadvantaged business, but most importantly, RTD, DTP and local partners brought a public transportation option to underserved areas of Denver and Aurora - the University of Colorado A Line from Union Station to Denver International Airport.

In just 37 minutes from end-to-end, Denver metro area residents and visitors alike can easily connect to our cities, suburbs and the world.

Not only is the train to the plane an exciting option, but the connections being made to communities like River North, Elyeria-Swansea, Greater Park Hill, Stapleton, Montbello and Green Valley Ranch are just as important.

Residents in those areas now have a safe, reliable, affordable and efficient train line to connect them to work and recreation.

In five years, the public endured many road closures and construction detours, but areas near the alignment also received a facelift. New sidewalks and drainage popped up in areas like 40th Avenue and York and Smith Road and Uinta Street, as well as better bicycle and pedestrian trail connections to stations along the line.

The RTD and DTP staff worked tirelessly for the last five years of construction and system testing to ensure the public will enjoy the convenience of a train from downtown to the airport and every destination in between.

Thank you to the public; all federal, state and local partners; contractors big and small; and any others who had a hand in making this project come to life.

As the RTD Eagle P3 project celebrates the opening of the University of Colorado A Line, it will continue to push forward in opening two more commuter rail lines, connecting even more communities to the region - the B Line to Westminster opening this summer and the G Line to Arvada and Wheat Ridge opening this fall.

To stay updated on all things RTD, please visit our website.


Eagle Project update: On the way to opening day


G Line train station
Work continues on the G Line
Construction in 2016 for the Eagle P3 Project is showing signs that the project's lines are ready for opening day.

Of these, the most telling is the full performance demonstration (or running of trains at their complete schedule) for the University of Colorado A Line to Denver International Airport.

Crossing signal and train testing is also underway for the Northwest Rail (B) Line to Westminster and the Gold (G) Line to Arvada and Wheat Ridge.

Beginning April 22, 2016, the University of Colorado A Line will be the first of the three commuter rail lines on the Eagle P3 Project to begin service this year. This will be followed by announcements of opening dates for the Northwest Rail (B) Line to Westminster and the Gold (G) Line to Arvada and Wheat Ridge.

Although opening day is here, there will be some construction items left on the close-out checklist. For the University of Colorado A Line, there is some work that remains at the stations including landscaping, irrigation and artwork installation, as well as placement of signage in the Park-n-Rides and on the station platforms.

While crossing and train testing is underway along the Northwest Rail (B) Line and Gold (G) Line, construction activities will continue at stations for these lines. Platforms are taking shape with canopy installation at the Westminster
Station, elevator installation at the Pecos Junction Station and plaza construction along the line including the Wheat Ridge●Ward and Olde Town Arvada stations.

Curb work, paving operations and bus loop installation within the stations along the line will occur as well.

With the opening of the University of Colorado A Line on April 22, and the Northwest Rail (B) Line to Westminster and Gold (G) Line to Wheat Ridge later this year, the project newsletter will focus on opening day information, schedule updates and celebrations for this milestone year.

For more updates and the latest information on the Eagle P3 Project or to join the project email distribution list for special announcements, please visit our website.


Train at Denver International Airport
Commuter rail vehicle at the Denver Airport Station on the University of Colorado A Line, March 2016

University of Colorado A Line ready for take-off

In 1997, plans for rapid transit between Downtown Denver and DIA began. In 2003, RTD FasTracks and the Colorado Department of Transportation initiated an Environmental Impact Statement process to study improvements to the I-70 East Corridor.

In 2007, the Federal Transit Administration selected the University of Colorado A Line and G Line for a public-private partnership pilot program, which gave birth to the Eagle P3 project.

In 2010, Denver Transit Partners was selected as the Eagle P3 contractor for a 34-year concession and construction began on the University of Colorado A Line.

After more than 19 years of planning and constructing, the highly anticipated University of Colorado A Line will open to the public on April 22, 2016 where the grand opening ceremony will take place at the Denver International Airport at 10 a.m.

Following the ceremony, the line will be open to the public for free rides. The celebration will continue the next day, April 23, with parties at each station from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. or later. Below is a list of each station party.

Union Station
RTD Experience
Join RTD to learn all about upcoming openings, safety, attend a mini-job fair and more!

38th & Blake
Where Art is Made!
Highlights include a live iron pour presentation, kid activities, local beer - cider - wine garden, artist and makers booths, chalk art, live bands and the Denver Flea! This party lasts until 4 p.m.! Art dedication at 2 p.m. and 2:30 p.m.

40th & Colorado
Denver Active!
This fiesta includes family friendly activities, entertainment, food trucks, and more with a focus on keeping families healthy and active. Art dedication at 1 p.m.

Central Park
Global Arts and Culture!
Displays and public interactions include worldly cuisines, kid adventures, global arts and culture, healthy living, and community resources. Art dedication at noon.

Peoria
RTD Experience
Join RTD to learn all about upcoming openings, safety, attend a mini-job fair and more!

40th Ave. & Airport Blvd - Gateway Park
Artistic expression from around the world!
Enjoy a variety of cultural dance, a global fashion show, and musical entertainment while sipping on delicious Mexican hot chocolate, coffee, and tea. Art dedication at 10 a.m.

61st & Peña
Denver's Corridor of Opportunity!
Featuring professional kite flyers, kite making, food, music, entertainment, and a glimpse of the future Panasonic Enterprise Solution Company campus, coming in late 2016.

Denver Airport Station
Connecting you to the World
See the stunning new Westin Denver International Airport and enjoy spectacular new art, international food, music, entertainment, and activities on a new open-air plaza.

Join us for these two days of food, fun, festivities and free rides as we celebrate this historic achievement with family, friends and the community. Revenue service will begin on Sunday, April 24.


On track to opening day

2013

  • Track installation begins on the University of Colorado A Line along Peña Boulevard
  • Construction on the commuter rail maintenance facility (CRMF) begins
  • Project design 98% complete
  • First commuter rail cars shipped to Philadelphia
  • Rail welding completed for the Gold (G) Line and the Northwest Rail (B) Line Westminster Segment

2014

  • Construction complete on the CRMF
  • Reopening of the improved 40th Avenue between Blake and York streets along the University of Colorado A Line
  • First commuter rail vehicles delivered to Denver
  • Final track installed on the University of Colorado A Line
  • Track installation begins on the G Line in Wheat Ridge

2015

  • Signal gate installation for all railroad crossings along the University of Colorado A Line
  • Testing begins on the University of Colorado A Line, B Line and G Line
  • Overhead power lines installed on the B and G lines
  • Installation of canopies and platforms for all G Line Stations

2016 (Planned milestones)

  • Completion of the 64th Avenue road bridge traveling over the B Line
  • Construction on the University of Colorado A Line, B Line and G Line complete
  • Installation of public art at Eagle P3 Project stations
  • University of Colorado A Line, B Line and G Line open to the public for revenue service!
 




Wrapped commuter train
University of Colorado A Line opens April 22 with fully implemented positive train control system

RTD integrates train control technology 984 days early

Have you ever turned in a project 984 days ahead of the due date?

On April 22, the Regional Transportation District will have done just that when opening the University of Colorado A Line to the airport.

How? Well, the University of Colorado A Line will be fully compliant with positive train control (PTC), a highly innovative technology that is required by the Federal Railroad Administration (FRA). PTC helps reduce the risk of catastrophic train accidents.

RTD is ahead of the game as a result of a deadline extension by the FRA. Originally, all commuter and class one railroads were required to implement PTC by Dec. 31, 2015; however, many operations had difficulty meeting that deadline. So, the FRA made a three-year extension to Dec. 31, 2018.

In addition to being more than two years ahead of the deadline, RTD will also be the first in the nation to integrate PTC technology in the construction of a brand new rail system. All other rail systems in the United States will have to retrofit the technology into an already-existing system.

The B Line to Westminster, G Line to Wheat Ridge, and the N Line to Thornton will also be PTC compliant when opened.

Complex Safety System

There are many versions of PTC. RTD will use one of the more advanced systems called I-ETMS. This complex GPS-and-communications-based system uses signals to stop trains in the event of an emergency or operation error.

"The efficiency of the train operation is purely driven by PTC," RTD Systems and Integration Manager Jeff Whiteman said. "We call it a „constant warning system,‟ because it notifies and updates the precise operation status of all components within the system."

Positive Train Control (PTC) ensures that train operators follow safe speeds on the rail alignment. The technology also reduces the risk of train-to-train collisions, train derailments caused by switch malfunctions, and the injury of maintenance workers who are working on or near the alignment.

"Train operators still control the speed of the train, but if, for example, the train operator is going too fast, then the system will signal the operator to slow down or the train will automatically stop," RTD Signal Systems Manager Ken Huang said.

Operators are given warning signals under four circumstances-they are traveling too fast, another train is stopped ahead, a rail switch is malfunctioning, or maintenance crews are working on or near the alignment.

If the operator does not respond in 8 seconds, the train will automatically slow to a stop.

All of this is made possible through a network of communication and signal products.

GPS verifies the position of the train. Databases within the train hold track maps that know appropriate speeds.

Signal houses monitor the status of railroad switches (redirects).

Finally, fiber optic cables serve as the message delivery system for these technologies. Fiber optic is buried underground along the railroad alignment.


What's next for FasTracks?

B Line train
The first commuter rail train to reach the Westminster Station on the B Line.
The University of Colorado A Line to DIA (opening April 22) is the first of many exciting new rail lines opening this year. Shortly following the University of Colorado A Line, the B Line to Westminster will open in the summer and the G Line to Wheat Ridge will open in the fall.

All three lines will be commuter rail vehicles that are larger and faster than light rail, carrying approximately 170 people per car and traveling at a top speed of 79 mph. They will also offer level boarding to better accommodate travelers with luggage and accessibility needs.

Last, but certainly not least, the light rail R line to Aurora is scheduled to open at the end of the year.

The B Line to Westminster is the 6.2-mile first segment of the proposed 41-mile corridor that would operate between Denver Union Station and Longmont. The G Line to Wheat Ridge is 11.2 miles that will pass through northwest Denver, Adams County and Arvada. The R Line to Aurora is 10.5 miles that will provide regional connections to the CU A Line and Southeast Line.

These projects are all part of FasTracks, RTD‟s voter-approved transit expansion program to build 122 miles of commuter rail and light rail and 18 miles of bus rapid transit service, add 21,000 new parking spaces, redevelop Denver Union Station and redirect bus service to better connect the eight-county District.


Project continues to positively impact local economy

The Eagle P3 project continues to have strong impact on the Denver metro area by contributing more than $1.425 billion to the local economy, as of March 2016.

As the project draws nearer to opening days on all three lines, there will be a decrease in staffing requirements for the design build portion of the project, but the project is still employing 956 people, who contribute to the local economy.

With more than 7,200 employees having worked on the project to date, RTD and DTP are extremely pleased to have provided contracting and job opportunities for various organizations and individuals over the last five years, exceeding 625 firms.

DTP also exceeded its 20 percent goal of contracting with Small/Disadvantaged Business Enterprises (SBE/DBE) who employ crews and purchase supplies from local distributors.

RTD's operating and maintenance contractor, Denver Transit Operators (DTO), a part of the DTP team, is in full swing with a hiring expectation of 230 people.

DTO will provide the operations and maintenance of the commuter rail system for 29 years once the design and construction phase is complete.

Please visit the Denver Transit Partners website for a listing of current career and contracting opportunities.

Current economic impacts:
  • DTP wages paid: $246 million
  • Equipment, services and supplies: $555 million
  • Subcontractors: $624 million



2016 progress photos

 



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