By Eric Jay Toll for The Arizona Builder’s Exchange
Utility IDs and survey control points are just starting to dot Main Street between Mesa Dr. and Sycamore St. and the City Council is ready to board the next light rail extension towards the Power Knowledge Corridor. With construction bringing the first trains downtown late in 2015, Mesa is readying plans for the next extension to Gilbert Rd.
The next 1.9 miles could cost as much as $115M in current year dollars, according to a $500K feasibility study by HDR. More than 3,000 additional commuters are expected to use the Gilbert Rd. extension. A full environmental impact study is recommended to pencil the cost estimates and better set the preliminary design for the route.
The EIS will be funded by MAG. No timeline has been proposed for the next extension. The city’s interest in moving ahead is sparked by light rail’s economic impacts in Phoenix and Tempe, along with heightened development interest along the first Mesa extension. HDR will prepare the environmental study as a task order issued against the firm’s ongoing planning services contract.
The preliminary report looks at continuing single lane Main Street traffic from downtown to Gilbert Rd. or widening the street to two lanes in each direction as is being developed for the Sycamore St. to Country Club Dr. portion of the downtown link. One option in the plan sees roundabouts every quarter mile along the extended route.
The environmental study will determine right-of-way acquisition needs, historic resource impacts, and effects on traffic, parking and land use along the corridor.
Original source: AZCentral