The Works

St. Louis Mulls Multiple Light-Rail Extensions

Plus, Dhaka starts work on its first metro line for the second time, and more in our weekly New Starts.

Light rail in St. Louis (Photo by Matthew Black)

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Our weekly “New Starts” roundup of new and newsworthy transportation projects worldwide.

St. Louis Studies MetroLink Expansions
The International Railway Journal reports that St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger will commission three feasibility studies of possible extensions for MetroLink, the light-rail system serving St. Louis and its suburbs in Missouri and Illinois. (St. Louis County is separate from the city of St. Louis.)

The three extensions the county will examine are:

  • The Daniel Boone Corridor, a three-station branch heading northwest from the Blue Line at Clayton Station to a park-and-ride station at Westport near Interstate 270
  • The MetroNorth Corridor, a one-station spur running north from the Red Line at North Hanley to a park-and-ride station near I-270 in Hazelwood
  • The MetroSouth Corridor, a six-station extension of the Blue Line south from its current terminus at Shrewsbury/I-44 to Butler Hill Road

In announcing the studies, Stenger explained, “We had originally planned to study only one route, but after hearing from residents and speaking with experts, it became apparent that all three corridors deserve a closer look.” The studies are required in order for the extensions to qualify for federal matching funds for construction, something Stenger said is necessary for the projects to proceed. The studies will determine which of the routes are most likely to qualify for matching funds.

Funding for the studies comes from a voter-approved local sales tax.

The day after Stenger made his announcement on June 23, a St. Louis Post-Dispatch op-ed written by Kimberly Cella and Rose Windmiller, the executive director and chair, respectively, of the regional transit advocacy group Citizens for Modern Transit, urged elected officials from across the bi-state Missouri-Illinois region to gather along with others with a stake in St. Louis’ transportation future and re-evaluate all possible options for new MetroLink routes in light of the latest available data.

Dhaka Formally Begins Work on First Metro Line (Again)
Three years after she laid the foundation stone for Dhaka’s first metro line, Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina formally launched the construction of that line at a June 26 ceremony in the national capital, Railway Gazette International reports.

The 20-km (13.4-mile) elevated rapid transit line is a project of the Dhaka Transport Coordination Authority, an agency under the Bangladesh government’s Ministry of Communications. A consortium of Japanese firms is serving as the project consultant, and the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) is picking up the tab for 165.95 billion taka ($2.11 billion U.S.) of the project’s 219.85-billion-taka ($2.8 billion U.S.) cost, with the Bangladeshi government financing the remainder.

The elevated line will run north-south from Uttara North to Motijheel via the city center. The northern segment from Uttara North to the city center is expected to enter service first, with test runs taking place by the end of 2019, and the rest of the line should open by 2024.

Turnkey Contract Awarded for Sixth Taipei Metro Line
The New Taipei City Government Department of Rapid Transit Systems has awarded a turnkey contract to a multinational consortium to design and build the new Sanying Line of the Taipei metro.

Global Rail News reports that the contract was awarded to the ARH consortium, whose members are Ansaldo STS of Spain, Hitachi Corporation of Japan and Taiwan-based RSEA Engineering Corporation.

Under the terms of the contract, Ansaldo will supply the electromechanical, communications, signaling, fare collection and process control systems along with depot equipment and platform doors. Hitachi will build the 29 two-car train sets that will work the line, and RSEA will manage the actual construction.

The east-west elevated line will run 14.29 km (8.9 miles) from the current southwestern end of the Bannan Line (Line 5) at Dingpu to Yingge. Work on the line is slated to begin later this year; the anticipated completion date is 2023.

Know of a project that should be featured in this column? Send a Tweet with links to @MarketStEl using the hashtag #newstarts.

The Works is made possible with the support of the Surdna Foundation.

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Next City contributor Sandy Smith is the home and real estate editor at Philadelphia magazine. Over the years, his work has appeared in Hidden City Philadelphia, the Philadelphia Inquirer and other local and regional publications. His interest in cities stretches back to his youth in Kansas City, and his career in journalism and media relations extends back that far as well.

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Tags: transportation spending

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