The Regional Transportation District southeast light rail extension in Lone Tree is expected to finish on schedule, according to RTD officials.
The three additional stops south of Lincoln Station on the E Line, at Sky Ridge Medical Center, the Lone Tree City Center and at RidgeGate Parkway, are expected to be completed within the second quarter of 2019.
Pauline Haberman, a spokeswoman for the RTD southeast light rail connection project, said much of the heavy, civil work, like the bridges, walls and most of the track and rail, is complete. Toward the end of this year, RTD will begin conducting safety tests for the line before it becomes functional next year.
“It's going to mean a lot of positive growth for the area and mobility,” Haberman said, “so that should be an economic boost for the area, as well as the ability to get to Rockies games or football games without having to drive or park.”
Lone Tree is currently home to two light rail stations, one at Lincoln Avenue and another at County Line Road with a bridge connecting it to the Park Meadows shopping district. The additional three will likely serve workers from Charles Schwab, Sky Ridge Medical Center and the surrounding RidgeGate and Heritage Hills neighborhoods. A Park-n-Ride stop will be added at the RidgeGate stop.
“The desire of the city and the RidgeGate developers is to have a walkable, mixed-use community,” said Jeff Holwell, the city's economic development director.
The additional light rail stations are some of the initial infrastructures in preparation for the city's plans to develop the eastern part of RidgeGate, east of I-25. The city currently has plans to develop East RidgeGate into the city's downtown area with more housing units, plazas and parks.
The plan came from a partnership between Sky Ridge, Charles Schwab, Coventry Development and the city.
Once the additional light rail stations open, the Lone Tree Link Circulator, the bus that shuttles people from the Lincoln Station to the RidgeGate neighborhood, will stop running.
In place of the Link Circulator, the city hopes to fully implement the Link On-Demand system. Link On-Demand went through a pilot phase and officials plan to roll out the program permanently soon.
Holwell said the leftover Circulator bus can be converted to serve the On-Demand service. Lone Tree Link On-Demand is similar to an Uber service, except the driver of the shuttle will pick up and drop off others who are going the same route.
Holwell said there's a possibility of the Link On-Demand system being implemented as soon as the Circulator stops.
“We planned all along the Lone Tree Link (Circulator) was a bridge service until light rail,” Holwell said. “Light rail will have solved that last mile.”