Nov 23, 2022 - News

Phoenix Metrocenter light rail extension and bridge over I-17 to open in 2024

A man in construction gear stands on a bridge over a freeway.

Valley Metro project manager Tony Santana on the light rail bridge crossing I-17 south of Peoria Avenue. Photo: Jessica Boehm/Axios

If you've driven on I-17 lately, you've seen a new bridge towering over the roadway.

  • It's part of a $400 million transportation project that leaders hope will transform public transit access for the West Valley.

State of play: The light rails Northwest Extension Phase II, which will be the first time the system traverses over a freeway, is 60% complete and expected to open in early 2024.

Why it matters: Crossing I-17 will allow West Valley residents to connect to the light rail for the first time.

  • Residents from west Phoenix and Glendale can take buses or park at the garage adjacent to the new station and then board the light rail.

What he's saying: "By making [the Metrocenter station] a true transit hub, we'll have that connectivity from the West Valley to our light rail system that gets you to downtown, that can get you to the airport, all the way out to even Mesa," Valley Metro project manager Tony Santana tells Axios Phoenix.

Elevated train tracks in front of a mall.
The under-construction light rail tracks and station at the old Metrocenter Mall. Photo: Jessica Boehm/Axios

Details: The extension will go from the current end-of-line at 19th and Dunlap avenues about 1.6 miles northwest, ending at the old Metrocenter Mall, which is scheduled to be demolished and transformed into a major residential and commercial development early next year.

  • There will be three new stations, including the first elevated one at Metrocenter.
  • Valley Metro is also relocating an existing transit center to be right under the elevated station so regional buses can drop off passengers directly at the light rail.

Be smart: There will be some road closures and restrictions on Dunlap and 25th avenues and Mountain View Road for the next year or so. Check Valley Metro's construction notices.

  • Yes, but: The agency doesn't anticipate any more full closures of I-17. It used a construction technique that doesn't require a support pillar in the middle of the interstate, so all the bridge work can be done from above.

Show me the money: The project's $400 million price tag will be split between federal grants, a countywide transportation tax and a separate transportation tax on Phoenix residents.

1 colorful thing: The bridge and connecting Metrocenter station will have accent lighting that can be changed to different colors to celebrate holidays.

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