Valley Metro Light Rail

WSP USA served as general engineering consultant for a 20-mile light rail line for Greater Phoenix that opened in 2008. 


  • Phoenix, Arizona, USA


  • Valley Metro Rail

Project Status

  • Completed in 2008

First Light Rail for Greater Phoenix

WSP USA served as the general engineering consultant (GEC) for Valley Metro Rail’s original 20-mile, 28-station Central Phoenix/East Valley Light Rail, the longest street-running light rail starter line in the United States. 

Key Numbers

20 miles 20 miles
28 28

WSP’s Role

We managed and contributed to the conceptual engineering and draft environmental impact statement (DEIS) and the subsequent preliminary engineering and final EIS. Working closely with METRO, we developed cost estimates and managed an extensive public and stakeholder involvement program.

We continued as GEC for the final design phase and design services during construction, overseeing 11 primary subconsultants for the design of the civil and street components, stations, and the maintenance facility. We were directly responsible for design of track and systems; traffic signals; traction electrification, including the overhead contact system (OCS); corrosion control; train signals; and communications; and oversaw design and procurement of 50 light rail vehicles.

The project team designed an innovative traffic signal communication system that minimized the number of stops at the 149 signalized traffic intersections along the route. The design of the OCS used tapered tubular poles and low-profile simple catenary to enhance the system’s appearance. Due to extreme summer heat, station design maximized shaded waiting areas.

The project, developed on a fast-track schedule, opened on time and within budget on December 27, 2008, far exceeding ridership projections.


Further Extensions

WSP has contributed to additional extensions of the Valley Metro Rail light rail system, including the 3.1-mile Central Mesa extension, which opened in 2015, and the 3.2-mile Northwest Extension, which opened in 2016.