The current alignment plan for the GoTriangle LRT system starts at the UNC Medical Center and includes a station at the Dean Dome basketball arena. From there, the line enters Durham County and parallels Interstate 40 and State Route 15/501 toward downtown Durham.
The alignment includes service to Duke University, Duke Hospital and the Veterans Administration Hospital before connecting to the GoTriangle bus Transit Center before reaching the end of the line at North Carolina Central University.
“The new GoTriangle LRT will provide travel options that will benefit citizens in Durham and Orange counties by reducing dependence on automobiles for travel and enabling smart growth along its corridor,” Ruddell said.
One unusual aspect of the project will require modification of the UNC Finley Golf Course. “Part of our scope includes managing a construction contract to modify a fairway and tee box, cultivate appropriate vegetation and construct a screen to protect riders from errant golf balls,” Ruddell said.
The line includes over 10 miles of at-grade ballasted track—including about four miles on an elevated structure—and approximately 3.5 miles of at-grade embedded track. An end-to-end trip is expected to take 45 minutes.
A noteworthy technical aspect of the alignment will be the use of a 1500-volt system, as contrasted with the more common 750-volt system.
“The higher-voltage system significantly reduces the number of traction power substations, and provides a substantial cost savings to the project,” Ruddell said.
Although Ruddell described local funding for the project as “robust,” he added that securing state and federal financing remains an ongoing challenge.
“By applying professional construction management practices, WSP is assisting with ideas for cost shedding so that there are sufficient local funds to capture the FTA (Federal Transit Administration) match,” Ruddell said. “Our expertise in estimating, scheduling, utilities coordination and constructability reviews provides critical insights into the funding, cash flow and procurement strategies."