by: Jenna Deery Updated:
CHARLOTTE, N.C. - City Council approved the single largest capital project in Charlotte's history Monday night.
It will push public transportation forward and expand the LYNX light rail.
Transportation officials told council these contracts were time sensitive and needed to move forward with the project that will help thousands of people get where they are going.
Mike Wald depends on the light rail every day.
“I have to go to work with it,” Wald said.
He can only imagine what it will mean for him when more mileage is added to the line.
“(I will) get a lot more work. A lot more hours and I (will) able to get in when I'm not even scheduled," he said.
For months, the Charlotte Area Transit System has been doing prep work on the first 4 miles of the extension that will go from Seventh Street in uptown to the University of North Carolina in Charlotte.
Charlotte City Council approved working with a contractor to start laying down tracks, overhead cables and signals for cars that will travel this area.
The city is also entering into a project that would upgrade the power system on the current line and expand three platforms to offer faster service at stations including Interstate 485, Stonewall and Seventh streets.
CATS CEO Carolyn Flowers said the expansion will help ease congestion during major events.
“That will allow us to do express service and prepare for the extension which will have the three-car capacity,” Flowers said.
CATS won some competitive grants to fund the contract worth $130 million.
The extension won't be finished until spring 2017.
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