A major San Diego public transit project reached a milestone Friday: construction of the Mid-Coast Trolley is now halfway finished.
According to the San Diego Association of Government Officials, the $2.17 billion project will add another 10.9 miles to the MTS Trolley's Blue Line, extending service from Old Town north to the University City community, serving Mission Bay Park, the VA Medical Center, UC San Diego, and University Town Center. Nine new trolley stations will be built along the way.
Work on the project began in October 2016. Trolley service in that area is expected to begin in late 2021.
“This year, we’re going to be wrapping up the bridge work and then we’re going to start – we’ll spend a couple years finishing the stations, electrifying and putting in the signaling system for a late 2021 opening,” said Jim Linthicum, SANDAG Director of Mobility Management and Project Implementation.
The Mid-Coast Trolley is San Diego County’s largest-ever mass transit project.
Stations Engineer Ketty Avila has been working on it since the groundbreaking in 2016 and said it’s gratifying to watch the trolley line take shape.
“It’s exciting to be able to see the viaduct just kind of pop up and there it is, you know. There’s all the work and the hard effort from everyone,” Avila said.
A large chunk of the funding for this project came from TransNet, the half-cent sales tax approved by voters. TransNet will also provide operating funds for the Mid-Coast Trolley through 2048.
Construction on the Mid-Coast Trolley Project has led to some large-scale road closures in the University City area. Earlier this month, the work shut down Nobel Drive west of Interstate 5 in La Jolla for a weekend.
SANDAG officials said the expansion of mass transit into this area of the county is necessary because estimates suggest the population will grow by 19 percent in the corridor by 2030. The project budget stands at $2.17 billion according to SANDAG
This comes in the middle of further I-5 construction to extend carpool lanes.