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DART Blue Line Extension

Light rail expansion improves mobility in the Lone Star State.
  • DART Blue Line Extension-Gannett Fleming

    This expansion serves as an important catalyst for the development and mobility of Rowlett, Texas.

  • DART Blue Line Extension-Gannett Fleming

    The Rowlett Creek Bridge is one half-mile long. It has 27 piers; 4,400 cubic yards of concrete; and 10,804 cubic feet of concrete beams.

Client
Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART)
Partner(s)
Parsons Brinckerhoff, Austin Bridge & Road
Location
Garland to Rowlett, Texas
Our Role
Bridge, Track Work, Overhead Catenary System, Traction Power. 
Data
Construction Cost:
$188 million
Completed:
2013
Type:
New Construction
Duration:
4 years
Outcomes
  • Extension more than doubles DART’s existing 45-mile light rail system 
  • Under tight deadlines, the design team delivered plans for seven bridges for the project.

Planning to meet the needs of the fast-growing, fast-changing Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex area, Dallas Area Rapid Transit (DART) has taken significant strides to improve mobility, including expanding light rail service from the existing last stop in Garland, Texas, to a new station in Rowlett, Texas, nearly five miles away. 

The Blue Line corridor follows the old Missouri-Kansas-Texas Railroad right-of-way, while paralleling an existing freight line. This light rail transit (LRT) system is electrically powered from overhead wires using steel wheels on steel rails. The alignment is designed to achieve a 65 mph operational speed through the majority of the alignment, while maintaining a minimum operating speed of 50 mph through several horizontal curves. 

The terrain, existing roadways, and waterways dictated the need for seven bridges in the design. Under tight deadlines, the design team delivered the bridge infrastructure for this strategic project.

What We Did

As a primary member of design-build team, Gannett Fleming’s scope included bridge design, track work, system management, and overhead catenary design.

Key Features

The seven bridges include the longest bridge, the 28-span, 2,565-foot-long Rowlett Creek Bridge, as well as the Kansas City Southern Railroad/North First Street Bridge, a 12-span, 1,055-foot-long prestressed concrete girder bridge that features an aesthetic arch treatment.

An existing two-span, steel through girder bridge over State Highway 78, which carried the Dallas Garland Northeastern Railroad (DGNO), was removed and replaced with a new bridge just south of its former location. In addition, a new two span, 157-foot-long prestressed concrete girder bridge was built over State Highway 78 following the alignment of the former DGNO mainline.

The Blue Line project also included a new two-span, 190-foot-long prestressed concrete girder bridge over State Highway 66 in Garland and parallels an existing steel through girder bridge on the DGNO line. The last bridge is a three-span, 282-foot-long precast concrete structure above Main Street in Rowlett.

Sustainability Features & Outcomes

  • Uses non-polluting rail cars powered by electricity fed from overhead catenary lines
  • Supports economic development, bringing a convenient transit option to 55,000 residents of far east Dallas County and a portion of west Rockwall County, the fastest growing county in Texas.

Similar Projects: Transportation: Bridges, Transit & Rail: Mass Transit, Transportation: Transit & Rail, Transit & Rail: Transit & Rail Systems, Transportation, Engineering: Transportation