We’ll continue our westward trek along the West Corridor light rail line today, traveling from the Sheridan Station west to the Oak Station.

The Sheridan Station will be located below a newly constructed Sheridan Boulevard bridge structure built to span across Lakewood Gulch. The bridge will raise traffic to a level roadway between 10th and 14th Avenues where the road used to take a rather steep dip into and out of the gulch. The bridge – which is about halfway complete – will use more than 370,000 lbs of reinforcing steel and 2,000 cubic yards of concrete. There are also 47 drilled shaft foundations that are driven nearly 40 feet into the ground. The bridge will carry two lanes of through traffic on Sheridan in each direction with 10 foot sidewalks on both sides of the structure. Multiple utilities are also hidden between the girders across the bridge. Interestingly,, the original West Corridor plan called for the configuration being constructed today. However, in 2006-2007 when the West Corridor’s budget was being finalized, a proposal was floated to leave Sheridan Boulevard traffic as it was (with a steep dip in and out of the gulch) and take light rail up and over the vehicular traffic to lower costs. The cost concerns stemmed from construction mitigation which would have required RTD to construct a 4 lane temporary bridge for traffic on Sheridan. However, CDOT has allowed RTD to limit traffic on Sheridan to one lane in either direction while the new structure is being built, thus, saving RTD enough money to proceed with its original plan. Isn’t it amazing how some government coordination works…

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RTD also acquired several parcels just north of 10th Avenue  near the station to use as construction staging areas prior to constructing the parking structure. More demolition work is underway right now preparing for construction of the garage.

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Additionally, both the City & County of Denver and the City of Lakewood have completed station area plans for the Sheridan Station. For those who don’t know, Sheridan Boulevard is (for the most part) the boundary between the City & County of Denver and Lakewood and Jefferson County. The plans spell out what kind of changes the respective jurisdictions see coming to the area following in the future, which was envisioned following a public participation process. Denver’s plan can be found here and Lakewood’s plan can be found here.

Some of the track segments can be seen near the Sheridan Station. The tracks actually arrive in 80 foot chunks and are flash-welded together to make sections that are 800 feet long for installation along the corridor.

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The corridor then rises out of the gulch as it approaches the Lamar Station. The Lamar Station will not provide any parking. The station will be what RTD calls a “Neighborhood Station,” meaning its simply a walk-up station with no parking provided – very similar to the existing Louisiana-Pearl Station on the Southeast Corridor. The station has little in the way of platform construction right now, largely because the area is also being used as a construction staging area.  The Lamar Street Station Area Plan can be found here.

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As I mentioned in an earlier blog posting, large sections of sound walls have been erected. The light brown/tan color is the final painted color that will be applied to all of the sound walls along the corridor. There are sections that have been erected but are waiting to be painted.

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The Wadsworth Station will sit over Wadsworth Boulevard on a 63 foot wide, 400 foot long, double-track light rail bridge. The 11.1 million pound bridge has nearly one million pounds of reinforcing steel with 10 million pounds of concrete. To make the bridge lighter, the rails will be attached directly to the bridge deck, eliminating the need for ballast and rail ties. The station will sit nearly 30 feet above Wadsworth and include staircase and elevator access on both sides of the street. The City of Lakewood has also provided funding to improve some of the amenities (canopies, benches, etc.) at this station. A 1,000 space parking garage will be constructed just east of Wadsworth between 13th and 14th Avenues. The City of Lakewood envisions the Wadsworth Station as being one of the signature stations along the corridor and have completed a station area plan, which can be found here.

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After the trains cross over Wadsworth, they will continue west at 13th Avenue. Sound walls have been installed and are awaiting their coat of brown paint.

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The Garrison Station hasn’t seen much in terms of platform construction yet – but it’s coming. The station is another neighborhood station – no parking will be provided. The Garrison Street Station Area Plan can be found here.

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The trains will cross over Kipling Street on a single span, double track bridge – the first bridge built along the corridor. A bike/pedestrian path paid for by the City of Lakewood will be separated from the trains and the station platform by a fence on the north side of the structure. The bridge has more than 100,000 pounds of reinforcing steel and 3 million pounds of concrete – and as with the Wadsworth bridge, the tracks are attached directly to the bridge deck to lighten the load across Kipling. Sound walls will also be installed along the approaches on either side of the bridge. The 3.1 million pound, 120 foot long bridge will sit 30 feet over Kipling.

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After the trains cross Kipling, the alignment curves slightly to the north where different examples of sound remediation efforts are visible. Homeowners along the alignment who qualified for soundwall installation could choose between the concrete soundwalls, a cash opt-out, or alternative treatments (being the retaining block wall). A contrast between the two is visible in the picture below.

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Many roads throughout this segment of the corridor have been permanently closed to minimize the number of at-grade crossings that the light rail must make and to allow for necessary grade changes.

The Oak Station has some visible construction progress. The initial construction activities have started at the platform site and land to the north (which will become the new 200 space park-n-Ride) is being used for construction staging. The Oak Street Station Area Plan can be found here.

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So that’s it for this West Corridor update. Next week, we’ll take a look at the most visible construction activities along the corridor and some BIG bridges.