San Diego Mid-Coast Trolley Blue Line light-rail extension opens to public

Nov. 22, 2021

Project extends the light-rail line from the Old Town Transit Center north to the University Towne Centre Transit Center

The Mid-Coast Trolley Project—an 11-mile light-rail extension of the University of California (UC) San Diego Trolley Blue Line—celebrated its official opening on Sunday, Nov. 21.

The extension provides a critical new connection for San Diego, extending the light-rail transit line from the Old Town Transit Center north to the University Towne Centre (UTC) Transit Center in University City. The UC San Diego Blue Line now provides a one-seat connection from UTC to downtown San Diego, and south to the U.S.-Mexico border.

WSP USA served as the lead environmental and engineering consultant for more than a decade on behalf of its client, the San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG), according to a press release.

As the designer of record, WSP was charged with advancing the $2.1 billion project from environmental clearance and conceptual engineering through construction, including track and systems design and operations analysis, station design, traffic engineering, civil and utilities design, and structures design. WSP also provided grant procurement services that led to a $1 billion Federal Transit Administration Full Funding Grant Agreement in 2016, clearing the way for construction to begin. The project was completed on time and on budget, according to WSP USA.

“At a time when we are witnessing rapid population growth in this popular section of San Diego, the Mid-Coast Trolley is arriving to provide critically needed public transit service along this highly congested corridor,” Kimberly Jaskot, WSP project manager for design services during construction, said in a statement.

In addition to 11 miles of new double tracks, the project included the design and construction of eight bridge crossings, nearly 7 miles of at-grade alignment in or near existing railroad right-of-way, more than 4 miles of aerial viaduct structures, and nine stations—five at-grade and four aerial. The project also included 1,170 new parking spaces at five of the new stations.

In addition to WSP USA, the team included T.Y. Lin International in partnership with HDR, program management; Jacobs and PGH Wong, construction management; and the Mid-Coast Transit Constructors CM/GC team, a joint venture of Stacy and Witbeck, Herzog, and Skanska.