Denver RTD on Track in Downtown Rail Reconstruction Project

By Pauline Haberman | 7/5/2024

Special Projects Manager
Regional Transportation District (RTD)
Denver, CO

Work got underway in early June on a project by the Regional Transportation District (RTD) to replace 30-year-old segments of light rail track at five intersections in Denver for the agency’s Downtown Rail Reconstruction Project.

Through mid-September, RTD’s downtown rail replacement project will be completed in four phases, focusing on improving tracks at five key intersections in the Downtown Loop: Broadway and Welton, 15th and Stout, 15th and California, 17th and Stout, and 17th and California.

To minimize impacts to the public, construction will not happen simultaneously at all five intersections. Instead, RTD will conduct the work in stages with planned closures and detours.

Crews will remove all current rail infrastructure, including concrete, ties, ballast, and other track material before rebuilding each section. This work is part of a full-depth reconstruction of the Downtown Loop segment of RTD’s original light rail track, which has been in place since service first began in October 1994.

Replacing the rail is necessary to improve safety and mobility, address deteriorating transit infrastructure, and extend the life of a crucial piece of Denver’s public transportation system.

The first intersection, a full closure of Broadway at Welton Street, saw early success, thanks to extensive cooperation and coordination between RTD, the City and County of Denver, and project contractor KCI Construction. The Broadway intersection reopened to vehicle traffic five days ahead of the projected completion date for the 20-day closure, and in advance of downtown Independence Day events.

Reconstruction is now taking place in the second phase of the Broadway and Welton intersection work, 19th Street, and is projected to be complete July 8. Vehicle access, as well as access to businesses, parking lots, and garages, is being maintained throughout this phase of work.

Following completion of the reconstruction of the Broadway and Welton intersection in early July, work will progress through the four intersections at 15th and Stout, 15th and California, 17th and Stout, and 17th and California.

While construction is underway, RTD has temporarily reinstated the free MetroRide bus that travels from Denver Union Station and Civic Center Station along 18th and 19th streets.