Chris Poehler, P.E, project director for Cross County MetroLink, says the new extension is the most challenging of all the MetroLink segments.
"I've worked on all four of them, and this one is very different and more challenging because of the corridor," he
"Part of the alignment is on abandoned rail right-of-way, but the first half of the extension - the east-west part - is not.
It is situated in a tight corridor and construction is taking place very near people's homes, so the main issue is coordination with people in the various communities."
Cross County MetroLink
features a significant amount of below grade construction.
"We have small tunnels on the existing MetroLink alignment, but nothing compares to the large tunnels we have on this project," Poehler
adds, "There are a lot of community issues we've had to address while working so close to houses.
"Plus, there are six more contracts that all relate to station finishes," Poehler
"We have broken up the contracts in an attempt to get lots of participation by small, local firms, and minority- and women-owned businesses."
Currently, approximately 650 workers are involved with the project.
"There is a lot of activity," Poehler
made all the original cars for us, and this is our fourth purchase from them," Poehler
According to Poehler
, MetroLink has come a long way since its beginnings.
"Building the first segment was the toughest part - there was a lot of opposition to it," he
"A lot of people said light rail was never going to fly in St. Louis, and it took a lot of effort to get it done.
But we have exceeded ridership projections and MetroLink has been a great success."
"What really makes our light rail system standout from other cities is that in addition to good commuter ridership we have a lot of special event ridership for all the activities downtown - baseball, hockey, football, concerts, etc.," Poehler