Charlotte Area Transit System will shut down the Lynx Blue Line light rail for two weekends over the next month for construction and repairs. Blue Line trains won’t be running on Saturdays and Sundays, April 30-May 1, and May 7-8.
It’s the first complete shutdown since the Blue Line opened in 2007, CATS CEO John Lewis said Monday.
"This is an unprecedented action, in regards to eliminating service," Lewis said. "We’ve done cuts between particular stations, but we’ve always kept service throughout the corridor."
During those line cuts, you've had to take a bus between stations. That’s the plan this time, with buses running along the entire Blue Line.
Lewis said CATS scheduled so many projects - and service disruptions - over the next few months that a shutdown made sense.
"We challenged our construction team to ... how can we minimize that window. They came back with, give us two successive weekends, we can finish the work and be out of the corridor through the duration of the construction period," he said.
Workers will upgrade stations and signals, boost electrical power for trains, improve intersections, and repair tracks. Some of the work will help CATS carry more riders, by increasing the length and frequency of trains. When the work is done this summer, CATS will be able to increase trains at peak hours from two cars to three cars.
Meanwhile, other construction over the two weekends is part of the Blue Line northeast extension, from uptown to UNC Charlotte. Lewis says that’s on schedule to open in August 2017, in time for the start of classes.
RideTransit.org - CATS commuter website has more information about the shutdown.