RTD broke ground June 29 on the final element of the West Rail Line that will serve Denver, Lakewood, Golden and Jefferson County. With construction now under way on the five-story, 800-space parking garage at Sheridan Boulevard and 10th Avenue, RTD is one step closer to opening the 12.1-mile line in April 2013—eight months ahead of schedule. The structure, which is expected to serve more than 3,700 cars each weekday, will open with the rest of the line next April.

The West Rail Line, the first of RTD’s FasTracks rail lines, has also served as an economic engine for the metro area. It is estimated that 200 people will be needed to construct this latest parking garage.

“Since RTD began implementing FasTracks in 2005, we have created thousands of jobs and have helped the Denver metro area weather the economic recession,” said Phil Washington, RTD general manager. “On the West Line alone, $295 million has been added to the local economy and more than 600 jobs have been created.”

Swinerton Builders Colorado, which is also building the RTD parking garage at Wadsworth Boulevard and 14th Avenue in Lakewood, is constructing the Sheridan garage. The structure is designed to maximize sustainable features such as low water-use landscaping, stormwater quality, bicycle parking, and provisions for future solar panels and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles. Swinerton will recycle material during construction and implement a site management plan for erosion control and containing all construction debris.

“We’re proud to be partnering with RTD to develop a key component in such a crucial transit system,” said Scott Conrad, Swinerton Builders vice president and Colorado division manager.

The groundbreaking drew 130 people, including members of RTD’s board of directors and representatives from the Urban Land Conservancy.

The West Rail Line will serve Denver, Lakewood, Golden and Jefferson County, connecting Denver Union Station to the Jefferson County Government Center. It is scheduled to open with an expected daily ridership of 19,300.

“RTD is gaining attention with this rail line on which we begin to finalize work today. I applaud RTD for showing how to implement infrastructure projects through difficult times,” said Denver Mayor Michael Hancock.