Valley Metro Operations and Maintenance Center Expansion

Phoenix, Arizona

Award of Merit, Excellence in Safety

Submitted By: Hensel Phelps

Owner: Valley Metro Rail Inc.

Lead Design Firm/Civil/Structural: Gannett Fleming

General Contractor: Hensel Phelps

MEP: GLHN Architects & Engineers

Architect: GLHN Architects & Engineers

Architect: Fore Dimensions

Located on 55 acres at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport, the $92.3-million expansion and renovation project included 60,339 sq ft of construction and 39,624 sq ft of renovations. The yard increased by 57,000 sq ft to accommodate 19,386 linear ft of track and 25,898 linear ft of overhead catenary line and an additional traction power substation.

Other additions include new shop space, paved lot, cleaning and sanding platform, train wash, ready room break room, storage and truck parking. The new structure will house 450 operations personnel, including engineers, mechanics operators, signal technicians, maintenance staff and communications staff.

Delivered in September 2021, the project was completed while maintaining 24/7/365 operations, including uninterrupted rail service, working around the live overhead catenary system, uncovering unmapped underground utilities and providing continual office space during the renovations.

Additional safety protocols were observed for all onsite staff, and project-specific training was developed for employees working around the track or buildings. The team staggered work, eliminating crowding work efforts and potential hazards, and a Red-Tag System created redundant safety stop points for tasks requiring power switching and eliminated potential communication gaps among groups normally functioning independently.

Redundancy in communication for every switching event occurred during planning, disconnecting, clearing the track, inspections and sign-offs. Additional way-finding signage and proper signals throughout the yard safeguarded personnel movements around the site and communicated changes in the movements of the light rail vehicles.

The team used technology extensively, including pre-construction laser scanning to provide 1,000 scans of the track layout, site topography and the interior/exterior of the buildings. These were converted into a BIM model to align the as-built drawings and field investigation findings, which were then converted into model data to determine constructability and functionality.