Phoenix light rail work halfway complete

PHOENIX - Valley transportation and construction officials are about to celebrate a major milestone. After nearly 18 months of construction, work on the 19th Avenue Light Rail expansion project is halfway complete.

"I survived the first round, I hope I can get through the second half," said 19th Avenue business owner Greg Clark.

Clark owns an automotive repair shop that has been hit hard by the construction project. Clark said business has been down anywhere between 30 and 45 percent ever since construction started.

"Business in this economy is a rollercoaster ride as it is, so when you get hit by construction the lows get lower and the highs are lowers so the rollercoaster is a lot worse," said Clark.

Construction on the light rail project began in January of 2013. Workers will eventually expand light rail service along 19th Avenue from Montabello north to Dunlap.

Valley Metro officials said the expanded line will serve 20,000 people and support 20,000 employees.

In the meantime many people who live and travel in the area say the construction project has been a big inconvenience.

Ed Mossberg said getting to work and running errands takes about 15 minutes longer than it used to.

"I hate waiting but I'd rather be halfway done than a quarter of the way done. I'm really looking forward to this being done and over with," said Mossberg.

Valley Metro officials say the project is scheduled to be completed in late 2015/early 2016.

On Saturday, elected leaders will celebrate the officials halfway point of construction by laying some of the first pieces of track near the intersection of 19th Ave. and Dunlap.

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