Transit and Railroad

Blue Line Rehabilitation

Location: San Diego, California

The South Line (Blue Line) was the first light rail transit (LRT) project put in service in San Diego from downtown to San Ysidro at the border to Mexico. The trolley line opened to revenue service in the early 1980s and is the oldest segment of the San Diego Trolley network. DEA and its team was contracted to create final plans, specifications, and construction cost estimates (PS&E) and provide DSDC services for various projects within the Blue Line Segment. San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG) issued six task orders for work along the South Line, for the design of grade crossing improvements, traction power contact wire replacement, track crossovers, railroad signalling improvements, corridor surveying, and fiber optics communications design (both aerial and underground).

The trackwork and signalling task consisted of the development of final design documents for new track and special trackwork, and a complete upgrade of the existing signalling system along the 16-mile corridor, while maintaining operations. The locations proposed for the new crossovers were intended to support future operational changes to provide larger work windows for station reconstruction along the corridor, meet current and proposed operational needs, minimize impacts to the current signalling system, and create no impacts to future improvements. In addition, stimulus money was targeted for utilization due to the ability to get the project shovel ready within the specified time period. As such, the DEA team worked with SANDAG and MTS staff to modify the scope and accelerate the work to meet the funding demands. These challenges were solved through excellent teamwork and communication between the project team and stakeholders.

To survey the corridor, DEA employed state-of-the-art technology mobile 3D Laser High Definition Scanning (HDS) to conduct the design survey and provide topographic information along the project corridor and the 28 at-grade street crossings. With assistance from MTS, DEA mounted a mobile scanning system in the pickup truck bed of a High Rail vehicle, which was driven along the rail at a speed of approximately 40 mph for the 16-mile corridor, collecting thousands of data points.

Project Awards

  • 2010 Engineering Excellence Honor Award, ACEC California