South Central Extension construction is building a bright transportation future | Valley Metro
Preview graphic of completed South Central Extension light rail station

It continues to be a very busy time as construction crews working for Valley Metro build a new light rail corridor. 

When it’s finished, light rail trains will operate on Central Avenue from downtown for five miles to Baseline Road. You will soon see eight light rail stops plus two park-and-ride areas.

I was curious about what’s happening along the South Central Avenue/Downtown Hub. 

As I drove down Central Avenue, I couldn’t help but notice the orange barricades. The traffic signs and barricades direct drivers through the long construction zone as traffic patterns shift.  There, crews are busy relocating utilities to make way for life-changing transportation.

Heavy machinery at South Central Extension project

It was both hands on the wheel and a slow procession, but I could see progress.

I liked  the noticeable business signs along Central Avenue in the construction area. They’re intended to direct motorists to restaurants, shops, businesses, and churches.

Approaching an overpass in the South Central Extension project

The manager of the  South Central Extension/Downtown Hub project, Luis Mota, said things are going well. “We are more than halfway there,” Mota said. 

The latest construction progress includes:

  • The installation of new track turnaround loops at McKinley Street and 5th Street.
  • New connections on the Washington and Central Avenue tracks for the Downtown Hub
  • Replacement of the CityScape Pedestrian bridge 
  • Completion of the Quarry Bridge (Overbank Trail) underpass at the Salt River
  • Protecting the Central Avenue Bridge against erosion while reinforcing the bridge foundation for light rail trains
  • Completion of half of the Western Canal widening just north of Baseline Road.

I invite you to visit the South Central Extension Community Office if you have some time. There’s lots of information available. It’s located at 5040 South Central Avenue and is open every day from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. 

More information is available at and

Mark Carlson
Mark Carlson
Rail Operations Communications Specialist
Mark Carlson is an Operations Communications Specialist with Valley Metro. He brings 40 years of newsroom experience to his position including working as a newsroom supervisor for 23 years with The Associated Press in Washington, D.C., and Phoenix. In addition to serving as a writer, editor, anchor, and reporter for radio stations in Phoenix and Los Angeles, he also worked as a television assignment editor and digital news writer and editor in Phoenix and Baltimore. A Phoenix native, Mark attended Maryvale High.