Connecting communities. Enhancing lives. 

That's the mission statement for Valley Metro, which has emerged as one of the top transportation agencies in the country over the last decade. 

As Valley Metro continues to celebrate its growth with further expansions just on the way with the South Central Phoenix/Downtown Hub, Northwest Phoenix Extension II, Capital I-10West and Tempe Streetcar, why not look back to one of the most exciting times in Valley Metro’s history?

Ground was broken for the creation of the light rail tracks fifteen years ago. It all started at 56 Street and Washington for the initial plans of the 20-mile light rail system through the Valley of the Sun.

Now, light rail tracks stretch roughly 13 miles both eastbound and westbound of that location. That line of rail was referred to as “Line Section 4.” Prior to embedding rail, crews were tasked with relocating utilities, widening streets and removing medians, curbs and sidewalks on Washington Street near the Tempe/Phoenix border.

Map of Valley Metro line projects

The project for getting the first 20-mile stretch of rail completed was broken into five line sections, the light rail bridge on Tempe Town Lake and the Operations and Maintenance Center .

In July of 2005, construction officially got underway in downtown Phoenix along Central Avenue from Polk to Washington streets.

That was just the beginning. While the year of 2005 began to lay the foundation, things really heated up in 2006.

On March 6, Valley Metro officially announced the first 200 feet of in-street tracks were installed near Washington and 56 Street. By the end of the year, the first light rail vehicle was arrived.

As we look back to see the progress of the Valley’s light rail system, it’s hard not to be excited about the continued plans for more expansion as Valley Metro continues to connect communities and enhance lives.

John Zetmeir
Rail Operations Communications Specialist
Professional communicator and avid sports fan. Proud Kansas native enjoying life in the Valley of the Sun. Always enjoying a trip to the gym followed by a good plate of tacos.