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December 1, 2008

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AROUND THE INDUSTRY

First Light Rail Tracks Laid in Hampton Roads Region of Virginia

The first tracks of The Tide – the new light rail system in the Hampton Roads region of Virginia – were laid Nov. 19 in Norfolk, near the eastern end of the planned line.

The Tide will extend 7.4 miles from the East Virginia Medical Center through downtown Norfolk, continuing along the Norfolk Southern right-of-way, adjacent to I-264. Eleven stations will be built along the route, with four park-and-ride locations near such major areas as Norfolk State University, Tidewater Community College, and City Hall.

“This is the first rail that has been laid for the light rail project,” said Barry Hertslet, the project’s construction manager.

The double set of train tracks is embedded in pre-cast concrete and designed for road crossings. The installed section has the look of a single slab with rails built in place. As other sections of track are installed, such as on trestle bridges, they will take on the familiar look of rail lines linked with wooden ties. Some sections of track will be set in a heavy type of gravel known as ballast, while others will be embedded directly into a new street surface, a configuration typical of downtown Norfolk.

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