SEPI provided material testing and inspection along the Charlotte Area Transit System (CATS) 9.5-mile, double track light rail Blue Line Extension project.

This extension of the existing Blue Line light rail provides service from Center City Charlotte, through the North Davidson Historic Arts District and University City area, to a terminus on the University of North Carolina (UNC) Charlotte campus. This extension connected with the existing LYNX Blue Line at the existing 7th Street Station in Center City Charlotte, and created an 18.6-mile north/south rapid transit line.

The project included 11 new light rail stations, with approximately 3,100 parking spaces at four stations. The project also included approximately 20 at-grade street crossings and 11 bridge structures over or under roads, railroads, and environmental features. In addition, a large portion of the rail was located in the center of US 29, North Tryon Street, which required extensive asphalt pavement work.

The heavy, complex, urban project required construction under extreme traffic congestion with significant utility conflicts. The rail entered the center of US 29, North Tryon Street, at Orr Road and remained in the median for approximately four miles, requiring the reconstruction of a portion of North Tryon Street (NC 49).

This project was executed in over 15 separately advertised and awarded construction contracts, and carried a tight construction schedule, meaning multiple separate contractors worked in the same area to complete the overall project on schedule. Extremely tight coordination and efficient scheduling of resources were necessary for the success of this project. The rail corridor traveled over several miles and jurisdictions with varying construction requirements.

SEPI assisted in establishing the asphalt-testing laboratory and provided asphalt testing, concrete inspection, and density determination to meet NCDOT specifications. SEPI inspection staff provided inspection services for drilled shaft and MSE wall operations.

Staff were responsible for inspecting other infrastructure associated with this project, such as park and ride parking decks, commuter parking lots, and pedestrian facilities linked to this corridor, such as sidewalk, multi-use trails, and bicycle lanes.

SEPI also monitored the review of project documentation against CATS, FTA, City of Charlotte, and NCDOT to help ensure compliance of known specifications.