GoTriangle’s Durham-Orange Light Rail Transit Project Rendering

HDR Awarded Final Design of $2.5B Durham-Orange Light Rail Line in North Carolina Triangle Region

HDR will lead final design for GoTriangle’s Durham-Orange Light Rail Transit Project, named for the counties it will serve in the Triangle Region of North Carolina. This 17.7-mile urban rail-transit system will be North Carolina’s first outside the Charlotte metro. It will offer an alternative to already congested roadways as burgeoning medical and educational research continues to attract new residents. The region forecasts a double-digit population surge during the next two decades and the new system is expected to accommodate 26,000 trips per day.

The Durham-Orange line will terminate at Chapel Hill in the west and Durham in the east, offering high-quality, dependable transportation that will provide access to job centres, education, healthcare and affordable housing. Estimated total project cost is $2.48 billion and completion is expected in 2028. The light rail is planned to have stations serving three major universities, including Duke University, the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill and North Carolina Central University. The new transit system will also provide convenient access to research hospitals at Duke and UNC, as well as the Durham VA Medical Centre.

The alignment for the new line will span 16 bridge structures, accounting for more than 3 miles of track. HDR’s team will design all of the bridges, and HDR will lead engineering and architecture for infrastructure along the entire alignment, which includes 18 stations, a maintenance facility and a parking garage. In addition to final design and project management, HDR is leading track design, traffic management, utility relocation, site planning and roadway design. And during earlier phases, HDR performed environmental studies and geotechnical engineering.

After the state legislature reduced and deferred allocated dollars for the project in 2016, HDR’s finance team, led by Sharon Greene, helped GoTriangle develop a strategic funding plan to demonstrate the project’s viability to the Federal Transit Administration. The plan called for modifying existing agreements to increase local contributions from participating counties. And the FTA announced on July 28 its approval for the project to enter final design.

“We’re proud to help GoTriangle bring the region’s first rail-transit system online as more and more people move to the region and are looking for reliable alternatives to driving,” said HDR Transit Director Tom Waldron. “It’s a privilege to be part of expanding access to employment, education, recreation and healthcare. And we’re excited about what this infrastructure will do to develop vibrant, affordable, transit-oriented communities as the light rail strengthens an already fast-growing economy.”

About HDR’s Transit Experience

Because transit is not one size fits all, we help clients with everything from navigating the FAST Act and other funding alternatives, to managing program development and design, to providing construction management for new and established systems. Our wide-ranging portfolio includes managing the San Diego Mid-Coast Corridor Transit project, the Government Centre Station renovation design in Boston, the Downtown Rapid Transit Expansion Study in Toronto and consulting on every phase of the new Kansas City modern streetcar. In addition to planning and engineering, our experts help clients with strategic funding, economic analysis, public engagement, real estate services, program/project controls, risk management and operations and maintenance.

About HDR

For more than a century, HDR has partnered with clients to shape communities and push the boundaries of what’s possible. Our expertise spans 10,000 employees, in more than 225 locations around the world — and counting. Our engineering, architecture, environmental and construction services bring an impressive breadth of knowledge to every project. Our optimistic approach to finding innovative solutions defined our past and drives our future.