Valley Metro sets Northwest Extension Phase II opening for Jan. 27

Dec. 26, 2023
New areas of northwest Phoenix will be connected via the 1.6-mile extension to Mesa, Tempe and downtown Phoenix.

Phoenix transit riders will be able to venture to new areas of northwest Phoenix by rail starting Jan. 27 when Valley Metro begins service on its 1.6-mile Northwest Extension Phase II.  The extension expands light-rail service farther into northwest Phoenix running west from 19th and Dunlap avenues, going north on 25th Avenue, then west on Mountain View Road crossing the I-17 freeway to the redeveloping Metrocenter area. Valley Metro and Phoenix officials plan to celebrate the achievement with a ribbon-cutting ceremony and community celebration. 

The extension includes three new light-rail stations, a four-story parking garage, a rail-only bridge over the I-17 freeway, seven community-driven public art installations and enhanced landscaping, which includes 200 new trees. 

The extension features the city’s first elevated station and the transit center located under it was named in honor of transportation advocate and former Mayor, Councilmember and Valley Metro Chair Thelda Williams. Williams, who died in November 2023, was a strong proponent of Phoenix's voter-approved transportation plan - Transportation 2050 - which helps fund various key projects throughout the city through the year 2050.

“As Phoenix continues growing, so does the need for reliable, affordable transportation options that can connect Phoenicians to opportunities all over town,” Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego said. “Whether it’s going to work, to the doctor’s office or to visit loved ones, I believe every person should be able to get where they need to go without relying on a car. The Northwest Extension II -- by way of the newly named Thelda Williams Transit Center -- is going to deliver on that vision, while at the same time helping us reduce carbon emissions in the long-term. Three years in the making, the extension is going to breathe life into neighborhoods around the Metrocenter development, accelerate private and public investment in the area and improve quality of life for Phoenix residents.”

The second phase of the extension builds on the success of the Northwest Extension Phase I, which opened in 2016. That same year, Phoenix City Council approved accelerating segments of the future high-capacity transit system under the Transportation 2050 plan, which saw construction of the Northwest Extension Phase II project in 2020 and its opening is occurring two years ahead of the original 2026 projected date. 

“The opening of the Northwest Extension Phase II is a remarkable milestone in Valley Metro Rail’s vision to provide multi-modal connectivity across our region,” said Phoenix Councilmember and Valley Metro Rail Board Chair Laura Pastor. “Extensions like this demonstrate our ongoing commitment to deliver high-quality public transit that our region both needs and deserves.”

The project is funded by $213 million in local Transportation 2050 funds; $30 million from regional transportation sales tax funds and $158 million in federal funding through the Federal Transit Administration’s Capital Investment Grants Program

Jacobs Engineering provided design services for the project. The joint venture of Kiewit-McCarthy performed construction of the extension.

About the Author

Mischa Wanek-Libman | Editor in Chief

Mischa Wanek-Libman serves as editor in chief of Mass Transit magazine. She is responsible for developing and maintaining the magazine’s editorial direction and is based in the western suburbs of Chicago.

Wanek-Libman has spent more than 20 years covering transportation issues including construction projects and engineering challenges for various commuter railroads and transit agencies. She has been recognized for editorial excellence through her individual work, as well as for collaborative content. 

She is an active member of the American Public Transportation Association's Marketing and Communications Committee and serves as a Board Observer on the National Railroad Construction and Maintenance Association (NRC) Board of Directors.  

She is a graduate of Drake University, where she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism and Mass Communication with a major in magazine journalism and a minor in business management.