- Associated Press - Wednesday, June 3, 2015

PHOENIX (AP) - The latest addition to the light rail in metropolitan Phoenix is set to open on August 22 with three additional miles in Mesa, Valley Metro officials announced Wednesday.

The nearly $200 million project was completed seven months ahead of schedule.

The new light rail line runs along Main Street and connects Sycamore street with Mesa Drive. Officials say the three extra miles of light rail will add four stations, one park-and-ride, and about 5,000 daily riders. The addition of four stations will allow residents to easily commute to and from shopping centers, restaurants, and educational institutions. About 47,000 people ride the light rail now across Phoenix, Mesa and Tempe.

Valley Metro spokeswoman Susan Tierney said officials were able to work much faster than they anticipated. Tierney attributes the speed of the ongoing project to effective communication between construction workers, city officials, and community residents.

Before the opening of the new line on August 22, there will be various tests conducted to ensure new traffic signals and restrictions are running smoothly and train conductors are properly trained. As part of the testing, residents will see empty trains along the new line.

Valley Metro officials said they plan to begin another, two-mile addition to the Mesa line sometime in the next year.

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