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Ground to be broken on light rail extension

PHOENIX -- Ground will be broken Saturday on a project to extend metro Phoenix's light rail system by three miles.

"It's just over a three-mile extension," said Melissa Quillard with Valley Metro. "There will be three new light rail stations, a brand new park-and-ride -- located on 19th Ave. and Dunlap -- and it's going to give access to more than 20,000 commuters every day."

The new section of line will be built on 19th Avenue in Phoenix from Montebello Avenue northward to Dunlap Avenue. Quillard said the area is "dense" with commuters.

"This stretch of light rail is going to serve a really dense residential area, many schools. It ultimately will stimulate growth and economic activity all the way along the line."

The groundbreaking will be commemorated with an event at the southwest corner of 19th Ave. and Dunlap, complete with activities, local food and entertainment.

Construction will begin Monday.

The $300 million project is slated to be completed in late 2015 or early 2016.

The first 20-miles of light rail opened in December 2008.

Six light rail extensions are under way that will create a 57-mile system by 2032.

KTAR's Martha Maurer contributed to this report.

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