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Light-rail construction ramps up under downtown Mesa

MESA, Ariz. -- Besides weaving through the traffic barriers and orange cones along Main Street, there aren't many signs that construction on light rail has picked up in downtown Mesa.

That's because most of the work, starting this week through summer, will be taking place underground.

"The critical part of a light part of a light rail project is working underground and getting the underground utilities managed," said Susan Tierney, Valley Metro communications manager.

"That means relocated, sometimes replacing them and upgrading them."

The construction has forced some traffic restrictions on Main Street, from Alma School Road to Mesa Drive.

"Currently though downtown Mesa we have narrowed travel to one lane in each direction," Tierney said. "Midway through the summer we're going to be shifting traffic from the south side of Main Street to the north side."

While that has some business in the area concerned about a drop in sales, Valley Metro assures that the construction will not limit access to downtown stores.

In addition, construction will be suspended after Sept. 30th, when more tourists visit and the holiday shopping season ramps up.

The project linking downtown Mesa to the rest of the 20-mile light-rail track is expected to be completed in early 2016.

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