CATS LYNX Blue Line Extension 

More than a decade in the making, the 9.3-mile Charlotte Area Transit System (CATS) Blue Line Extension (BLE) builds upon the success of the initial CATS LYNX Blue Line. The 9.3 miles of extended light rail meets the current and future transportation needs of Charlotte’s fast-growing communities. In just a few months of opening ridership on the light rail line increased by 48%. 

STV served as lead designer, providing preliminary and final design for the double-track light-rail corridor extension; the firm also conducted environmental impact studies for the alignment. STV designed all 9.3 miles of light rail tracks, 1.5 miles of relocated freight track, 4.5 miles of widened roadways, 20 grade crossings, 11 stations, 13 bridges, more than 80 retaining walls, as well as a new maintenance and storage facility. 

STV also designed upgrades for LYNX’s existing maintenance building. Developing these designs required extensive coordination with freight and passenger railroads and the North Carolina Department of Transportation. With the increased parking needs along the corridor, STV designed three new parking garages and one surface lot. Construction administration services were provided for the new parking garages and lot, as well as the light rail maintenance and storage facilities.  

The BLE fulfills a long-held vision of connecting Charlotte’s residential neighborhoods with the city’s vibrant arts, entertainment, education, retail and job centers. Its increased ridership has also generated greater economic development in the city.  

After the BLE opened, the program was honored by the American Council of Engineering Companies in North Carolina and at the national level, as well as Engineering News-Record.

light rail tracks

grade crossings


One of the largest public works projects in North Carolina history links Charlotte’s residential and urban neighborhoods.


Charlotte Area Transit System


Charlotte, North Carolina


Transit & Rail: LRT & Streetcars, Maintenance & Operations Facilities, Stations & Terminals


Advisory: Economic Analysis

Design & Engineering: Architecture, Civil Engineering, Electrical Engineering, Mechanical/HVAC Engineering, Structural Engineering

Planning: Environmental Planning, Operations & Service Planning, Transportation Planning