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December 15, 2000
Cityplace Station Opens December 18
Southwest's First Subway Station Takes DART to Another Level
With the help of engineering vision and expertise, the 80-million-year-old Austin Chalk underneath North Central Expressway provides a solid foundation for the very first subway station in the southwest -- Cityplace Station.
The new Cityplace Station is a marvel of underground engineering. Magnificent designs provide a structurally sound, functional and aesthetic station. The tri-level facility reaches depths of 120 feet underneath the expressway.
Cityplace Station is the only stop on DART's 3.25-mile subway linking downtown Dallas and Mockingbird Station. The 21.5-foot diameter tunnel, open since 1997, descends from 40 to 120 feet below the expressway. Along with the tunnel, excavators hollowed out the shell for what has become Cityplace Station. The construction of this tunnel ranks, in difficulty, with damming the Red River or constructing a skyscraper.
Cityplace Station Planning
Interior completion of the new Cityplace Station began in February 1999. The station includes a concourse, mezzanine and platforms. Passengers first enter either the west or east entrance and continue to the mezzanine level where the paths merge. They then descend to the platform to board the trains.
"There is no perfect set of plans, especially when you are going back into an existing facility, especially an underground site," said Gary Thomas, Senior Vice President of Project Management. "We were prepared to modify our plans according to the actual state and measurements of the site; fortunately our expectations of the existing facility were quite precise."
To construct the station, workers drilled and removed rock to form rooms and then waterproofed the rock above the ceilings. Lastly, they poured an inside layer of concrete to complete the shell. Water now drains off the concrete ceiling into drainage pipes along the outsides of the walls. Due to the nature of underground design, the ceilings of all rooms and hallways in Cityplace Station are dome-shaped. This design effectively distributes weight to maximize structural strength; it is also the most effective design for draining off water.
Transporting Passengers to the Trains
Escalators and inclined elevators save passengers a 257-step walk from top to bottom. Four of the six escalators in Cityplace Station range from 128 to 138 feet long, making them, according to the escalator manufacturer, the longest escalators west of the Mississippi River.
"The escalators had to be brought in on the work trains during the night," said Bo Cung, a Construction Engineer Manager for DART. "To fit on the work trains, we had to dismantle each of the longest escalators into seven separate pieces and then assemble them inside the station."
The inclined elevators at Cityplace Station are reported to be two of only six in the country. Inclined elevators are like elevators with the exception that they travel at an angle, moving horizontally as well as vertically. These inclined elevators, chosen over elevators, are not only more practical because of the design of the station, but also because they save a considerable amount of horizontal distance for the passengers utilizing them.
The most important concern of construction remains the safety of the workers. Due to existing development above Cityplace Station, workers were unable to simply dig a deep hole and lower equipment into the station. Instead, builders used the light rail tracks to deliver construction equipment and supplies.
"Even though people were working on the station 24 hours a day, the work train, delivering construction necessities, only ran from 8 p.m. to 4 a.m.," says Cung. "During this time, both passenger rail lines were shifted to the same track, allowing the work train to occupy the other."
Completion of Cityplace Station
Constant work has led to the completion of the 33,000 square feet station in less than a year. Thomas joins Cung in attributing the success of the Cityplace Station construction to the detailed coordination among contractors and companies.
"The Cityplace building management and tenants have been very cooperative and that has helped a great deal," says Thomas. "The contractors and companies contributing to the construction of Cityplace Station have kept a great attitude and have consistently met their deadlines."
Cityplace Station, the very first subway station in the Southwest, is a landmark accomplishment for Texas and the whole region. Literally going to new levels, even if they are lower, the station expands and advances the state of public transportation in the region.
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