Downtown Rail Reconstruction Project

After more than 30 years, RTD is investing in its oldest rail infrastructure to ensure the long-term integrity of the network. Light rail service began in Denver on October 7, 1994, with 5.3 miles of track connecting 30th and Downing to Interstate 25. Much of today’s downtown track infrastructure, commonly referred to as the Downtown Loop, has been in place since the line was first constructed. This section of track has expanded over the years to now serve 10 rail stations on the D, H and L lines, with street-level trains operating adjacent to pedestrians and vehicular traffic.

RTD is doing a full-depth reconstruction of this section of rail to improve safety and mobility, address deteriorating transit infrastructure and extend the design life of the agency’s key transportation assets.

Downtown Rail Reconstruction Project Overview

The near-term work will occur in four phases, with the first phase commencing in May 2024, focusing on five segments of track at street intersections in the Downtown Loop. Phases two through four of the approximately $152 million-dollar, full-depth reconstruction project will occur in 2025.

This major reconstruction project is the first of its kind in RTD’s history. Between 2012 and 2023, RTD undertook 17 isolated projects in the central corridor to replace sections of curved rail, switches, crossings, signals and other rail infrastructure. The near-term project will leverage previous work done by RTD with time-specific closures to minimize the inconvenience to customers.

Phase 1: May – September 2024

Five at-grade rail and street intersections will be reconstructed in the project’s first phase, located at 15th and Stout, 17th and Stout, 15th and California, 17th and California and Broadway and Welton.

The five impacted intersections will not be reconstructed simultaneously. Instead, RTD will conduct the work in a manner that accounts for impacts to street traffic and has been closely working with the City and County of Denver to discuss potential street closures and develop traffic detour plans. During the project, vehicular traffic in the area may be merged to one lane or rerouted around the intersections for limited periods of time.

Phase 1 Impacts to Service

Beginning May 28, all D and H line trains will be rerouted to Denver Union Station, and L Line service, which connects 30th•Downing Station to the downtown loop, will be suspended. No light rail service will operate in RTD’s central corridor through September 2024. Following completion of the project’s first phase in September, crews will pause reconstruction work until 2025, and all light rail services will resume normal operations.

RTD’s bus routes that operate along 15th and 17th streets may also be temporarily impacted during the project, and the agency is working to limit any detours in the downtown area. Also, with the D and H lines rerouting to Denver Union Station, RTD is planning to temporarily reintroduce its Free MetroRide service, which will operate along 18th and 19th streets. Both the Free MallRide and MetroRide routes provide multiple stops between Union Station and Civic Center Station.

Phase I - Five Intersections

California and 17th

Phases 2–4: 2025

The subsequent three phases of the project will begin in 2025, and work on each phase may simultaneously occur. The agency’s project team, comprising of staff and consultants, is in the process of developing comprehensive reconstruction plans for the latter phases, which include:

Phases 2-4 Impacts to Service

As the project progresses through these phases, bus routes and the D, H and L lines will be impacted at various times. In the same spirit as Phase 1, RTD is developing service plans to account for the work while coordinating with City and County of Denver to minimize impacts to vehicular and pedestrian traffic.

Additional Information

The Downtown Loop in Denver’s Central Business District is part of RTD’s inaugural light rail line and opened in October 1994. After nearly 30 years of continual service, several segments of track along the 5.3-mile corridor, which extends between I-25•Broadway and 30th•Downing stations, require a full-depth reconstruction. The full-depth reconstruction process involves removing all current rail infrastructure, concrete, ties and ballast. Crews will also address drains below the 30-year-old rail system before fully rebuilding each segment.

Customer Tools

Service Alerts

RTD encourages customers to sign up for Service Alerts to receive text and email notifications about future and real-time disruptions that impact specific bus routes, rail line, stop or station.

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Next Ride

Customers are also encouraged to use the Next Ride web app to plan trips, view active Service Alerts, and see bus and train locations in real time.

Access Next Ride Here

Customer Care

For additional route and schedule information, or questions on impacts to service, RTD’s Customer Care agents are available 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. on weekdays, and 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturdays, Sundays and holidays by calling 303.299.6000.

Downtown Rail Reconstruction B-Roll


  1. Glossary of Project Terms
  2. News Release Downtown Rail Reconstruction Project 02 28 2024
  3. Potentially Impacted Bus Routes 2024
  4. Full Depth Reconstruction Illustration 2024
  5. 2023 Boardings Ridership Report
  6. See Previous Downtown Rail Project Photos Here
  7. RTD Rail Map - Downtown Rail Reconstruction Project
  8. Downtown Rail Reconstruction Project Fact Sheet
  9. RTD Board Agenda Packet

Project Maps

Historic Photos