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Groundbreaking for New Bus Facility

By Lookout Staff

September 20 -- The Big Blue Bus will break ground next week on a new eco-friendly maintenance facility that will service a growing fleet and features solar panels, reclaimed water and recycled materials.

The 66,000-square-foot state-of-the-art facility -- which will be built on the site of the current maintenance yard at 6th and Colorado Avenue -- will feature 5,000 square feet of offices and 20 new repair bays, including two chassis wash bays, according to transit officials.

The expansion project will increase the size of the bus parking lot, which is currently filled to capacity, and improve the existing maintenance facility, which was built in the 1960s, when the bus system had a much smaller and less technologically advanced fleet, officials said.

“The size of the fleet and the number of buses required to make daily roll-out has significantly increased in the last decade,” said Ralph Merced, Big Blue Bus transit maintenance manager.

“More buses out on the road mean more buses that need to be consistently maintained, fueled, cleaned and repaired. The expansion of the maintenance facility will allow us to have enough room to keep improving our services for many years to come.”

A number of new lines and routes have been added in the past few years, including the Rapid Blue and Mini Blue, increasing the need for more parking space at the maintenance facility, bus officials said.

New services planned for the future, including the expansion of Rapid Blue service to line 7, will require adding longer articulated buses to the fleet, which require more parking space, larger maintenance bays and more powerful lifts, according to Dan Dawson, the agency’s spokesman.

The new maintenance facility will feature locker rooms, a training room, library, parts storage and other specialized areas. The upgrades will utilize the most advanced and sustainable building systems, construction materials and landscaping available today.

Some of the new “green” technologies that will be used in the project include:

  • Photovoltaic panels that collect power from the sun and supply energy to the buildings.
  • Construction materials made of recycled content such as concrete, steel, insulation, and gypsum board to reduce landfill waste.
  • A reclaimed water irrigation system for landscaping and water efficient landscaping plants and materials.
  • Storm water management and site infiltration to ensure water entering the bay will be clean.
  • Carpeting and other interior building materials containing recycled content.
  • Light colored concrete in the bus yard to cool the air temperature and reduce the “heat island” effect.
  • Light colored single-ply roofing called “Cool roof” to reflect solar energy away from the buildings and prevent heat buildup in the facilities.
  • Construction waste management to reduce the amount of material going into landfills.
  • Dual glazed, low-e glazing for interior office spaces to keep the buildings cool in summer and warm in winter.
  • No VOC off-gassing materials, to help keep the interior air fresh and free of toxins.

The three-year construction project is expected to begin in February 2008, with completion expected in early 2010.

The groundbreaking ceremony will take place on Monday, September 24 at 2:30 p.m. at 612 Colorado Avenue

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“More buses out on the road mean more buses that need to be consistently maintained, fueled, cleaned and repaired." Ralph Merced




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