By Melissa Garcia
DENVER, (CBS4) – An administrative judge has ruled that the Regional Transportation District can resume testing on its Gold Line.
Once open, the commuter rail G Line will provide a direct route between downtown Denver’s Union Station to Wheat Ridge, passing through north Denver and Arvada.
Testing on the line stopped in July after troubles with the A Line commuter rail to Denver International Airport caused a ripple effect that delayed the G Line’s opening.
From July up until Tuesday’s ruling, RTD had only been allowed to test the line on a limited basis, up to once a week.
The judicial decision means that full testing can resume.
The commuter rail zoomed through a station in old town Arvada Wednesday morning, one of eight stops on the highly anticipated new infrastructure.
“It will take 15 minutes to get downtown,” said Richie Ramos, an Arvada resident who takes a bus from a park and ride station off Wadsworth and 56th Avenue every day to get to work in downtown Denver.
“It just takes longer,” Ramos said of his bus commute. “Kind of a big hassle. They (can be) late. If they’re stuck in snow, they kick off passengers.”
James Lemieux, another Arvada resident said the new G Line will help him tremendously with his five day per week commute to work downtown.
“It will be awesome. I can’t wait,” said Lemieux.
Multiple bus transfers to get to his destination make for a long commute. “About an hour and a half or two hours sometimes (each way),” Lemieux told CBS4’s Melissa Garcia.
Problems with the A Line’s crossing arms coming down too soon and staying down too long delayed testing of the GLine, which also uses “positive train control” technology.
The Public Utilities Commission (PUC) requires the full-on testing, scheduled to officially begin on Tuesday, prior to allowing the line to open for public use.
“I think it’s going to be the best thing that ever happened to Arvada,” said Gary Gorman, a Colorado native who grew up in the area. “It’s going to be fast, and I hope they can get it straightened out.”
RTD officials expect to open the G Line to passengers sometime in 2018.
A re-hearing with the PUC is scheduled for mid-March, but could happen as early as February.
The hearing, in part, will determine how quickly the G Line can get rolling.