Tammy Mutasa, Rockwall County Reporter
Rowlett got its first look at how the Dallas Area Rapid Transit train will run as DART ran its first test on the Blue Line extension from downtown Garland to downtown Rowlett.
Dallas Area Rapid Transit ran its first test of the Blue Line expansion to Rowlett on Wednesday morning.
Crews walked along the tracks, checking every detail as the train traveled up to 5 mph. The five-mile light-rail extension will run from downtown Garland to downtown Rowlett.
Rowlett Mayor Todd Gottel said the Blue Line couldn't have come any sooner.
"I am thrilled to be on the inaugural voyage," Gottel said. "Our citizens have waited 27 years for this day, and it's been talked for a very long time."
Currently, the Blue Line's last stop is in downtown Garland. The extension is scheduled to open on Dec. 3.
"It means access," Gottel said. "One of the issues that over the many many years we've been here, has been is accessibility into our city."
Construction on the $180 million project started about three years ago.
Gray Thomas, DART president, sees development for the region.
"You see you kind of imagine what the opportunities are around the station, what's going to happen down the road," he said. "What's going to happen five years, 10 years, 50 years from now with this infrastructure."
The city of Garland said it hopes to benefit from the extension too.
"We're going to have so many new riders getting on the train in Rowlett and coming through downtown, and they're going to see everything we have to offer," Councilwoman Laura Perkins-Cox said.
Amy Shiell, owner of Big Star Burger in Rowlett, said she expects more business when the extension is complete.
"We're really excited about it," she said. "We're glad to see trains running back there. It's been a long process."