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The Charlotte City Council last week authorized $249.8 million for construction related to the Charolotte Area Transit System's (CATS) LYNX Blue Line Extension (BLE) and Blue Line Capacity project.The council approved a $119 million contract with Lane Construction Corp. for civil construction services for the BLE from Old Concord Road to the University of North Carolina Charlotte. Work includes building bridges, arterial roadways and retaining walls; creation of erosion control; sewer and water main installation and drainage; and traffic signals and traffic control, CATS officials said in a press release.The BLE will extend the LYNX light-rail line 9.3 miles from Uptown Charlotte to the UNC Charlotte campus, and include 11 stations and four parking facilities. The line is scheduled to begin operations in spring 2017.In addition, an approved $130.8 million contract, which covers the track and system construction of the BLE at $114 million, was awarded to Balfour Beatty Infrastructure Inc. The company will be responsible for the installation of light-rail track, train control and signal systems, communications systems, and overhead catenary and traction-power systems.The remaining $16.4 million of the contract will go toward expansion of platforms and systems on the current LYNX Blue Line. Platforms will be expanded to accommodate three-car trains at the Interstate 485/South Boulevard, Stonewall and Seventh Street stations. Upgrades also will be made to the communications, power, train control and signal systems to run the longer train. The end track at the I-485 station will be extended to store the three-car trains during large ridership special events, city officials said.