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Work to extend the TriMet's MAX Red Line train to 10 stops between Beaverton and Hillsboro will begin this fall.

PMG FILE PHOTO: CHRISTOPHER OERTELL - Work to extend TriMet's MAX Red Line train to the Fair Complex/HIllsboro Airport stop near Westside Commons, formerly the Washington County Fair Complex, will begin fall 2021.Work to extend TriMet's MAX Red Line train to Hillsboro is set to begin this fall.

Facing increased westbound ridership, the Portland-area transit agency has been developing plans to extend its Red Line to the existing Fair Complex/Hillsboro Airport stop for years.

The stop is located just south of Westside Commons, formerly known as the Washington County Fair Complex.

The project, dubbed "A Better Red," will add Red Line service to 10 stations from Beaverton to Hillsboro that are currently served by the MAX Blue Line only.

Red Line service currently runs from the Portland International Airport to the Beaverton Transit Center.

"Riders in Beaverton and Hillsboro have been asking for more MAX service for years, and we can see why," said Paige Schlupp, project director with TriMet, in a video message.

She added that Blue Line trains continuing from the Beaverton Transit Center to Hillsboro are often packed.

As part of the A Better Red project, TriMet plans to add a second track to sections of the Red Line near the Gateway/Northeast 99th Avenue Transit Center stop in Portland and at the Portland International Airport. Delayed Red Line trains in the east side area can impact the entire system, TriMet officials said.

The whole project will cost about $215 million, according to TriMet.

The budget includes funding for four new light rail vehicles to accommodate the increased service.

The agency recently secured $100 million in federal funding for the project from the Federal Transit Administration.

Work on signals and switches to allow the new Red Line service along the existing trackway will begin this fall, agency officials said. TriMet will also build a new walkway and break facility for MAX operators at the Fair Complex/Hillsboro Airport stop.

The extended Red Line service will begin in 2024, officials said.

COURTESY IMAGE: TRIMET - A rendering shows the existing TriMet's existing Fair Complex/Hillsboro Airport MAX station platform with a planned new walkway and break facility for MAX operators.Riders can expect the closure of some "park and ride" spaces at Fair Complex/Hillsboro Airport station and MAX service interruptions, with shuttle buses connecting stations, officials said.

The transit agency said the project is expected to create up to 1,200 jobs for the region.

The project has a goal of awarding 19% of the design funding and 20% of the construction funding to firms supporting businesses owned by people of color and women, officials said.

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