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Installation of the guideway foundation and 40 columns that will support the maglev elevated transportation system began earlier this week.

Construction will begin on the western edge of the pedestrian walkway at Powhatan Avenue and will proceed eastward along the east-west walkway across Hampton Boulevard, ending on 46th Street in the University Village construction site.

During the construction period, sections of the east-west campus walkway will be closed to pedestrian and golf cart traffic. Signs and fences will clearly direct traffic to a temporary detour. As the construction progresses eastward, the detour routes will be modified accordingly.

Construction will last for approximately eight to 12 weeks. If all goes according to schedule, 100 percent installation of the guideway columns and 90 percent of the guideway beam placement should be completed by Aug. 24. The remaining 10 percent of the beam placement will be constructed within the University Village and will have minimal impact on the main campus.

Old Dominion faculty and staff members will receive weekly e-mail updates regarding the project's progress throughout construction.

The $14 million project is a partnership between Old Dominion, American Maglev Technology, the commonwealth of Virginia and Dominion Resources. Lockheed Martin is designing the vehicle and track.

The track will start just across Powhatan Avenue from the Powhatan Apartments and end on the east side of Hampton Boulevard at 46th Street, between the Technology Building and the Constant Convocation Center. Elevated stations, with stairs and an elevator, will be located at each end. A third station will be built near the midpoint of the 3,200-feet route, near Webb Center.

The vehicle, which will magnetically levitate on a cushion of air one-quarter inch above two rails, will be approximately 40 feet long, 7 1/2 feet wide and 9 feet tall. It will travel at about 40 mph and carry up to 140 passengers. The travel time between each stop will be one minute.

Monitors in the vehicle, in the elevators and at the stations will be connected to the Office of Public Safety.

The maglev vehicle will run 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. each day, except when the university is closed or for scheduled maintenance.

Because the track will be elevated, pedestrians will still be able to use the walkway underneath the structure.

Robert Fenning, acting vice president for administration and finance, said allocations from Parking Services will finance the annual operation of the system, estimated at $70,000 to $100,000. He noted that there is no need at this time to increase parking fees to help pay for the system's operation, and that there will be no charge to ride.

This article was posted on: June 28, 2001

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