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DENVER - The East Rail Line is well on its way to be a reliable form of transportation from Denver Union Station to Denver International Airport.

The Regional Transportation District said the project is nearly 60 percent complete.

25 percent of the rail line has already been installed and on Thursday RTD will begin laying rail on the first of 13 "launch pads" (train stations) on the new line.

The first completed station will be the Peoria Station. RTD said it will be a major station with a Park-n-Ride.

Heading east, the Peoria station will be the fourth station on the East Rail Line and will serve as a transfer station with the I-225 Rail Line.

It's estimated it will take 17 minutes to travel from the Peoria Station to Union Station and 18 minutes from the Peoria Station to Denver International Airport. The Peoria Station will have 550 parking spaces, 537 general spaces and 15 kiss-n-ride spaces.

The East Rail Line is not a light rail line. It is a commuter rail-a heavier and faster rail system similar to those in New York, Philadelphia or Chicago.

On August 19, RTD, the City and County of Denver and the City of Aurora broke ground on the Peoria Crossing bridge project, a project that is separate from the East Rail Line project, but a project that is highly coordinated with the East Rail Line project.

The Peoria Crossing overpass will go over the existing Union Pacific Railroad tracks and the future East Rail Line tracks as well as East 37th Avenue and Smith Road. The goal of the bridge is to eliminate the "at-grade" vehicle crossing of the tracks and to separate automotive traffic on Peoria Street from airport trains.

The Peoria Crossing bridge is schedule toopen in the summer of 2014. The East Rail Line is on schedule to open to the public in 2016.

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