The CATS Blue Line Extension is the latest “big thing” happening in Charlotte.  The Blue Line Extension will cover the corridor from Uptown Charlotte at Seventh St. all the way up to the University City Area.  Richa Graphics was fortunate to be awarded the contract for signage within the University City Blvd Parking Garage, containing 1,500 spaces, across 6-levels, and 13,000 square feet of street level retail space.

The big qualifier on this project was the “Buy America” mandate – which is more stringent than the “Buy American” mandate.  Buy America is a clause put forth on projects receiving funding from the FDOT.  The requirement is that any steel or iron product be made in the United States from domestic material.  Any manufactured product must have all manufacturing processes occur within the United States.  Along with that comes an avalanche of red tape to make sure all processes are followed and all documents are retrievable to show that the products comply as required.

Those same requirements applied to our signage package and thanks to our capital investments that have occurred in the last few years, we were able to certify that all manufacturing processes occurred within the United States.  The aspect that made this project difficult was not certifying the materials we could make, but locating and certifying materials we could not make – such as the stainless steel wedge anchors, aircraft cable, eye-bolts, stainless steel standoffs and other items that are just as important but taken for granted more times than not.

The scope of this job included:

  • Approx 80 Cast Aluminum Letters with either painted or anodized finishes
  • Ten Overhead Clearance Bars and Do Not Enter Bars
  • Twenty-Six Handicap Signage
  • 142 Suspended Hanging Signs
  • 30 Light Pole Mounted Signs
  • 108 Expansion/Wedge Anchor Mounted Signs
  • 145 Stand-off Mounted Signs
  • 29 Exterior Grade Photopolymer Sign Faces
  • 12 Elevator Vestibule Area Branding Areas with Color Coded Matching Vinyl

Each sign style had a separate installation method and with it a new set of challenges.  The General Contractor, New Atlantic, was extremely professional, and a great partner to work with.  It was our second experience with them, the first being Parking Deck J (South Village Deck) on the campus of UNC Charlotte.

Once the project opens and passengers do begin using the Parking Garage, we are sure the University City Blvd Parking Garage will be a welcome addition to the line, and very confident that the Richa Graphics Signage Scope will be an enhancing and eye-catching aesthetic package for the facility.

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