Streetcar Track Getting Installed
Tracks getting installed on St. Paul Ave.; other streets soon to come.
Installation of the track system for the Milwaukee Streetcar has begun on W. St. Paul Ave. Crews are constructing both the west-bound and east-bound tracks on the stretch of the route that connects the Milwaukee Intermodal Station and Westown with the Historic Third Ward.
As our photos capture, on Thursday afternoon crews from project general contractor Kiewet Infrastructure were aligning the steel rails between the Milwaukee River and N. 4th St.
The steel rails are being laid into a 8-foot wide and 2-foot deep segment of the street. Once the rails are in place crews will rebuild a cement road structure around the rails.
Vehicles will be able to drive in the same lane as the streetcar track when the work is complete. W. St. Paul Ave. is currently open to east-bound vehicles as the city seeks to minimize disruption from the large construction project.
In February Kiewet project manager Michael Ethier told the city’s streetcar oversight committee “it’s going to be a very busy 2017 building the guideway.” That might have been the understatement of the year. N. Broadway through East Town is already being prepped for track installation and work will begin next week. Starting May 17th, the northbound lanes of Broadway from E. Clybourn St. to E. Kilbourn Ave. will be closed for up-to three months. Construction will continue to roll along the 2.1-mile route throughout the year.
Installation of the track is far from the only streetcar-related construction going on. Crews are installing the foundation for supporting the overhead catenary system along the route. The concrete, cylindrical bases are being drilled into the ground between the sidewalk and curb. Poles will be mounted to bases this fall, and the overhead electrical power system will be strung between the poles. Prep work for the construction of the Milwaukee Streetcar Maintenance Facility is also underway.
Want to know when a certain segment of the route will be built? The project team has produced a draft construction timeline.
Kiewet expects to complete construction in the second quarter of 2018 to allow for testing to commence. The Milwaukee Streetcar Maintenance Facility, being built under Interstate 794, is scheduled for completion before the end of 2017. The facility will be completed in advance so the city can safely store the vehicles delivered by Brookville Equipment Corporation.
Public operation on the initial route connecting the Milwaukee Intermodal Station and Westown with the Historic Third Ward, East Town and the Lower East Side is scheduled to begin in the fourth quarter of 2018 following route testing. The lakefront line extension is expected to begin operating in the fourth quarter of 2019. The system, including the lakefront line, is estimated to cost $128.1 million. The project’s design and construction is funded in part by $69.1 million in federal grants.
Utility work is wrapping up along the initial route. That work, which has been underway for over a year, has moved block-by-block throughout the route. We Energies and other utilities are hiring their own crews for that work and are being reimbursed by the city.
The announcement of an operator is expected in the coming months. As we’ve previously reported, the city is currently interviewing candidates.
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For more project details, including the project timeline, financing, route and possible extensions, see our extensive past coverage.
- Transportation: Should Milwaukee Stop The Hop? - Jeramey Jannene - Oct 13th, 2020
- Transportation: The Hop Now Wears a Mask - Jeramey Jannene - Aug 18th, 2020
- Eyes on Milwaukee: Is A Couture Deal Finally Coming? - Jeramey Jannene - May 13th, 2020
- Transportation: SUV Driver Runs Into The Hop - Jeramey Jannene - Feb 28th, 2020
- Transportation: Streetcar Kiosks Could Bring In $500,000 Annually - Jeramey Jannene - Feb 20th, 2020
- Thanks A Million, Hop Riders! - The Hop - Feb 19th, 2020
- Transportation: We Energies Will Sponsor Streetcar - Jeramey Jannene - Feb 10th, 2020
- Transportation: Streetcar Ridership Up in January Versus 2019 - Jeramey Jannene - Feb 7th, 2020
- Transportation: Streetcar Ridership Up in December - Jeramey Jannene - Jan 14th, 2020
- Transportation: Ridership Falls for The Hop - Jeramey Jannene - Dec 16th, 2019
Read more about Milwaukee Streetcar here