Streetcar Tracks Getting Road Tested
Cars, trucks, buses, bikes and pedestrians are all crossing the tracks regularly now.
Summerfest festival traffic is putting the newly installed streetcar track on W. St. Paul Ave. through the paces. For the first time drivers are able to drive on the recently installed tracks.
In order to accommodate festival traffic, crews have cleared off the stretch of W. St. Paul Ave. they’ve occupied since early April. Vehicles are now cruising along atop the tracks. Vehicles and pedestrians are also crossing the track on E. Wisconsin Ave. at N. Broadway where a one-week closure resulted in a finished intersection.
Cyclists are also getting their first chance to interact with the tracks, and our photos capture one cyclist correctly crossing the rails. Drivers and cyclists alike will certainly notice that the finished section includes a repaved street free of potholes.
The removal of former streetcar infrastructure was expected as downtown Milwaukee streets are effectively a layer cake of every prior iteration of the street stacked one on top of another. The trench that was recently dug on N. Jackson St. has revealed everything from old streetcar rails to remainders of wood and Cream City brick.
According to a status update from the project team, work on the supports for the overhead wire system will begin on July 5th on N. Milwaukee St. Portions of the street will be reduced to one lane in each direction with parking temporarily restricted in certain areas.
Construction of the system is being led by Kiewet Infrastructure. The announcement of the firm that will operate the streetcar for the city is expected this summer.
As of mid-May a total of $30.5 million had been spent on the nearly $128 million project. Extensive detail on the project’s costs, construction process and timeline can be found in our past coverage linked at the bottom of this article.
W. St. Paul Ave. Photos
N. Broadway Photos
Kiewet expects to complete construction on the first phase of the streetcar in the second quarter of 2018 when testing of it would commence. Construction on the lakefront spur is expected to begin at that time.
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 fall of 2018 following route testing. The lakefront line extension is expected to begin operating in the third quarter of 2019. The system, including the lakefront line, is estimated to cost $127.64 million, of which $69.1 million comes from 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.
For more project details, including the project timeline, financing, route and possible extensions, see our extensive past coverage.
- Plats and Parcels: Lakefront Streetcar Extension Scheduled for June 2022 Opening - Jeramey Jannene - Dec 6th, 2020
- 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
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