Construction on Milwaukee Streetcar starts in April

Mainline to open next year
Posted at 11:44 AM, Feb 17, 2017
and last updated 2017-02-17 14:58:01-05

The general contractor hired to build the Milwaukee Streetcar said Friday morning that downtown commuters will see construction begin in early April.

Mike Ethier, project manager at Kiewit Corporation, told a meeting of the Joint Committee on Downtown Streetcar Implementation that efforts continue to relocate utilities along the streetcar’s route.

Construction on the track will kick off on this spring, starting with sections of St. Paul Ave. and Broadway.

For a map of the planned construction, which will continue street by street through 2017 and into 2018, click here.

After the track is installed, polls holding cable to power the streetcar will go up.

Delivery of the first vehicle is expected in December.

Ethier said completion of the main line, serving downtown and the Third Ward, should happen in the second quarter of 2018.

Months of testing will follow, with an expected opening to passengers in late 2018.

All of the steel needed to build the track will be delivered in late March.

Ethier said it will be stored along the route and welded together as needed.

He said that was a more cost-effective option than delivering it in chunks, and also allows the steel to be readily available so the project remains on schedule. 

Also Friday, the city announced it is in the process of searching for a company to operate the streetcar and maintain its facilities.

Ghassan Korban, commissioner of the Department of Public Works, said Milwaukee hopes to have a company hired this summer.

“We’ve reached a significant milestone in this project,” Korban said.

He said select stretches of streets will be totally shut down while the streetcar’s track is built.

However, in most cases, at least one lane of roadway will remain open to traffic, Korban said.

He said the city continues to work with neighbors and businesses impacted by the construction, which will run from roughly 7 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. daily. 

A lakefront line of the streetcar is also in the works, and scheduled to be operating in late 2019.

The total cost of phase one and the lakefront loop is estimated at $128 million. Korban said the project remains on budget.


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