Work is quickly progressing along the first portion of the streetcar route, northbound on Elm Street. Crews began work in September digging an 8-foot-wide trench between 12th and 14th Streets. Within the past week, an additional city block has been excavated with the trench now reaching 15th Street. Along the way, construction contractor Messer/Prues/Delta (MPD) will be removing old concrete, rotting railroad ties, and streetcar tracks leftover from the mid-1800s, which have been buried underneath the street since 1951.
After the entire trench is dug out, MPD will tie and weld rebar in to the track bed to support the rails, then load the rail onto the rebar. From there, workers will spend two weeks adjusting the rails to align to specifications, covering them in a rubber sleeve, and placing and finishing the concrete in the track bed.
Most citizens are aware of the transportation and economic news surrounding the streetcar, but did you know the project is also involved with repairing public utilities? As part of the city’s construction contract, crews from Duke Energy, Metropolitan Sewer District, the waterworks, Cincinnati Bell, and Time Warner Cable conduct exploratory digging along the route to relocate and perform maintenance on their respective utilities.
In September, the Metropolitan Sewer District discovered a major rupture in the sewer line at 14th and Elm Street, directly in front of Music Hall and Washington Park. Crews immediately began repairing the line and installing new equipment. A temporary sewer line was placed in the trench to pump waste while workers positioned new permanent pipes. During this time, visitors to the area may have noticed some unpleasant smells, both from the hole leading to the ruptured sewer and from the above-ground temporary waste pump.
Public utility improvements along the 3.6 mile route are financed through the funding the city has allocated for the streetcar project. According to John Deatrick, Streetcar Project Executive, as of October 8, three sewer repair projects are now being conducted on Elm Street, spanning from 14th Street to Liberty Street. If not for the streetcar construction, the ruptured sewer lines may have continued to go unnoticed, potentially causing sanitary hazards or creating a sinkhole in the middle of the road. Infrastructure renewal projects, like the sewer line, will continue as construction progresses.