For the week of November 4, 2013, the streetcar will have of a lot of highly visible progress on both the trackwork and at the Maintenance & Operations Facility site. As part of the city’s construction contract, the project is also involved with repairing public utilities. Here’s what to expect:
- Rail delivery and installation will start on Elm Street between 14th and 15th streets.
- Concrete base work for the track will continue on Elm Street between 12th and Wade streets.
- Replacement of the cobblestones will take place on the east half of Elm Street.
- Storm sewer installation, backfilling, and pavement removal for the Maintenance & Operations Facility will continue at Henry and Race streets.
PUBLIC UTILITY IMPROVEMENTS AS PART OF STREETCAR CONSTRUCTION:
- Underground gas work will be conducted by Duke Energy on Race Street between Liberty and Green streets; on Walnut Street near 3rd Street; and on Main Street near 4th Street.
- Storm sewer work will begin on Race Street near Findlay Street.
- Water main installation will continue on Walnut Street between 9th Street and Central Parkway.
- Traffic control conduit (tubing for electrical wires) installation will continue on Elm Street between Wade and Green streets; and on Race Street near Findlay Street.
- New sewer installation will continue on Elm Street near Green and Elder streets.
- Underground electrical work will also be conducted by Duke on 12th Street near Vine and Race streets.
- Telecommunications work will occur on Elm Street between Wade and Green streets; on Race Street between 15th and Liberty streets; and on Walnut Street near 6th Street.
At the corner of 8th and Walnut Streets, nearby the Main Library, Saint Louis Church, and Taqueria Mercado, workers from Duke Energy discovered a leaking gas line while conducting exploratory digging for the Cincinnati Streetcar project. Crews immediately began repairing the line and installing new equipment.
Duke Energy is also performing maintenance on gas lines at Main Street and 4th Street; on Walnut Street near 3rd Street; at Race and Henry Streets; and on Race Street between Liberty and Green Streets.
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. 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 25, 100 feet of ruptured sewer lines are being replaced on Elm Street, and a new water main is being installed at Walnut and Court Streets.
If not for the streetcar construction, the leaking gas lines may have continued to go unnoticed, potentially causing hazards to the surrounding businesses. Infrastructure renewal projects, like the gas line, will continue as streetcar construction progresses.
A frequently asked question about the Cincinnati streetcar is, “When is it coming to my neighborhood?”
Currently, the City of Cincinnati is focused on building the current 3.6 mile loop around the Central Business District and Over-The-Rhine, where the most employers and revenue-generating entertainment is located. The next phase of the streetcar is expected to travel north on Vine Street to Uptown, Corryville, and Clifton.
But then where will it go?
It’s hard to say, as the City of Cincinnati is only 30% into its research on planning the Uptown phase. In the meantime, a University of Cincinnati student earning his Masters of Architecture outlined a longer streetcar route for an academic project. The design for this theoretical streetcar route is based on the current streetcar route, the 2002 Metro Moves light rail initiative developed by the Southwest Ohio Regional Transit Authority, and the 2030 Regional Transportation Plan unanimously adopted in 2008 by the OKI Regional Council of Governments.
The light green route represents the streetcar line, and its possibility to expand outward to such neighborhoods as Westwood, Price Hill, and Camp Washington on the west side, northward to Avondale and Northside, and encompass Walnut Hills, Oakley, and Columbia-Tusculum on the east side. The academic project, entitled Metro|Cincinnati, also includes route projections for commuter rail, heavy rail (such as a subway), and extensions into Northern Kentucky.
While it will be up to the city to chart the course of the streetcar to its next neighborhood, it’s likely that it will be one or more of the communities highlighted on the Metro|Cincinnati map.
You may have noticed some giant holes surrounded by wooden fencing appearing along the streetcar route. This is part of the utility relocation and improvement work being conducted by Duke Energy.
Recently, two of these giant holes were created near Washington Park on Race Street and 12th Street as Duke upgraded its power transformers. In a suburban neighborhood, these transformers are what you’d typically see up on poles, but in the city, they are buried underneath the street. Many of the old transformers in Over-the-Rhine are in need of modernization as they have been insulated with asbestos. Transformer upgrades are one of many utility improvements made possible by funding from the streetcar construction contract.