Monday, September 21, 2009

Track appears for oft-delayed Anacostia Streetcar

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Track installation finally has begun for Washington, D.C.'s first new streetcar line, Anacostia Streetcar, in the district’s Southeast quadrant, following years of delays and still with no firm assurance that the line will operate.

dcstreetcar_09.jpg

The $55 million project has held three Inekon streetcars in storage in the Czech Republic for nearly three years while it struggles with numerous issues. Besides controversy over exact routes, station locations, schedule times, and environmental issues, the District Department of Transportation also has struggled to comply with federal rules prohibiting overhead wire in the Capitol Zone.

"The tracks are actually going in," said DDOTchief Gabe Klein. "As people see that, they'll realize we're getting closer than we've ever been." Klein said the District might have some part of the Anacostia line running before fall 2012.

Revised several times, the initial route at present would connect with MetroRail’s Anacostia station on the Green Line and would also serve the new Department of Homeland Security headquarters, scheduled to be built on the current campus of St. Elizabeth’s Hospital.

DDOT hopes eventually to extend the line across the new 11th Street bridges when they are built and along H Street in the district’s Northeast quadrant.