Monday, April 09, 2012

Two Arizona streetcar projects advance

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Groundbreaking ceremonies for streetcar construction in Tucson, Ariz., are set for this Thursday, 11:00 a.m. local time, while in Tempe, Ariz., initial utilities work on that city's planned streetcar route has commenced.

The Tucson ceremonty will occur just east of the BIO5 Institute, part of the University of Arizona, at 1657 E. Helen Street, near the planned eastern terminus of the planned 3.9-mile streetcar route.

Actual construction activity began last week, following a contract awarded March 29 by Tucson to Old Pueblo Trackworks, a joint venture including Granite Construction and Railworks Tracks Systems.

Utility location is required before engineers can finish the streetcar's design and begin heavy construction on the 18-stop, $197 million line. Revenue service is targeted for late 2013, employing seven vehicles being provided by United Streetcar, LLC.

Meanwhile in Tempe, Ariz., east of Phoenix, initial road work began Monday as crews began identifying underground utilities in preparation for Tempe's own 2.6-mile streetcar line.

Valley Metro, which operates Arizona's first modern light rail transit system of 20 miles currently serving the state capital, Tempe, and Mesa, says it will work closely with Tempe officials to minimize inconvenience for drivers and local businesses.

Tempe's 13-station, $130 million streetcar line itself is scheduled to begin revenue service in 2016. Transfer connections will be available at the line's northern terminus to Valley Metro LRT at the city's Mill Avenue Station.