The First Hill Streetcar project, now nearly 6 months into construction, has reached its first major milestone!

While underground utility work began in April (and is still a long way to completion), the focus this summer was completing the installation of the streetcar tracks in front of both Seattle Central Community College and Bailey Gatzert Elementary School during the summer months when most students were not around.  This was daunting work considering the block adjacent to the Seattle Central Community College is under live Metro trolley wires and most work was restricted to weekends only when there are enough diesel buses available to replace the trolley buses; and the work in front of Bailey Gatzert included over 1,800 feet of streetcar track including both directions and a signification reconfiguration of the 14th Ave S and Yesler Way intersection.  Other work in those areas remains, but the track installation was a significant hurdle.  Now students may still stare out the window, but they won’t be watching track installation! 

In addition to the accomplishments this summer, outgoing track installation (to Capitol Hill) is currently proceeding on Broadway from Pine to Union Streets.  By the end of September, we will have continuous track in the northbound (outbound) direction all the way from Union to Howell streets.  (Those interested in viewing the construction may do so from the safety of the sidewalk, while still be close enough to get a good view of the work.)

When finished, the First Hill Streetcar will run 2.5 miles, with ten stations, running from Pioneer Square along S Jackson Street, through the International District to 14th Avenue, returning westbound on Yesler Way to Broadway, and then north on Broadway to its northern terminus at Denny Way.  The route will provide a connection between Sound Transit’s existing LINK light rail station in the International District and the future station onCapitol Hill, serving the high density medical care facilities on First Hill (Harborview, Swedish, and Virginia Mason Medical Centers), institutions of higher education (Seattle University and Seattle Central Community College), and major sporting event locations (Century Link and Safeco Fields).   

The line is being built by the Seattle Department of Transportation in partnership with Sound Transit.  The total project is estimated to cost $134 million.  Sound Transit is providing $132.8 million to the City of Seattle via an interlocal agreement with the balance funded through partnership agreements with Seattle utilities. 

If you are interested in receiving weekly project email bulletins, signup on the project website, found at http://www.seattlestreetcar.org/email.htm.