Streetcar Team Works to Reduce Impacts

Huan Hoang is proud of the work he does on the City of Seattle’s First Hill Streetcar. The 41-year-old is part of the Stacy and Witbeck team that serves as the general contractor handling construction management on the project, while also building all of the streetcar tracks and platforms.  As general contractor, the firm manages all nine contracts and more than 90 sub-contracts that are part of the $134 million First Hill Streetcar effort. The complicated project involves about 17 construction crews at any one time and daily adjustments.

Huan Hoang points to detailed First Hill Streetcar Plans in a Stacy and Witbeck Inc. project planning office

Project Engineer Huan Hoang points to detailed First Hill Streetcar Plans in a Stacy and Witbeck Inc. project planning office

As a Stacy and Witbeck team member, Project Engineer Hoang reviews multiple plans; looks at project elements that are on the critical path – meaning work that must happen to allow other elements to stay on schedule; and estimates what new work is necessary. Construction managers on his team make the work happen.  

Lately Hoang has been working to coordinate construction at the intersection of Boren Avenue South and South Jackson Street. To dig up the existing roadway, pour the concrete panels (giving them 24 hours to solidify) and lay streetcar tracks very precisely, crews had to shut down part of the intersection last weekend then the other part this weekend. Hoang says there are several reasons for the work taking place on two weekends.

Crews work last Friday at the Boren Ave. S/S Jackson St./14th Ave. S intersection

Crews work last Friday at the Boren Ave. S/S Jackson St./14th Ave. S intersection

“The weekend is the only time we can de-energize the trolley wires, so that Seattle’s existing trolley system isn’t shut down during the weekday commute,” said Hoang. “Also, we have to lay both the inbound and the outbound tracks, removing large sections of the roadway for each. By dividing the work between two weekends we can keep traffic flowing, to some extent, through the area. Doing the work all at once would likely require shutting down the intersection entirely.”

Hoang notes that construction is always difficult for communities to experience and his team’s goal is to reduce those difficulties as much as possible.

“We don’t want to disturb the neighborhood any longer than we have to. We want to get the work done efficiently, to limit disruption to the community.”

The Boren Ave. S/S Jackson St./14th Ave. S intersection will again be partially closed to traffic, as it was last weekend, from 7 p.m. today, August 23, until 6 a.m. Monday, August 26. Roadway traffic will be guided along the following detours (also shown in map below):

•Southbound traffic on Boren Ave S will be directed to use 12th Ave S, S Jackson St, and Rainier Ave S.

•Northbound traffic on Rainier Ave S will be directed to use 14th Ave S, Yesler Way and Boren Ave.

•Westbound traffic on S Jackson St will be directed to use 14th Ave S, Yesler Way, 12th Ave S and S Jackson St.

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Construction on the Seattle First Hill Streetcar Project began with utility work, in the spring of 2012, when Hoang was quite new to Seattle. He moved here the summer of 2011.

Hoang originally came to the Pacific Northwest from Vietnam in 1990, with his sister, settling in Portland, Oregon. His brother came to the United States eight years before, also settling in the Portland area. Hoang now travels there often to join family members. He also has family in France, and is glad to be welcoming them for a visit this weekend, during which time he will be giving them a tour of Little Saigon and the Streetcar Project.

“I am proud to be a part of this work for the community,” Hoang said. “The disruption during construction is not so good, but in the future it will be better for the community – more people visiting Little Saigon.  And when I come back later in my life I will be able to say I helped bring that benefit.”

Hoang is also proud that the firm he works for takes their responsibility seriously and cares about the community. Stacy and Witbeck was the official Sponsor of the annual Chinatown – International District Annual Spring CleanUp in early May providing both financial support and 17 volunteers for the effort.

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The First Hill Streetcar Project is set for completion in the summer of 2014. Once finished, it will connect the neighborhoods and business districts of Capitol Hill, First Hill, Yesler Terrace, Central Area, Chinatown ID, Little Saigon and Pioneer Square. For more information about the First Hill Streetcar Project, call the Hotline at (206) 257-2121; e-mail streetcar@seattle.gov; or visit http://www.seattlestreetcar.org/firsthill.htm .