ATLANTA, July 3, 2013 – Crews continue to install tracks for a new streetcar line that is set to start operating next spring.
When it opens, the 2.7-mile streetcar line will connect with MARTA, the city’s transit system. Future plans call for the new streetcar to tie into the Atlanta BeltLine, a public-private partnership that is building walking paths along a ring of mostly abandoned railroad right-of-ways that circle the city.
Workers are expected to install a block of track every three to four weeks. The new line is funded with nearly $100 million – or roughly $37 million per mile – in federal and local funding.
“Actually seeing tracks being laid and sidewalks being rebuilt is thrilling and a major step for the city of Atlanta,” Tom Weyandt, senior policy advisor of transportation with the mayor’s office recently told Construction Equipment Guide. “The major federal funding was announced in October 2010, and since then we have been engaged in the final design, contractor selection, real estate and utilities prep work. Now that guideway construction is underway, one can actually get the vision for the final product.”
City officials believe the line will ferry tourists to and from many of the city’s popular downtown attractions, including Centennial Olympic Park, CNN Center, the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Site and the Georgia Aquarium. A one-way trip on the new line is expected to take roughly 10 minutes.
The new streetcar line, expected to have 12 stops and four electric streetcars, will be the first in Atlanta in more than 60 years. Streetcars, once prominent fixtures on the city’s streets, last ran in Atlanta in 1949.
City officials hope the new line will be merely the initial route in a larger network. The Buckhead Reporter newspaper reported an extension of the line from downtown to the Buckhead area in the northern part of Atlanta is also possible at some point.
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