ATLANTA, March 10, 2013 – Crews last week began installing the first track for Atlanta’s new streetcar line, which is slated to open next spring.
Workers are expected to install one block of track every three to four weeks, according to city officials. When the east-west route opens next spring, city officials believe the new $69.2 million line will ferry tourists to and from many of the city’s popular downtown attractions.
When completed, the 2.7-mile streetcar line will connect with MARTA, the city’s existing transit system, and eventually the Atlanta BeltLine, a public-private partnership that is building walking paths – and eventually streetcars – along abandoned, underused and active railroad right-of-ways. The initial system will have 12 stops and four electric streetcars.
“The first day of track construction represents a significant milestone for the Atlanta Streetcar,” Ed Hrinewski, a project director for URS Corp., said in a statement.
Once open, a one-way trip on the new line is expected to take roughly 10 minutes. City officials expect the new system to be popular among visitors interested in going to the city’s popular downtown tourist attractions, including Centennial Olympic Park, CNN Center, the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Site and the Georgia Aquarium.
“The installation of track is a critical and exciting step, and we look forward to the economic development opportunities the Atlanta Streetcar will provide,” A.J. Robinson, president of the Atlanta Downtown Improvement District, said in a statement.
The new streetcar line, which is slated to be the initial route in a larger network of routes, 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.
The “construction activity signifies an important step forward for the Atlanta Streetcar project and underscores the city’s commitment to build a new, world-class transit system that will benefit residents, businesses and visitors for years to come,” Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed said in a statement. “There is real momentum gaining for this project and once completed, the Atlanta Streetcar will be transformational for the downtown corridor.”
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