PHOTOS: Construction Activities for $133M Streetcar Project Move Southward

Since the dust-up in December, construction work on the $133 million first phase of the Cincinnati Streetcar has been proceeding as planned.

Those living, working or visiting Over-the-Rhine, can now see significant visual progress throughout much of the neighborhood. Meanwhile, utility relocation and upgrade work continues near the southern terminus of the initial system; and now track work is beginning to approach as rails are installed along Central Parkway.

Due to the congestion and centuries old utility systems, work in the Central Business District is expected to be messy and lengthy. In order to minimize disruptions, city officials say that they are working as much as possible at night and on weekends.

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Vertical construction continues at the system’s northern terminus where the Maintenance & Operations Facility is being built; and officials say that work is now beginning on one of the first power substations at Court Street and Walnut Street.

Restoration of the Central Parkway median is currently taking place following a surge of construction activity along this stretch of the route, which, coincidentally, is located directly above the Race Street Station for the never-completed Cincinnati Subway.

Rail installation will continue to take place throughout Over-the-Rhine in the coming weeks, and gradually work its way south. Meanwhile, expect the heavy lifting that is the modernization and relocation of utilities to continue.

Due to encouraging progress, some project officials believe there is the possibility the system could open several months ahead of schedule sometime in the summer of 2016.

It was also learned this week that the Southwest Ohio Regional Transit Authority (SORTA), the agency who will eventually operate the system, will deposit $268,278 of a remaining 1996 grant from the Federal Transit Administration into the Cincinnati Streetcar’s unallocated contingency fund. That fund, meant to cover unanticipated costs, started out at $4.7 million. Since the start of the project officials have used nearly $900,000 of those funds.

EDITORIAL NOTE: The following 22 photographs were taken by Jake Mecklenborg on Tuesday, May 20, 2014. Those interested in learning more about Cincinnati’s transit history should read his book – Cincinnati’s Incomplete Subway: The Complete History.

  • It cracks me up that the tracks now pass by AAA. But I guess everyone over 75 that still has AAA will still want to drive there.

    • matimal

      Most people over 75 with AAA haven’t been within five miles of downtown since 1986.

    • EDG

      Funny to me that it passes by Kroger’s HQ (silent on project), County Admin (opposes), 5/3 (silent), The Banks Partnership (silent?), and Castellini’s GA Ballpark (gets concessions from Qualls then backs Cranley).

  • Matt Jacob

    Great pictures as usual Jake. Can we get a fast-motion bike ride video once the whole OTR loop is complete? And again once the whole thing is complete? It would be interesting to get a baseline video for where the development is upon operation and again within 5 years, 10 years, etc.

    • Neil Clingerman

      Perhaps better would be a fast motion video from the cab of the Streetcar if possible 😉

  • EDG

    The finished look is pretty rough in some stretches where more asphalt was used along side the concrete bed than others. Wonder if that will be replaced or paved over as part of future road projects.

    • Every street where the streetcar runs will be resurfaced from curb to curb once track construction is complete.

  • That photo captioned ‘Elm Street Rehab’ is actually a new construction single family home, the first in who knows how long in OTR. It was constructed on a formerly empty lot and cost upwards of $800,000.

    • Thanks for the correction!

    • KeepReal

      One of the two photos labled “Taft Ale House Construction” is actually 12th and Elm, looking north up Elm.