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Washington - March 2009

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Washington, DC ― Streetcar Work to Start Soon

Rail Transit Online, March 2009

The city's department of transportation will soon announce the start of construction on the $25-million Anacostia demonstration streetcar line in southeast Washington. The project, which has been in the planning stage for more than five years, was to run 1.3-mi. (2.1 km) from Anacostia Metro station to Bolling Air Force Base along South Capitol Street.

"That segment has been extended to about two miles (3.2 km) and will stretch from a new maintenance facility on South Capitol Street to Firth Sterling Avenue, east on Howard Road, and then north on Martin Luther King Boulevard to the area of Good Hope Road," DoT spokesperson John Lisle told WTOP Radio News. The route still includes a stop at Anacostia Metro station.

A contract for the first segment has been awarded to the Fort Myer Construction Corp. and some equipment has already been purchased including three traction power substations and three Skoda-Inekon streetcars valued at $10 million. The vehicles have already been completed and are being stored in the Czech Republic, where they were built.

Future plans call for lines along the H Street Corridor and across the new 11th Street bridge. Streetcars last operated in the federal capital 47 years ago.

Columbia Pike Streetcar Design Funded

The Arlington County, Virginia, Board on Mar. 14 approved two significant measures advancing the Columbia Pike streetcar project. Board members voted to spend $3.14 million for preliminary design and environmental planning and signed off on an agreement with Fairfax County, specifying the role each jurisdiction will play in building and operating the streetcar.

The project will serve both counties, but only a small portion will be located in Fairfax. The latter will provide 20 percent of the capital cost and $912,000 for design and environmental work.

"A project like this has a lot of milestones," said Arlington County Board member and streetcar booster Chris Zimmerman. 'This is an important one."

The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority is managing the scheme, which will link the Pentagon City Metro station to Skyline along busy Columbia Pike. The price tag is estimated at more than $150 million and officials hope to receive federal funding, allowing construction to start in 2011.

Columbia Pike image


Anacostia Streetcar Delayed

The proposed streetcar demonstration line in Anacostia has been delayed about three years because of route changes that have stalled the start of construction. City officials had hoped to have a 1.3-mi. (2.1 km) line linking Bolling Air Force Base and the Anacostia Metro station open by the end of this year and had even purchased three streetcars from Skoda-Inekon in the Czech Republic.

The cars were completed about two years ago and remain stored in the town of Ostrava; occasional test runs are made to make certain the vehicles remain operational.

In a recent letter to the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority, which procured the streetcars on behalf of the city, former D.C. Department of Transportation interim director Frank Sealer Jr. said, "...the delays in the construction of the streetcar line have necessitated that WMATA delay the delivery of the streetcars and long-lead items." The letter asks that the cars, which cost $10 million, remain in the Czech Republic until January 2010 at a cost for storage of about $860,000.

The revised streetcar route eliminates the southern section to Bolling and instead adds a segment north through downtown Anacostia along Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue, which is slated for other improvements that could cause further delays. "It's been more complex than anybody could possibly have envisioned," DoT Chief Engineer Kathleen Penney told The Washington Post.

A $25-million contract for a maintenance facility and track laying from Firth Sterling and South Capitol Street to Suitland Parkway was awarded last December. Work hasn't yet started because contractor Fort Myer Construction Corp. hasn't yet received the required permits.


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