While the potential of federal stimulus dollars for high speed rail has taken over Florida's news headlines, a smaller stimulus project is about to get underway in Downtown Tampa.
Tampas Historic TECO Line Streetcar System is moving north. The existing 2.4 mile system that currently terminates at the Dick Greco Plaza is being extended to Whiting Street at the south end of downtown. Extension Phase IIa consists of a single track from the current terminus with a passing track within HARTs parking area north of Brorein to Fort Brooke Garage to a new station at Whiting. Three vehicles will be capable of boarding at the side-loading platform station and up to four vehicles will be able to stage at the passing track.
HART is also working with the City of Tampa to incorporate the Utility Capital Improvements Program (UCAP) water line construction into Kimmins contract. Combining the extension and water line work under one contractor will minimize traffic disruptions to the traveling public in a more controllable and predictable construction schedule for both projects. The City of Tampa will bear the cost for the water line work and both parties should realize economies for shared mobilization and maintenance of traffic. HART will present the joint participation agreement and contract modification for Board consideration in September 2009 once the design and cost estimates are negotiated and the draft agreement finalized.
A design-build contract was awarded to Kimmins Contracting Inc. on April 6, 2009. Groundbreaking is scheduled for October 2009 and the extension will be operational no later than December 2010.
Activities to date:
6/4/09 Technical Review Committee/Utility Coordination
6/30/09 Topographical Survey Completed
7/13/09 Utility Relocation Design Submittal
7/17/09 Design Charrette by Urban Charrette
8/25/09 Steering Committee
9/28/09 Final Civil Engineering Drawings
9/29/09 Signature Station Architectural Review Drawings
10/9/09 Utility Construction Begins
11/17/09 Final Signature Station Architectural Drawings
1/26/10 Track Construction Begins
HART and Kimmins are working closely with the City of Tampa to minimize potential impacts on the traveling public and our neighbors. As with any construction project, some disruption is anticipated, particularly to traffic. The following guidelines are used to develop construction phasing and will be adhered to in the associated Maintenance of Traffic plans.
No complete closures for utility relocations
Minimize directional closures required for track install no intersection welds
Maintain turning movements
Minimize duration of lane/directional closures
Coordinate timing of closures with area activities/events
Provide for safe pedestrian access
Minimize disruption to Fort Brooke Garage Franklin entry and surface parking
Delay elimination of parking meters as long as possible
Relocate Whiting northbound bus stop (Green & Purple trolley lines)
Publicize plans to enable affected public and property owners time to react
Not all closures will happen at once. Work is expected to begin with utility work first, beginning at the north end and working south. Check back for details on affected traffic patterns and scheduling.
Tampa's TECO line streetcar has helped stimulate over a billion dollars worth of transit oriented development along its 2.3 mile line since opening in 2002. City leaders anticipate this extension to downtown Tampa will encourage more infill development and attract additional riders to the existing streetcar line. Kudos to Tampa for finally getting this important rail extension project underway.
Hopefully one day Jacksonville will have its own streetcar groundbreaking to announce.
Article by Ennis Davis
Source and Images: http://tecolinestreetcar.org/extension/index.htm