Railway construction on Tucson’s Modern Streetcar will wrap up within the next five days, but two traffic lanes on Broadway Boulevard, between Granada Avenue and Fifth Avenue have already opened.
Construction manager Joe Chase said the detours downtown should be at a much more manageable level soon, making it easier for the traveling public to navigate through the area.
While there will still be some barricades and lane restrictions throughout Tucson, the “nitty-gritty” construction will be dying down around July 4. And, by the end of July, traffic should be much closer to normal, Chase said.
The base paving for Broadway is complete, as well as the utility work. Overall, this leaves only a few areas in town in need of concrete pours, he said.
Other work still in need of completion includes the Overhead Contact System, which controls the entire electrical system that will power the streetcar. The OCS is about 66 percent complete.
“It’s getting to where we can really see light at the end of the tunnel," Chase said.
Near August, the first of the eight streetcar vehicles will arrive in Tucson for maintenance and testing.
It will be in the maintenance storage facility located on Eight Street and Fifth Avenue. At this location, all the vehicles will be tested and certified for safety before they can go on the streets, Chase said.
Various issues on Congress Street, such as utility problems, caused the construction efforts to drag on, Chase said. However, he is optimistic that the Streetcar will be completed and open to the public by the middle of 2014.
Ashley Grove is a journalism student and an intern for Arizona Public Media