Kansas City streetcar construction to finish this fall
Kansas City, Mo. Officials say construction on Kansas City's downtown streetcar project is nearly 50 percent complete and is on track to finish this fall.
But the vehicles will undergo months of testing before passengers can start boarding. It's likely the streetcars won't be open to the public until early 2016.
"We're shooting for the first quarter of the year," said Tom Gerend, executive director of the Kansas City Streetcar Authority. "The quicker we can open to the public, the better off we'll be."
The Kansas City Star reports several small businesses say water and sewer work related to the construction project has inconvenienced customers for nine months, affecting their bottom line.
But Gerend and Meghan Jansen, spokeswoman for the Kansas City Streetcar Constructors, say crews have worked hard to keep the impact of construction work minimal. They say the most disruptive street work is nearly finished.
According to the streetcar constructors, 88 percent of the water and sewer work that is required is complete.
"A good chunk of the most difficult work is behind us," Gerend said.
Some people have also complained that several mature trees have been dug up to make room for station stops for streetcars. Deb Churchill, City Market property manager, has responded to the complaints in a memo.
Churchill said that the trees were only removed if absolutely necessary, and that most of the trees removed were of the sweet gum variety, which litter sidewalks with seed pods and have roots that compromise the sidewalks.
Churchill said that better tree varieties will be chosen as replacements.