Checking in on the Dallas Streetcar Project

streetcar line construction 12-18-13_12

The Dallas Streetcar Project, which is a joint venture between DART, the City of Dallas, North Central Texas Council of Governments and the FTA, will connect Union Station in downtown Dallas to Oak Cliff via a 1.6-mile streetcar line that goes across the historic 100-year-old Houston Street Viaduct.

Nine months after construction began, we’re checking in with Jay Kline, DART’s director of the streetcar project, to see how things are moving along.

Kline says construction is going very well.

“We are nearing completion of the track work on the bridge, which was originally a big concern.”

The work has continued into Oak Cliff this month with crews shutting down lanes and partially closing the Zang and Colorado boulevards intersection where the streetcar will make a right before heading west towards Methodist Dallas Medical Center.

The work did bring a pleasant surprise to many traveling along Colorado Boulevard — a figurative time capsule hidden in the road.

Call it poetic history, but where new track will be, old track once lay.

Underneath the paved roads were girder and T rail tracks dating to an old Dallas interurban system. Because the tracks were caked in concrete from the demolition, crews were unable to find markers to determine the exact age, but Kline speculated the tracks could be as much as 100 years old.

“That’s interesting in itself,” Kline said. “Girder rail hasn’t been manufactured in the U.S. in a long time.”

As for next steps, Kline says the most pressing matter is to finish installing track to lessen the traffic impact in Oak Cliff followed by the grading work and eventually pouring cement.

The streetcar should be open for business in early 2015, Kline says.

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