Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Delmar Loop Trolley Construction Set to Begin in March

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Delmar Loop Trolley Construction Set to Begin in March

Article excerpt

After years of delays, the $43 million Loop Trolley is back on track. With design changes made and funding questions resolved, construction of the trolley is set to begin in March.

Project officials said Tuesday work will start at the western end of the 2-mile streetcar line that will run between the Delmar Loop and Forest Park. Loop businessman Joe Edwards began promoting the project more than a decade ago.

Officials said the project is scheduled for completion in mid- 2016 and, after test runs, it will begin service late next year.

First on the construction list involves work aimed at improving car traffic: rebuilding the existing roundabout near the Lion Gates at Trinity Avenue and Delmar Boulevard. Chris Poehler, administrator of the Loop Trolley Transportation Development District, said the roundabout is designed to increase car safety, improve traffic flow and provide an attractive Loop entrance.

Track work is expected to start in late May, beginning on Delmar near Kingsland Avenue. Vehicular traffic will continue during construction.

Poehler, an engineer and transit planner on loan to the Loop Trolley from the Metro transit agency, said the project has overcome many obstacles.

"It's been a long time coming," he said. "It's taken a significant effort by a lot of people.

"We're very excited we're going to be starting this project soon and bringing a great amenity to the people of this region."

Skeptics of the project have said the streetcar would clog vehicular traffic on Delmar and attract few riders. Some added that the area's two MetroLink stations already provide adequate public transit.

Mainly to cut costs, the Loop Trolley has undergone some design changes.

The route between the University City Public Library and the History Museum in Forest Park is a bit shorter than first envisioned. The line will have 10 stops along Delmar and DeBaliviere Avenue.

Streetcars able to operate on both battery power and overhead electric lines were dropped in favor of cars powered by overhead lines.

In addition, instead of having a turnaround at both ends of the line, streetcars will travel to one terminus, then reverse direction. …

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