By Mark Holan, editorial director, ARTBA

Streetcars are returning to downtown Kansas City, Missouri,  after a 59 year absence.  Grand opening ceremonies are set for this weekend on a new 2.2-mile long system with 16 stops.

Built at a cost of about $100 million, the project was a joint venture between Stacy and Witbeck of Alameda, California, an ARTBA member, and Herzog Transit Services Inc., of Irving, Texas. Construction began in May 2014.

The embedded track construction utilized four miles of 112TRAM block rail, domestically rolled in Steelton, Pennsylvania, to comply with federal “Buy America” rules, said Andy Auxier, Stacy and Witbeck project manager. The project also included major water and sewer line relocations, new signal and street lighting, and a 25,000-square-foot maintenance building with three bays for streetcar parking on the ground level and second floor offices.

About 1,200 people worked on the job over the two-year period.

“From ground breaking to grand opening in two years is pretty unique and aggressive,” Auxier said. “We worked through the Midwestern winter,” using ground heaters for concrete pours and other work while also accommodating downtown Kansas City snow removal and office workers.

Stacy and Witbeck is currently building the 3.3-mile M-1 streetcar project in Detroit. The firm has previously done streetcar projects in Salt Lake City, Dallas, Seattle and Portland, Oregon.

Image courtesy of Stacy and Witbeck.