H Street/Benning Road streetcar line to open mid 2013.
(Washington, DC) – Future riders of the DC Streetcar system are several steps closer to boarding the initial line. The District Department of Transportation (DDOT) has released plans that will enable the H Street/Benning Road line to open no later than mid 2013.
DDOT released a request for bids to design and build the remaining elements of the line, which encompasses western and eastern turnarounds, a “car barn” maintenance facility and the final improvements to the already-built 2.2-mile corridor on H Street/Benning Road. DDOT also plans to utilize the car barn as a training center for District students. DDOT anticipates design work to start in late fall, culminating with the first passengers boarding the line in mid 2013.
“We are excited to put in place the final pieces to complete the H Street/Benning Road Line,” said DDOT Director Terry Bellamy. “Today we are identifying the way forward.”
The initial design included a western turnaround and maintenance facility below the H Street “Hopscotch Bridge” adjacent to Union Station. The design was altered when DDOT learned of plans to expand the railroad in the future. While DDOT is still evaluating alternatives to connect the current western turnaround at 3rd and H Street to Union Station, the connection will be included as part of this project.
At the eastern turnaround, DDOT will construct a car barn maintenance facility that could include a training program for students in D.C. Public Schools. If implemented, the program would enable students to learn the principles of streetcar operations and maintenance, providing future career opportunities for D.C. residents and a home-grown pipeline of talent for the eventual 37-mile DC Streetcar system.
As part of the procurement, DDOT has specified a 35 percent Certified Business Enterprise and First Source Agreement requirement for the selected design-build contractor.
Along the already-built corridor, crews will erect catenaries (overhead power lines), install electrical substations and complete other improvements to enable the opening of the line no later than mid 2013.