The Regional Transit Authority (RTA) is pleased to announce that effective Sunday, August 10, 2014, the historic green Perley Thomas streetcars will return to service the entire St. Charles Avenue streetcar route. The agency has entered the final phase of a multi-phase capital improvement and modernization project to the St. Charles Avenue rail line. Residents will continue to see minor construction and clean-up work related to the cross-tie project along the route throughout the month.Only two years later than originally planned!
The original idea was to do the upriver half of the line, between South Claiborne and Napoleon avenues, followed by the downriver half, from Napoleon Avenue to Canal Street, with the whole project wrapping up by early 2012. Things did not go as forecast.The last time the line was under construction for so long was the 2005-2007 post-Katrina rebuild of the overhead electrical system. When that work was completed, the return to service was heralded by the Warren Easton marching band.
The contractor hired to handle the $7 million project almost immediately walked off the job, bringing all work to a halt for a few months. Then, once it resumed, the task turned out to take far longer than expected, and the project was split into multiple phases.
This time around there was no celebration to speak of. This might be because the route is complete just as the SELA project is ready to cross St. Charles at Jefferson which will probably put part of the line right back out of order.
Temporary lanes will cross the neutral ground on both sides of the intersection, between Octavia and Valmont streets.But, aside from the bit they're about to rip right back up, the tracks are basically ready for use now.
Expect similar shifts onto the riverside lanes of the intersection as work on the culvert moves onto the lakeside of the road.
Corps project manager Lori Wingate said stoplights are being installed to control the movement of the St. Charles streetcar across the temporary lanes being built across the neutral ground.
The work will eventually require an interruption in streetcar traffic to allow construction of the culvert across the neutral ground, she said.
Also they will kill you.