center city connector

Center City Connector – SDOT

Last week the Seattle City Council passed a bill authorizing a $9 million loan to the Seattle Department of Transportation for additional design and engineering work of the Center City Connector.

The city currently has two disjointed streetcar lines, the First Hill Streetcar and the South Lake Union Streetcar. The Center City Connector would create a 1.2-mile addition connecting the two lines via 1st Avenue and Stewart Street. Once complete, the streetcar route would run 5-miles and have 23 stations.

Center City Connector – SDOT

The has been on hold since Mayor Jenny Durkan issued a stop order in spring 2018 amid rising costs. That stop order expires on September 9. The loan will allow SDOT to hire outside consultants to do further design work—helping the department establish new costs and schedule estimates.

The city previously signed a $52.2 million contract for ten streetcars from CAF. The new streetcars are longer and heavier than the existing streetcars running on the First Hill and South Lake Union lines. SDOT may reconsider the contract despite already spending $5 million on cars, with the cost to cancel unknown.

Part of the additional design and engineering work entails changes to platforms, further analyzation of the new streetcars, and addressing structural components that may need to be reinforced at 4th Avenue South and South Jackson Street (as it sits on a viaduct over railroad tracks).

Mayor Durkan Looks to Resume Center City Connector

Center City Connector – SDOT

Seattle City Council approved the loan via a 6-1 vote on August 12. The $9 million loan will be repaid from the city’s $143.5 million sale of the Mercer Mega Block. Despite the loan, the project still faces a funding shortfall of nearly $90 million with additional funding needed for construction and utilities.

Prior to the stop order, utility work began in fall 2017 with a scheduled opening on 2020. Now, SDOT expects construction to start in 2022 and full service to begin in 2026.

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