Construction Questions & Answers

Q: When will construction start, and how long will it take?
A: Construction began in late 2015 with the start of utility relocation, which is continuing. Track installation for the Phase 1 route is scheduled to start this spring and end in summer 2018, with operation beginning late that year. The lakefront route track installation is tentatively set to begin in spring 2018 and be completed in 2019.  Construction is tentatively scheduled in phases along the route. (See map)

Q: How are you staging track installation and related construction work?
A: The work on the Phase 1 route will be divided and staged in seven construction zones. In addition to the track work, you will see utility work and OCS foundation work in isolated areas throughout the route as this work aims to stay ahead of the track work.

Q: How long will the streets in each construction zone be under construction?
A: Construction of the track will result in reducing traffic to a single direction or reductions in the number of lanes for a number of months, depending on the specific zone and the amount of work in each area.  Prior to track construction, as well as after its completion, other construction activities will take place in order to complete utility work as well as construct the overhead catenary system.  These activities will not have as significant an impact to traffic, but will be visible at times up until the streetcar opens for traffic.

Q: How many rail drop sites are there, and what types of locations are they?
A: There are five drop sites for the Phase 1 route. The five sites are expected to be curb lanes.

Q: How were the drop site areas selected, and why is rail being welded and stored in the street?
A: The five drop sites are convenient to the construction zones. We are using curb lanes because there are limited options in an urban area for storage.  The selected drop and storage locations are well located for construction and have the least potential impacts.

Q: After the rail is welded, is it immediately installed?
A: Some will be installed shortly after welding, but much will stay in place until the track installation process arrives in that area.

Q: If the rail is not being used immediately, what happens to it?
A: The rail will be welded and stored in curb lanes near the initial drop site until needed.

Q: How will road access be affected during track construction?
A: In most cases, travel will be possible in one direction on a given section of street during its track construction. During utility and OCS construction, two directions of traffic will typically be maintained.

Q: Will street closures hurt businesses and inconvenience motorists?
A: Drivers and businesses are able to adjust to road construction projects, which take place regularly. The city is always committed to minimizing inconvenience to businesses and motorists by how we schedule construction.

Q: Will downtown traffic be affected?
A: People should plan for extra drive time when traveling in a construction zone, in part to avoid dangers to workers. There are multiple alternative routes available for drivers that with a little planning, they should not see much change in travel times. We're planning construction to both efficiently get the work done and keep downtown moving during construction. There will be inconveniences, similar to any road construction project, but planning ahead and providing information to drivers will reduce surprises.

Q: How are you working with businesses on the route?
A: As part of the DPW’s existing “Support for Business” program, we will be promoting the accessibility of the area throughout the construction project with signs, emails, online messaging and other techniques. We’re also taking account of business needs to schedule our work accordingly, and have established a helpline for businesses to call for more info or to discuss concerns.

Q: How will motorists know about lane and road changes – where can they get info?
A: We will notify the public via special roadway signs, news releases, e-blasts, social media and website updates.

Q: How will the construction affect major Downtown events such as Summerfest, ethnic festivals, Bastille Days and Jazz in the Park?
A: We’re closely coordinating with local event planners to sequence construction in a way that minimizes impacts to these events.

Q: When will you build the Operations and Maintenance Facility?
A: Site work began late in 2016. We expect the building to be completed later this year, in time for the arrival of our first vehicle.

Q: How many jobs will the construction provide and what types?
A: Kiewit Infrastructure Co. and its subcontractors will hire a few hundred people at various times for hourly craft jobs on the Phase 1 and Lakefront Lines. That does not include professional services such as engineering and other craft workers hired to relocate utilities.

Q: How do residents learn more about jobs?
A: The work is being constructed by local tradesmen and tradeswomen, and interested residents are encouraged to reach out to the local trade unions to learn about opportunities to participate.  Kiewit Infrastructure Co, the streetcar’s general contractor, is working closely with WRTP/BIG STEP on workforce needs and will be hosting community outreach events to share opportunities on this project as well as careers in construction.  For residents interested in entering the trades and working on the streetcar or any other construction project, WRTP / BIG STEP and Kiewit have partnered to create entry level training classes that provide many of the necessary background skills.  The purpose of the classes is to ensure that incoming candidates are better prepared for a career in the building trades and are successful on a construction job site. For more information on the classes or other opportunities to connect to a career in construction, please reach out to WRTP / BIG STEP at 414-342-9787.

Q: After trackbed is laid, what else needs to be done?
A: The OCS system work, traffic and streetlighing work, and roadway restoration, including pavement marking and signing.

Q: When will overhead power lines and stops be installed?
A: Poles and power lines will be installed, and stops will be erected, after the track construction is complete in an area. The actual timeframe will vary throughout the route and will be coordinated with stakeholders in those areas.

Q: How can I get additional information and see where track will be laid?
A: Follow The Milwaukee Streetcar on social media and/ or check out the project website for up-to-date construction news. Overview maps will be provided on our overall plan, and updates will be available as construction progress. An email ( and construction helpline (414-388-9418) have been set up for questions.




The City of Milwaukee's official streetcar project website.