Crews build streetcar track, traffic headaches on Central Parkway, 12th Street

The Cincinnati Streetcar promises to simplify the commute in and out of the city's urban core for residents, commuters and visitors alike when it's completed in a few years.

But in the meantime, the construction projects needed to set the cars in motion are going to put up a few traffic roadblocks for all parties involved.

As of Thursday night, westbound lanes of Central Parkway at Race Street are closed until 7 a.m. Monday, April 28.

The road closure is in place so crews can install a section of curved track for the streetcar, according to Ursula Thomas Miller, construction engagement manager for the city of Cincinnati. It's in no way related to the embattled Central Parkway bikeway project.

Miller said crews are on duty and working "around the clock" to minimize the length of the closure at the intersection.

In order to get around the affected roadways, westbound motorists on Central Parkway will need to detour north on Vine Street to westbound 12th Street, and then follow Race Street south back to Central Parkway.

The detour for southbound motorists on Vine Street entails going west on 12th Street and south on Race before they get back to Central Parkway.

Detours are posted in advance of the road closure, Miller said.

The Central Parkway traffic adjustments follow the closure of a portion of 12th Street earlier in the day.

Starting at 8 a.m., the roadway was closed between Main and Clay streets until 5 p.m. That same 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. schedule is in effect through Monday so Duke Energy can replace a gas main in that area, according to Miller.

Planners picked that particular schedule as a way to limit traffic congestion during primary morning and early evening commute times.

Motorists heading east on 12th Street will detour north on Clay, then east onto 14th Street before making their way to Main Street.

Those going north on Main Street can't turn left onto 12th during the affected time period. Instead, they'll need to continue traveling north on Main to 13th Street, then south on Walnut back to 12th.

As a friendly reminder, Miller said motorists and bicyclists should slow down and use caution when approaching each of the listed areas.

And, if and when possible, commuters are advised to take alternative routes during morning and evening rush hours.

About The Cincinnati Streetcar Project

Construction for the Cincinnati Streetcar is coordinated by officials from city of Cincinnati, along with utility companies, Metro and other partners. The goal, according to the city, is to "minimize any disruption to residents, businesses and workers along the route," Miller wrote in a release.

Maintaining effective transport to and from businesses during the road work is crucial for the streetcar project, which is intended to "stimulate development, expand transportation options, and enhance livability by connecting key communities in and around the center city," according to an official statement from the city.

Streetcar proponents believe the transportation system is expected to bring more residents and more jobs to Cincinnati, increasing a broader tax base to fund city services.

The first phase of the rail transit system, scheduled to begin passenger service in September 2016, consists of a 3.6-mile loop extending from The Banks to Findlay Market through the Central Business District and Over-the-Rhine.

Future phases are planned to connect to the University of Cincinnati and Uptown neighborhoods and beyond.

The city hasn't detailed plans for future construction projects pertaining to the streetcar.

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