QLINE nearing launch date, traffic returns to normal along Woodward Avenue

Posted at 6:17 PM, Dec 01, 2016
and last updated 2016-12-01 18:17:14-05

Traffic is back to normal on Woodward Avenue as the bulk of the work between Sibley and Chandler Streets has come to an end. 

The QLINE work that's been underway for approximately two years is nearly finished. Only a handful of workers remain, but the line itself is finished. 

The construction project was a $60 million curb to curb rebuild project combining efforts from MDOT and M-1 Rail. The project included new street lighting, drainage and underground utilities.

It was all part of a multi-million dollar private/public partnership that will soon lead to streetcars driving up and down Woodward Avenue. 

"The partnership between M-1 RAIL and MDOT is transforming the Woodward Corridor and surrounding neighborhoods,” said M-1 RAIL CEO Matt Cullen. “I want to thank MDOT for bringing this vision to reality and helping set the stage for continued residential and business growth over the next 30 years."

The minds behind the project are looking ahead to improvements in the area. The idea of the QLINE isn't to only add mobility to the area, but to drive economic development. 

Early estimates show that a total of $3 billion of development will be brought to the corridor in the first 10 years of the QLINE. Numbers released by the groups behind the project show that $1.3 billion in projects are already completed or under construction. An additional $275 million in development is also underway.

“This is more than reconstructing a road, it’s working with local partners and utilities to ensure public infrastructure investments provide the biggest bang for the buck for taxpayers,” said Tony Kratofil, MDOT metro region engineer. 

Drivers for the new streetcars are already being hired. Training will begin soon, although workers acknowledged that there is a lot to be done between now and the launch date expected in Spring 2017.