Kansas City finally starts above-ground work on KC Streetcar extension: ‘It is a life changer’
Now that underground utility work is nearly finished on Main Street, KC Streetcar workers broke ground Wednesday on the system’s extension from Union Station to UMKC. Officials anticipate to start ferrying riders sometime in 2025.
Above-ground work on the KC Streetcar extension is finally underway.
Now that underground utility work is nearly finished on Main Street, KC Streetcar workers broke ground Wednesday on construction of the system’s new route from Union Station to UMKC.
In a ceremony at Main Street at Pershing Road, Kansas City leaders said it will take a little more than two years to install the 3.5 miles of rail and infrastructure.
“For UMKC, this extension is not just a game changer, it is a life changer,” said UMKC Chancellor Mauli Agrawal.
Agrawal said the additional line of streetcar will increase students’ mobility, giving them access to other parts of the city and the ability to travel to work or internships. But Agrawal also said the extension will increase the school’s visibility to the community.
“For reasons ranging from fuel economy to climate change, to equal opportunity for all, public mass transport is the future,” Agrawal said.
Bill Yord, the Kansas City Area Transportation Authority’s utility project manager, said that laying the rail segments will create fewer traffic diversions and detours on Main Street than the last few years of underground work.
But drivers should still expect cones and barriers.
“It won’t look as chaotic,” Yord said. “It’ll be a little bit less scattered and a little bit more coordinated.”
Officials said construction of the rails will take place one segment at a time, and crews will only work on one side of the road at a time. North-to-south traffic will continue to flow along Main Street during construction.
KC Streetcar estimates the construction of the rail, poles, wires and other components will be completed in late 2024. They anticipate to start ferrying riders sometime in 2025.
Zack Brown, who lives in the nearby Western Auto building, was one of several people to sign sections of rail as part of the groundbreaking ceremony. He said he was already a fan of Kansas City’s bus and streetcar system, and was looking forward to completion of the extension..
“It makes a really good transit spine for the whole city to be from the River Market all the way down to 51st Street,” Brown says.
Brown said he rides the bus regularly but he likes the reliability of the streetcar, and looks forward to the new route.
“It opens your options for places to take it,” he said. “Just the connections off of that is what I’m imagining. It can go anywhere from a single line and branch off of that.”