Updated: July 21, 2023
KC Streetcar service returns to downtown after two weeks of track repair work.
Track repairs on the Main Street Bridge over I-670 are complete and KC Streetcar service resumed at 6:00 a.m. on Friday morning, July 21.
On Tuesday, July 4, the KC Streetcar required an unplanned suspension of service because of a track failure on a portion of the Main Street Bridge over I-670. The track failure was due to multiple factors including thermal expansion and degradation of the streetcar track slab and related repair materials around the failed rail. Repair work commenced early Thursday morning, July 6, and continued with multiple crews working around the clock. Repair work was estimated to take two to three weeks.
“Within 36 hours of the track failure, the collective KC Streetcar team had developed an aggressive, multi-agency repair plan and mobilized contractor and supplier resources from across the county,” said Tom Gerend, Executive Director of the KC Streetcar Authority. “And within 48 hours of the suspension, crews, streetcar staff, and partners were on site making planned repairs and the team worked day and night since then to ensure a safe and timely recovery of service,” Gerend continued.
Work included repairing the failed track as well as reinforcing all of the rails on the bridge. Work included:
- Inspection, cut, demo, and cleaning of all four rails on the bridge.
- Fully reconstructed 800 linear feet of embedded track in 2,220 gallons of elastomeric grout.
- Re-welded all rail joints and constructed all four approach slabs using 45 cubic yards of concrete.
- Replaced deteriorating pavement within the Truman Road North and Main Street intersection.
- Installed five new surface drains to improve roadway and track drainage.
Additionally, while KC Streetcar service was suspended, the team fully inspected the entire downtown alignment and completed preventive maintenance in other areas and locations of need.
With the resumption of KC Streetcar service, the Power & Light District northbound and the Kauffman Center northbound streetcar stops are back open and Main Street between Truman Road North and South has reopened to all traffic.
While KC Streetcar service was suspended, transit service continued on Main Street thanks to the partnership with the KC Area Transportation Authority (KCATA). During this time, the Main MAX was re-routed from Grand Boulevard to Main Street, stopping at streetcar stops with frequencies of 20-30 minutes.
Updated: July 20, 2023
All rail welds on the Main Street Bridge over I-670 are now complete. The last of the rebar installation, drainage work, and the final concrete and grout pours will occur today. Huge thanks to the teams working day & night to make these repairs – building a full city block with rail in two weeks. We are very close to resuming full KC Streetcar service. More updates will be posted later today. Also, follow us on our social media sites (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram) and sign up for Service Text Alerts by texting “streetcar” to 816-685-8541.
Updated: July 18, 2023
Night crews have been welding rail this week with day crews pouring concrete for the track slabs. Having two shifts of work allows for significant progress to be made and a resumption of full streetcar service sooner. Work remaining includes completion of rail welds, installation of rebar, installation of track drains, and additional concrete pours on the track slab approaches. Rail welding and concrete work are all weather dependent. More information about a return to full streetcar service will be shared later this week.
Updated: July 16, 2023
Significant progress has continued on the Main Street Bridge over I-670 track repairs over the weekend. Progress includes setting and grouting all 4 streetcar rails across the bridge, completion of 3 rail welds, and initial work to install two new track drains on the north end of the bridge. Work remaining includes completion of rail welds, installation of rebar, and concrete pours on the track slab approaches. Rail welding and concrete work are all weather dependent.
Updated: July 15, 2023
On Thursday night/early Friday morning, crews set the rails and started pouring grout along the track slab on the Main Street Bridge over I-670. Work will continue this weekend, weather dependent.
Updated: July 13, 2023
Progress continues on the track repairs. Setting the rail has begun and crews continue to work around the clock lining the rail and prepping for grouting of the track slab. All work is weather and temperature dependent.
Updated: July 11, 2023
KC Streetcar Track Repairs Making Progress
On Tuesday, July 4, the KC Streetcar required an unplanned suspension of service because of a track failure on a portion of the Main Street Bridge over I-670.
Repair work commenced early Thursday morning, July 6, and will continue with multiple crews working around the clock until all work is complete and streetcar service resumed. Based on the current repair plan, work is estimated to take two to three weeks.
The work is following a phased approach (two-to-three week work plan):
- Phase 1: Assessment, demolition, and slab preparation
- (July 5 mobilization; July 6 start of Phase 1)
- Phase 2: Rail welding and placement
- Phase 3: Rail finishing and setting
- Phase 4: Track slab pour and finishing
- Phase 5: Curing, Testing, Resumption of Service
The repair schedule is dependent on a variety of factors including weather, field conditions, and access to materials, resources, and equipment. During repair work, Main Street is closed between Truman Road North and South, as well as the Power & Light District northbound and the Kauffman Center northbound streetcar stops.
A. What happened and what caused the track failure?
Preliminary evaluation suggests there are likely multiple contributing factors that led to the rail failure. These include thermal expansion of the rail and failures of adjacent track slab and related repair materials designed to hold the rail in place. Additional potential contributing factors are still under review and assessment.
B. How will the current repair address this failure?
The rail and track slab repair currently underway includes several design modifications to the address the recent failure, including:
- Full excavation of all 4 bridge rails (not just the single rail that failed).
- Cutting and removal of all 4 bridge rails to remove potential rail stress, assess rail integrity.
- Reweld and resetting of all 4 rails.
- Track slab and bridge approach replacement using strengthened concrete mix with fiber reinforcement and rebar.
- Installation of two new track drains at northern end of bridge structure to assist with drainage and moisture control.
C. Are other areas on the downtown streetcar line at risk for a similar failure?
Following the track failure, the KC Streetcar team, with support from design and construction professionals, completed additional investigations of the entirety of the current alignment and this work is still ongoing. Going forward, the team is reviewing and modifying track inspection procedures to ensure they sufficiently capture the lessons learned from this occurrence and serve as proactive monitoring of the track and track slab conditions.
D. What is being done to prevent this type of failure with the streetcar extension projects currently underway?
Lessons learned from early observations on the downtown streetcar line have already led to alternative design approaches for both the KC Streetcar Main Street and Riverfront extensions such as strengthening the track slab with rebar, using more durable mix, and including thicker track slab profile for majority of the extension. These improvements have already been designed and, in the case of the Main Street Extension, are already under active construction. Additionally, design professionals are reviewing the expansion design plans again to ensure they sufficiently capture the lessons learned from this failure.
SERVICE CONTINUES ON MAIN STREET
While KC Streetcar service is suspended, riders can use the Main Street MAX bus service which has been re-routed to the downtown streetcar line from Grand Boulevard to Main Street. The southern portion of the route (past Union Station) will remain the same.
Bus frequencies are estimated to be 20-30 minutes, are free to ride, and service will conclude at midnight Sunday – Saturday.
Main Street MAX will stop at the following streetcar stops and locations downtown with arrivals of 20-30 minutes:
- River Market North stop at 3rd & Grand (riders to board from the sidewalk and not the streetcar stop)
- River Market West stop at 4th & Delaware
- City Market stop at 5th & Walnut
- North Loop stops at 7th Street
- Library stops at 9th Street
- Metro Center stops at 12th Street
- Power & Light southbound stop ONLY at 14th Street – Power & Light northbound stop is temporarily closed.
- Kauffman Center southbound stop ONLY at 16th & Main
- NW Corner of 16th and Main – Kauffman Center northbound stop is temporarily closed. Please board on 16th Street just west of Main St.
- Crossroads stops at 19th Street
- Union Station stop. Southbound passengers board at Union Station stop. Northbound passengers board across the street on the east side of Main St, north of Pershing
The KC Streetcar operations team has been redeployed to support the KCATA bus bridge deployment and Main Street MAX re-route and to assist riders at transit stops (bus and streetcar) impacted by the reroute.
Please note that all northbound Main MAX buses will layover at the RideKC 3rd and Grand parking lot. Passengers will need to de-board at that point and board again from the River Market North stop on 3rd Street.
Questions about bus service, please contact the RideKC Call Center at 816.221.0660.
To stay connected on KC Streetcar service, sign up for free text alerts with RideKC Notify. Text ’streetcar’ to 816.685.8541 to subscribe.