The Wires Are Going “HOT”!

KC Streetcar fires up the overhead wires.

This week marks another major milestone on the KC Streetcar project as crews electrify the wires that will power the streetcar. Testing will begin the morning of Wednesday, October 21 and will continue throughout the week all along the streetcar route.

Once testing of the overhead, or catenary wires, begins, all wires are considered “hot” and electrified at all times. The testing of the overhead wires also symbolizes the transfer of streetcar activity from construction to operations and testing.

The KC Streetcar project includes more than 24,000 feet of both overhead and underground wire.  These wires power the streetcar, carrying 750 volts of direct current power through them and into the track. This power, provided by Kansas City Power & Light, is supplied through 4 sub-stations that are strategically placed along the streetcar route. Those locations include the Main Street Viaduct near Union Station; Truman Road South at Main Street; the 6th Street and Main Street overpass; and the Singleton Yard Vehicle Maintenance Facility located at 3rd Street and Holmes Road.

“This latest round of streetcar activity signifies the intense progress being made on this project as we prepare the infrastructure for the arrival of the first streetcar vehicle,” said Tom Gerend, executive director of the KC Streetcar Authority.  “These wires are now electrified and considered extremely dangerous if touched. The public and surrounding properties should use caution when around these wires,” continued Gerend.

Property owners/managers, developers, and contractors that perform construction, building maintenance or any exterior work along the streetcar route will now have to follow a new track access process, which is managed by the City of Kansas City’s permitting department.  Track Access Training and a Track Access Permit are required prior to performing any work that is within four feet of the nearest streetcar track and within 10 feet of the overhead wires.  To apply for a Track Access Permit, applicants can call the City of Kansas City, MO., directly at 816-513-2760.  To sign up for Track Access Training, interested parties can call the KC Streetcar Operations Team at 816-804-8882.

The Track Access Permit also applies to community organizations, businesses and neighborhood associations that may be working or hosting an event within four feet of the closest streetcar track and within 10 feet of the overhead wires.  An example of this would be the erecting of a large tent, washing windows, or the hanging of banners/signage from a building or pedestrian light poles.

This Track Access process applies to all work or activities that may take place on:

  • Main Street from Union Station to the River Market
  • 5th Street from Delaware – Grand
  • Grand from 3rd Street – 5th Street
  • 3rd Street from Grand – Delaware
  • Delaware from 3rd Street – Independence Ave.

As Kansas City prepares for the arrival of the first streetcar vehicle, the KC Streetcar Constructors are busy testing the track, facilities, power infrastructure and communication systems associated with the streetcar project. These stand alone tests are being performed now prior to the arrival of the streetcar vehicle.  Once the first streetcar vehicle arrives, integrated testing can begin.

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