Omaha-based firm selected to lead streetcar construction project

Kiewit Corp. chosen for its extensive urban rail experience

Streetcar rendering 4th Street

Last updated on July 2nd, 2019 at 10:58 am

The city of Milwaukee has selected Omaha, Neb.-based Kiewit Corp.  as the construction manager and general contractor for the downtown streetcar project and can now begin sequencing and staging work on the project.

Kiewit is a Fortune 500 company and one of the largest contractors in the world.

A rendering of the Milwaukee streetcar, for which Milwaukee Composites plans to make the flooring.
A rendering of the Milwaukee streetcar.

The company was chosen, out of seven firms that were interviewed, based on its extensive work on urban rail projects and work done for the Chicago Transit Authority, said Ghassan Korban, commissioner of the Department of Public Works.

“We’re very excited about this important milestone,” Korban said. “Having a very competent and experienced contractor will ensure success of the project.”

One of the main criteria of the selection process was the firm’s commitment to matching the city’s budget and timeline for the project, which has been done, Korban said.

Kiewit Corp. has also made a commitment to work with the city on its workforce hiring goals and ensure 40 percent of workers on the streetcar project are part of the Residences Preference Program (RPP) and 21 percent are part of the Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) program, Korban said.

In April, the city issued a request for proposal for a construction manager and general contractor for phase one of the downtown streetcar project and the lakefront line extension.

Construction for phase 1 will now begin with sequencing and ordering materials that will take a long lead time, such as the tracks, so enough material will be on site. Construction will continue through 2017 and into 2018.

The construction manager and general contractor will be responsible for installation of the rail systems, including the overhead contact wire system and streetcar stops, and all necessary civil and road work and the operations and maintenance facility.

Pennsylvania-based Brookville Equipment Corp. will build the first four streetcar vehicles for $18.6 million.

Streetcar rendering 4th Street
Streetcar rendering 4th Street

The first Brookville streetcar vehicle is anticipated to be delivered in December 2017. The phase 1 streetcar line is expected to be operational in the fall 2018. The lakefront line is expected to be operational sometime in 2019.

In 2015, the Common Council approved the $124 million downtown streetcar project. The cost to build the system will be paid for with about $65 million in federal funds and about $59 million from tax incremental financing districts.

The city was hoping to extend the streetcar line approximately 1.2 miles to the new Milwaukee Bucks arena site, but found out earlier this month it did not receive a $20 million federal grant necessary to do so. The Common Council approved a funding package that would use $20 million of tax incremental financing money to cover the matching $20 million needed to complete the extension. The city plans on applying for another grant for the extension in 2017.

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