• Charlotte trolleys to shut down for 18 months

    By: Mark Becker

    Updated:

    CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Charlotte’s streetcar will shut down in June and will not reopen for 18 months, officials said.

    There have been road closures and delays because of the project, and reporter Mark Becker is asking leaders if it has been worth it.

    Charlotte Area Transit System officials said they will change a short shuttle service to a small commuter line that will be between 1 ½ miles to 4 miles long and have three times as many stops.

    The first step in the project is to shut streetcar operations down, though.

    Corey Smith rides the streetcar almost daily.

    “We got a lot of people at (Central Piedmont Community College) who catch it, and a lot of people at my work catch it,” Smith told Channel 9. So, I think they'll probably be a little upset.”

    Smith said it will be an inconvenience.

    The second phase of the Gold Line in uptown and Elizabeth has brought inconvenience to many others.

    [Elizabeth neighbors exhausted after latest bridge construction delay]

    A portion of Graham Street is closed and much of West Trade Street is too.

    “Construction's always painful, and we do appreciate the folks and the patience they've shown,” project manager David McDonald said.

    McDonald oversees the Gold Line project for CATS and he said they'd always planned to shut down the old trolleys for about a year to make way for the new streetcars.

    A contractor's mistakes on the Hawthorne Lane bridge have forced them to close the streetcars down sooner than they wanted.

    In the meantime, businesses along the Gold Line are trying to survive.

    “It's been a pain in the neck, to be honest,” said Adam Quigley, manager at Hawthorne’s New York Pizza and Bar.

    Hawthorne’s Pizza offers construction lunch specials.

    “We've had a couple of restaurants along the way that haven't made it through the construction, and, with any stroke of luck, we will come out stronger than we went in,” Quigley said.

    CATS said the Gold Line, which will look like a commuter train, will go from 1,700 riders a day to 4,100.

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