Mill Avenue closed through downtown Tempe this week for work along streetcar line

Feb 28, 2022, 3:00 PM
(Facebook Photo/Valley Metro)...
(Facebook Photo/Valley Metro)
(Facebook Photo/Valley Metro)

PHOENIX – Mill Avenue through downtown Tempe is closed this week for repaving work as the city’s long-awaited streetcar line nears completion.

The closure in both directions between Rio Salado Parkway and University Drive began Monday morning and is scheduled to last until 6 a.m. Friday.

Additional repaving along the streetcar line will be done throughout March, the city said in a press release.

The work is being done now to “reduce future maintenance and provide a safer, better street experience,” the release says.

Local bus route 66 and Orbit routes Jupiter, Earth and Mercury are being detoured during this week’s closure. Cross-street through traffic, delivery zones along cross streets, residential and business access, and pedestrian access (with some crosswalk detours) are being maintained.

The Tempe Streetcar is expected to open this spring, but a precise date has not yet been determined.

The 3-mile route along Rio Salado Parkway, Mill Avenue and Apache Boulevard will have 14 stops and two connections to Valley Metro light rail.

The streetcars run off a combination of overhead electrical wires and lithium-ion battery power.

The line had been set to open last year, but supply chain issues and other COVID-related interruptions prevented manufacturer Brookville from delivering all the vehicles on time, according to the Valley Metro project website. Five vehicles of the six vehicles have been delivered and are undergoing testing.

“These delays and our priority to open up this system safely and reliably, with sufficient testing and inspection, have moved the opening date for passenger service … to spring 2022,” the project website says.

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Mill Avenue closed through downtown Tempe this week for work along streetcar line