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SDOT Starts Testing New First Hill Streetcar Project

First Hill Streetcar on display in March, 2015.
Flickr Photo/Atomic Taco (CC-BY-NC-ND)
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First Hill Streetcar on display in March, 2015.

Testing of Seattle's new streetcar project is underway. The multi-million dollar project is more than year behind schedule.

The sound of one of the new streetcars chugging was heard along at low speed on the new two and a half mile route this week.

It's a project called the First Hill Streetcar but despite its name, it will actually connect parts of several neighborhoods, including First Hill, the International District, Pioneer Square, the Central Area and Capitol Hill.

The streetcar project will help riders connect to Sound Transit's light rail system. The northern end of the route is close to the planned light rail stop in Capitol Hill.

Years ago Sound Transit once considered putting a light rail stop in First Hill, but that plan was shelved.

In 2008, voters approved a ballot measure to expand transit service and that paved the way for the new streetcar project.

The First Hill Streetcar was originally expected to be operating almost a year and a half ago. But the project has had delays, partly because the company building the streetcars wasn't able to deliver the vehicles to the city on time.

Seattle officials have not given a specific opening date for the route.

Year started with KUOW: 1998.