Construction starts on S-Line expansion

The S-Line now runs later, but by December, the region’s only streetcar will so run more frequently.  On Monday, Salt Lake County, South Salt Lake and UTA officials celebrated the start of construction on new rail tracks that will allow for UTA’s streetcars to fun every fifteen minutes.

The new double track will be built along the streetcar line in South Salt Lake City, between 300 and 500 East and will increase the line’s frequency by five minutes by removing the need for trains to wait for each other to pass at 500 East.

The project will cost around $6.5 million with Salt Lake County contributing $4.5 million and the Wasatch Front Regional Council contributing just under $2 million.

Officials anticipate that ridership on the S-Line will increase significantly over the next few years as just under 1,123 residential units are under construction within a block of the S-Line in Sugar House and South Salt Lake.  Those units are in addition to the recently-completed Zellerbach Apartments and the Moda S-Line townhomes that added a combined 324 units at the 400 East block of the S-Line in South Salt Lake.

The S-Line has contributed to a surge in residential development in and around downtown South Salt Lake area.  There are three projects currently under construction that will add nearly 500 residential units, the Ritz Classic Apartments, the Hi-Grade Apartments and the Liberty Crossing Townhomes.  With the exception of the Hi-Grade that is adjacent to but doesn’t front the streetcar, all of these residential projects under were designed to interact with the S-Line Greenway, the trail and open space that run along the streetcar line.

Residential construction is equally booming in Sugar House along the streetcar and greenway with four projects under-construction within a block of the S-Line.  The four projects, the Sugarmont Apartments, The Brixton21 by Urbana and the Liberty Place Townhomes will add a combined 641 residential units to the neighborhood.

By the time the double track is completed construction could be underway on a fifth Sugar House development.  Lowe Property Group plans to build The Fairmont, a proposed six-story, 59-unit residential mixed-use development at the southwest corner of Elm Avenue and McClelland Street.  The project will be less than a half-block from Fairmont Station, the S-Line’s current terminus.

The double track was originally intended to be part of the proposed extension of the S-Line from its current terminus at the intersection of McClelland Street and Sugarmont Drive to Highland Drive and 2100 South.  Salt Lake City leaders applied for a TIGER grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation in the spring of 2015 to partially fund the extension, but the application was not selected.  The city had the opportunity to apply again for the grant in 2016 but according to several sources, Mayor Jackie Bisksupki opted not to reapply.

Posted by Isaac Riddle

Isaac Riddle grew up just outside of Salt Lake City, Utah. He has a BA in English literature from the University of Utah and a Masters of Journalism from Temple University. Isaac has written for Next City, The Philadelphia Public School Notebook and Salt Lake City Weekly. Before embarking on a career in journalism, Isaac taught High School English in the Kensington neighborhood of Philadelphia. Isaac is the founder of Building Salt Lake and can be reached at isaac@buildingsaltlake.com.