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Streetcar opening day set

Jay Hanselman

Cincinnati officials Monday signed a contract for construction work on the city's controversial streetcar system. 

The action means Cincinnati-based Messer Construction and two other firms can proceed with the project.  That includes ordering materials, and beginning track construction, plus the power system, the stations and a maintenance and operation facility located at Race and Henry Streets. 

The city says the system could be ready for passengers on September 15, 2016. 

Messer and the other firms are honoring a bid they submitted earlier this year when construction was to begin in April.  The bid was higher than the city projected.  City Council and the federal government are providing more money to allow the project to move forward at the higher price. 

Meanwhile, a Duke Energy contractor relocated underground electrical facilities along Walnut Street at Fifth this past weekend.  The city says work will continue along Walnut, and gas main relocation work along Elm Street in Over-the-Rhine is expected to begin this week.