Duke wants operating agreement before beginning streetcar work

Oct 16, 2012

The president of Duke Energy says the company will not provide a construction schedule for moving its wires and pipes for the city’s streetcar project until the two sides reach a deal on an operating agreement. 

Julie Janson expressed her concerns in an October 10th letter to City Manager Milton Dohoney, Jr.

Janson said the operating agreement must allow the company to have immediate access to equipment during emergencies and enough time to resolve any issues. 

She also said without an agreement, the company will insist on an 8-foot minimum clearance between the streetcar tracks and Duke’s utilities.  In April, Duke offered a 3-foot clearance with certain requirements that would be spelled out in the operating agreement.  Reverting back to the 8-foot distance would affect the projects scope and construction schedule.

Duke and the city are still arguing about who should pay for the construction work to relocate the company’s utilities near the streetcar route.  The city says it Duke’s responsibility.  The company disagrees and says it should be part of the project budget.

City Council voted last month to spend $15 million from the sale of the Blue Ash Airport to pay for the Duke’s utility relocation while the two sides work on a compromise or eventually let a court resolve the issues.

The city wants to begin actual construction of the streetcar tracks early in 2013 with completion sometime in 2015.