HDR Tapped to Complete Design of Omaha’s Modern Streetcar System

Written by Carolina Worrell, Senior Editor, Railway Age
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HDR announced May 8 that it has been selected by the Omaha Streetcar Authority to deliver the final design for the city’s 3.2-mile streetcar project, connecting downtown Omaha to the University of Nebraska Medical Center.

According to the Omaha-based firm, HDR’s services will include track, transit systems, traffic, architectural and other civil design; procurement support; public engagement and operations.

HDR previously led preliminary design of the project, which will use the construction manager at risk delivery method, defining the streetcar’s route, stop locations and vehicle specifications. Omaha is home to HDR’s global headquarters.

“The Omaha Streetcar is a transformational project for the urban core of Omaha,” said HDR Principal-in-Charge Matt Tondl. “As a lifelong Omahan, being part of the team that makes this project a reality is one of the highlights of my career.”

The Omaha Streetcar project will connect neighborhoods and drive opportunities through infill development. It features 23 stops, two bridge replacements, a new vehicle maintenance facility and more. Multiple major employers are located along the corridor and, according to HDR, an economic benefits analysis predicted an increase of more than 16,000 jobs along the streetcar route. Similar projects in communities, such as Kansas City and Milwaukee, have generated billions in economic development and re-energized downtown neighborhoods.

The design phase is expected to be complete in mid-2024, with streetcar service anticipated to open in 2027.

“Communities across North America have benefited from their investments in modern streetcars,” said HDR Global Transit Director Tom Waldron. “HDR has had a direct hand in helping many of these cities realize these benefits and we’re excited for our transit experts to bring similar results to Omaha.”

“HDR is an industry leader in modern streetcar planning, design and program management,” the company said. This expertise includes items critical to the success of the Omaha Streetcar project, such as utility coordination, leveraging the benefits of CMAR project delivery and understanding operational needs for a starter system. HDR has worked on streetcar projects in more than 30 cities across North America, including the nearby Kansas City streetcar and its Main Street and Riverfront extensions.

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