Tramlines for the streets of Tampere – the busiest phase of the tramway project is starting
The construction of part 1 of the Tampere tramway (city centre–Hervanta–Tampere University Hospital) is progressing according to plan and the current year will be the busiest in the project when it comes to construction work. This year’s target for building new two-track line is five kilometres, i.e. a total of 20 kilometres of new track, for the streets of Tampere. Most of the tramline stops as well as the largest tramway bridges near Hervannan valtaväylä will also be constructed this year. Work continues at both ends of Hämeenkatu. The construction of the buildings for the depot area in Hervanta will start in the autumn.
– “This year will also see the construction of a great number of technical systems, such as power supply stations, safety devices, traffic lights, lighting, power feeders and overhead lines,” says Mikko Nyhä, Project Manager at the Tramway Alliance.
Construction will pick up pace in March–April when the weather gets warmer. Due to the cold winter, frost runs deep, and this may slightly affect the planned start dates of certain work phases.
Changes to bus routes due to tramway construction
The slab track and rails are being installed this year on all the streets under construction. For instance,
On Sammonkatu, the target is to get the slab track ready for the total length of the street. On Hämeenkatu, work is underway in its western end between the Tuulensuu block and Keskustori square, and between Rautatienkatu and Aleksanterinkatu in the eastern end. A water supply line is being moved in the area between Hämeensilta and Keskustori.
Due to tramway construction work at the western end of Hämeenkatu, starting on 19 March, public transport will partly be diverted to a new route when travelling from east to west on Hämeenkatu. Buses will drive past Raatihuone onto Aleksis Kiven katu, Puutarhakatu and Hämeenpuisto and past the main library Metso to Pirkankatu. To get from Keskustori to Aleksis Kiven katu, buses drive along a temporary, fenced driveway that has been constructed in front of Raatihuone. Driving from west to east between Tuulensuu and Keskustori, buses will use Hämeenkatu.
Buses will also be diverted to new routes in Hervanta, where they will be driving according to alternative traffic arrangements via Hervannan valtaväylä starting on 19 March. Insinöörinkatu will be closed for vehicle traffic between Orivedenkatu and Opiskelijankatu and between Lindforsinkatu and Teekkarinkatu. In addition, Insinöörinkatu will be changed into a one-way street between Orivedenkatu and Kanjoninkatu, with the direction of driving being towards Kanjoninkatu. Taxi ranks will be moved from their current place in front of Duo shopping centre to Lindforsinkatu.
On Itsenäisyydenkatu, work in the tunnel underneath the railway tracks will continue during the spring so that, in April-May, east-to-west traffic will be moved to the north side of the tunnel and west-to-east traffic to the south side of the tunnel. In late summer, construction work will move to the south side of the tunnel and traffic will be directed to the north side of the tunnel in both directions.
New tramway bridges for Hervannan valtaväylä
The largest tramway bridges will be constructed this year. Work on the new Vacker underpass bridge that crosses main road 9 launched in November 2017 is moving forward with the moulds going in and the cover being poured in the summer. Work on the new Koivusenoja bridge, which is a combined tramway, pedestrian and cycling bridge across the canyon area, will commence in February and the cover will be poured by the end of the summer. Preliminary work on the Hallinoja tramway bridge will also be launched in the summer.
All in all, eight existing bridges will be altered and eight completely new bridges will be constructed in the tramway project. The total combined length of completely new bridges required by the tramway is over 600 metres. Work on half of the bridges, i.e. primarily the alteration work on the existing bridges, was already completed last year.
A multidimensional set of technical systems for the tramway
Several technical systems will be constructed for part 1 of the tramway in addition to the surface structure, i.e. the slab track and rails. This year, such work includes systems relating to power feeders, the safety devices for controlled rail switches, traffics lights and other lighting for the streets and the overhead lines for the tramway.
– “The work and schedules will be planned carefully among the experts of the Tramway Alliance to ensure the compatibility of all the systems built for the tramway,” says Mikko Nyhä.
The electrification of the tramway has commenced with the construction of power feeders and power supply stations in Hervanta and along Hervannan valtaväylä. Ten power supply stations to be adapted to the existing street environment will be constructed for the first part of the tramway. The power supply station on Itsenäisyydenkatu will be placed under the street area. The quantity and placement of the supply stations is such that the failure of one station does not prevent the continued operation of the tram cars.
The project costs are in line with the target
The implementation phase of the tramway project has progressed as planned. The targeted cost for part 1 approved by Tampere City Council was approximately EUR 219 million. The project content has been specified during the implementation phase, and the adjusted targeted cost is now EUR 232.4 million.
– “Currently, the work is 18 per cent complete and roughly one quarter of the project time has been used. These numbers will be available throughout the project on the City of Tampere website,” says Ville-Mikael Tuominen, who is the Project Director for the Tramway Development Programme at the City of Tampere.
To meet the wishes of the City of Tampere, the Tramway Alliance will also implement separately procured synergic road construction and water supply work in connection with the tramway construction. At the moment, the share of road construction work is EUR 5.4 million and the share of water supply work is EUR 7.2 million.
As requested by the City of Tampere, more construction work than that required for the tramway will be carried out on the street areas and pavements of Hämeenkatu and Sammonkatu. Construction of pavements will take place on Hämeenkatu this year in the Tuulensuu block at the west end of the street and between Rautatienkatu and Tuomiokirkonkatu at the east end of the street. Road construction carried out simultaneously with the construction of the tramway will save time and lower the overall costs and also reduce the interruptions caused by construction work. It is for the same reason that the Tramway Alliance also refurbishes and renews the water supply network when moving lines and pipes as required by the tramway.
Design and development phase of part 2 has started
The Tramway Alliance has initiated the development of and calculation of the targeted cost for part 2 of the tramway, which runs from Pyynikintori via Hiedanranta to Lentävänniemi. This includes determining the targeted cost for a single-line track from Hiedanranta to Lielahdenkatu. The Tampere City Board gave its approval for initiating the design and development phase of part 2 of the tramway last December. The route for the tramline between Sepänkatu and Santalahti was approved by the City Board earlier this year, on 12 February. The solution selected from among the proposed routes was “the Bridge” in which the tramway runs through the Santalahti area between Rantatie and Paasikiventie and crosses Paasikiventie on a 100-metre overpass bridge located west of the Santalahti residential area. The City Board aims to decide on the construction of part 2 of the tramway in October 2020 at the latest.
Information regarding the effects of the tramway construction work and traffic arrangements will be provided as the work continues in the affected areas in various channels of the Tramway Alliance: raitiotieallianssi.fi, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube.
Tampere tramway construction work in 2018
Segment 1, City Centre:
On Pirkankatu, in the northeast corner of Pyynikintori square, the wastewater pipeline will be moved in early 2018 and during the spring the work will progress to the area between Pyynikintori and Sepänkatu. The work will cause changes to pedestrian routes as well as to private car and bus traffic. Pyynikintori bus stops located on the south side of the street will have to be moved from time to time as the work progresses.
As of April, the earthworks that started last year on Pirkankatu will continue from the Metso library building towards Mariankatu. Work on the surface structure on Pirkankatu, i.e. the slab track and rails, will also start in the spring. Pirkankatu will be a two-way street during the construction of the tramway, and buses will run as usual. One side of the street is always reserved for pedestrians and cyclists during the construction work.
The construction of the tramway in the Hämeenpuisto area will begin in April. Work in the park area will be carried out in several phases, taking until 2020 to be fully completed. In the first phase, which lasts roughly a year, a district heating line will be moved in Hämeenpuisto to make way for the tramline and cables will be directed into pipes, where necessary, to the street area in use during the work. The slab track is also already being constructed in the Hämeenpuisto park area. The work will cause changes to the pedestrian and cycling routes and vehicle traffic in the Hämeenpuisto and Pirkankatu areas when the pavements and street areas are turned into construction sites.
At the west end of Hämeenkatu between Hämeenpuisto and Näsilinnankatu, the installation of pavers will continue for a few dozen metres in early April, after which everything but the electrical installations for the tramway will be complete in the Tuulensuu block. As an extension procured by the City of Tampere, pavements will be constructed to match the street design. The work will start in April and it will affect the pedestrian routes in the area. Access to the properties in the area will be ensured during the work.
In the area between Näsilinnankatu and Kuninkaankatu, moving lines to make way for the tramline started last year. Starting in April this year, the tramway construction work covering line transfers, layers required by the tramway, the slab track and the surface structure will continue from Näsilinnankatu towards Hämeensilta. The construction of a branch line for the district heating network running underneath Hämeenkatu at the intersection of Kuninkaankatu and Hämeenkatu will be implemented this year. Because of the work, Kuninkaankatu will be a two-way street between Hämeenkatu and Hallituskatu in order to allow driving to the lots located along that section of the street and to enable maintenance traffic. In the future, driving from Kuninkaankatu to Hämeenkatu will only be allowed for taxis and buses.
In the area between Hämeensilta and Keskustori, the relocation of a water pipe has been implemented since the end of February while taking advantage of the traffic arrangements made on account of the refurbishment of the Hämeensilta bridge. The City of Tampere launched the refurbishment of the Hämeensilta bridge on 5 February and, from that day onwards, private cars were no longer allowed on Hämeenkatu.
At the east end of Hämeenkatu, the first task in early 2018 is to implement the transfer of the water line on the south side of the street. The work will progress one block at a time towards Hämeensilta, to Pellavatehtaankatu. After the lines and pipes have been moved, the construction of the tramway will be carried out in the middle part of the same section of the street. The work is estimated to be completed in August. In addition to the tramway construction work, the Tramway Alliance will renew the pavements on Hämeenkatu to match the street designs, starting in late summer on the north side of the street. One lane in each direction will be open for use by buses and taxis to get past the construction site during the work, however, the location of the lanes may be altered according to the different work phases. Both edges of the street will be in pedestrian use during the work, but the pavements may need to be made narrower next to constructions sites and pedestrians may also be directed to alternative routes. Access to the properties will be ensured. Cycling will not be allowed on Hämeenkatu during the work. There may be changes to the locations of crosswalks and bus stops.
On Itsenäisyydenkatu, a major wastewater pipeline has been renewed at the north entrance of the railway underpass tunnel in early 2018. Moving of pipes and lines will continue in the tunnel until spring because, in practice, all the major water and sewage pipes for the eastern side of the city centre and a great number of various cables, which need to be moved to make way for the track, run in the tunnel.
The work at the north entrance of the tunnel is estimated to be completed in April, after which work on the asphalt paving for the tunnel can begin. When the paving work begins, the construction site will move to the centre of the tunnel, where the transfer of lines and pipes will continue in addition to the construction of a retaining wall. This means that cars will be directed to use one lane on each side of the tunnel: driving east in the southern side of the tunnel and driving west in the northern side.
Work at the intersection of Rautatienkatu and Itsenäisyydenkatu will continue throughout the year. Rautatienkatu will be renewed between Hämeenkatu and Kyttälänkatu to match the new street design relating to the completion of the tramway. Existing lines and pipes will be moved and new pipelines installed in the area. In addition, the paved middle sections of the street will be altered and the surface structures of pavements renewed. As the work at the intersection of Rautatienkatu and Itsenäisyydenkatu progresses, most likely in June, vehicle traffic on Itsenäisyydenkatu will be directed to the northern side of the tunnel. At the same time, work in the tunnel will move to the southern side of the tunnel.
The construction of Tulli power supply station, which will be located under the street area, is scheduled to start in the autumn. In the Posteljooninpuisto park, landscaping will be implemented in the spring.
At the crossroads of Tammelan puistokatu and Itsenäisyydenkatu, moving the lines has been completed and traffic arrangements have been returned to normal for the moment. The construction of the tramway continues on Itsenäisyydenkatu between Yliopistonkatu and Pinninkatu. A tramline stop is constructed in this area, and the future pedestrian route is altered according to the street design. The level of the existing street will be raised for the tramline stop area. The supporting wall of the Attila building will be made narrower in order to accommodate the tramline stop. Pedestrians and cyclists will be diverted to alternative routes as needed during each work phase. In these areas, vehicles will be directed to use the north edge of the street, driving on one lane into each direction. When the tramway construction is complete, the lane for turning to Tammela when driving from the city centre along Itsenäisyydenkatu will be removed. Work will continue in the area until the summer.
At the east end of Itsenäisyydenkatu, depending on the weather conditions, work will move to the construction of substructures for the tramline in March–April. This year, construction of the surface structures for the tramway will continue, starting from Salhojankatu into the direction Tammelan puistokatu, and earthworks will continue on the southern lane of the street. Itsenäisyydenkatu will be a two-way street during the construction of the tramway. Buses will run as usual during the work, and at least one side of the road is always reserved for pedestrians and cyclists. Access to the properties will be ensured. All of the work will take place between the kerbstones, with the exception of stops.
Segment 2, Kaleva:
The construction of the tramway will continue in the Sammonaukio square area this year because it is a node from which the lines and pipelines on Itsenäisyydenkatu, Sammonkatu and Teiskontie start. The goal is to finalise the lanes towards Kalevan puistotie during 2018. Also in the Sammonaukio square area, buses will run as usual and one side of the road is reserved for pedestrians and cyclists during the work.
During the winter, lines and cables have been transferred under the street on Sammonkatu. In the Kaalamonaukio square area, a pile-supported slab will be constructed for the future tramway, after which the construction of the track can begin. Construction of the layers required by the tramway and the surface structures will be carried out this year for the middle part of Sammonkatu. At the same time, the old lighting will be replaced with new lighting that will be installed in the poles for the tramway’s overhead lines. The summer will also see the implementation of the test structures for the grassed track on Sammonkatu. The goal for this year is to fully complete the construction of the slab track for the whole length of Sammonkatu. The tramway’s overhead lines will be installed later. Road construction work on the frontage lane on the southern side of Sammonkatu will also continue in March–April according to the street design. Sammonkatu will be a two-way street during the construction of the tramway, and buses will primarily be directed to the frontage lanes. Buses will run as usual during the work, and both sides of the street will remain in use by pedestrians and cyclists.
This year, work on Rieväkatu will continue with the construction of supporting walls and earthworks. The City of Tampere has procured the road construction of Rieväkatu separately, and the work was completed before the start of the tramway construction work. With certain lane arrangements, traffic can flow in both directions along the new Rieväkatu during the construction of the tramway. The pedestrian and cyclist route in the north edge of the street will remain in use during the construction work.
On Teiskontie, the construction of the tramway continues in the spring with the moving of kerbstones and laying the foundations for the electric track poles. In addition, changes will be made to the intersection of Ilmarinkatu and Teiskontie. At the same time, the old lighting will be replaced with new lighting that will be installed in the poles for the tramway’s overhead lines. Foundation work for the poles will be carried out in the middle part of the road, which will affect the driving lane arrangements on Teiskontie. The work required by the tramway will be mostly implemented this year in the middle part of the road, except for the moving of lines in the frontage roads. Sewage pipes were already moved on Teiskontie last year. After the work is complete, traffic can flow along Teiskontie in both directions and buses will run as usual. Both sides of the road remain in pedestrian and cycling use during the work and access to the properties will be ensured.
Tekunkatu: The work carried out on Tekunkatu this year includes constructing the layers required by the tramway, the slab track and the surface structure.
Work on the new intersection of Ensitie and the tramway, to be constructed for the Tampere University Hospital this year by the Tramway Alliance, will start before the construction of Ensitie, which is a new road. Ensitie and Kuntokatu are separate contracts of the City of Tampere that will be implemented in 2018. During the construction of the tramway, Kuntokatu will be crossed in phases, which will cause various driving lane arrangements.
Segment 3, Hervannan valtaväylä:
Work in the Hallila area and the area between Pehkusuonkatu and Hervanta includes excavation and digging as well as the construction of the future substructure for the tramway and new pedestrian and cycling routes. Changing of land masses and construction of embankments is underway in the Suutalanahde area. The surface structure for the ballasted track will be constructed in the area of Hervannan valtaväylä in 2019.
This year, new tramway bridges will be constructed near Hervannan valtaväylä. The first of these bridge projects – the construction of the Vacker underpass bridge across main road 9 in two phases – has already started. February also saw the start of the work on the Koivusenoja tramway bridge across Hervanta canyon, and the construction of the Hallinoja tramway bridge in Korkinmäki will start in the spring. Changes will be made from time to time to the traffic arrangements for main road 9 and Hervannan valtaväylä due to the bridge construction work. Along Hervannan valtaväylä, the tramway will be constructed for the most part on its own line, eliminating the need for traffic arrangements during the work, except for traffic to and from the site and construction work near the road. Traffic arrangements will be implemented at the intersections of Vuohensillankatu, Nekalantie and Pehkusuonkatu according to each work phase. The underpass bridges at Lammelankallio and Hallila will also be constructed during the summer and autumn.
Segment 4, Hervanta:
Moving of lines will continue between Orivedenkatu and Opiskelijankatu as well as near Hervantakeskus and Duo shopping centre. Last year saw the completion of slab track between Kanjoninkatu and Orivedenkatu and between Teekkarinkatu and Atomipolku. This year, the construction of the tramway continues between Lindforsinkatu and Teekkarinkatu and between Kanjoninkatu and Opiskelijankatu. For this reason, Insinöörinkatu will be closed to vehicle traffic between Lindforsinkatu and Teekkarinkatu and between Orivedenkatu and Opiskelijankatu. In addition, Insinöörinkatu will be changed into a one-way street between Orivedenkatu and Kanjoninkatu, with the direction of driving being towards Kanjoninkatu along the western lane. Buses will be using alternative routes and Hervannan valtaväylä, and taxi ranks will be moved from their current place in front of Duo shopping centre to Lindforsinkatu. At least one side of the street is always reserved for pedestrians and cyclists during the work. Changes will be made to several access points to lots and access routes this year between Lindforsinkatu and Teekkarinkatu during the construction of the tramway. Information on the effects of the changes will be provided to housing companies and operators in the area.
Hermiankatu and Atomipolku:
Two challenging sites were constructed in 2017: The intersection of Hermiankatu and Hervannan valtaväylä and the tramway intersection of Insinöörinkatu and Atomipolku. Moving of lines and the construction of slab track in these areas are now complete. However, construction will continue between Visiokatu and Hervannantie in early 2018. Earthworks at Hermiakatu will be completed in the autumn. This year, surface structures will be constructed on Atomipolku and the same work will also be started on Hermiankatu. Hermiankatu will have a single-line track; however, pipes will be moved in the area of the depot’s intersection at the end of Hervannantie so as to have the option for a two-track line, if necessary. The track to be constructed at the depot end of Hermiankatu will be a so-called triangular track and it will be fully located on the depot’s lot. As the name suggests, the track is the shape of a triangle, with rail switches at each tip of the triangle. The triangular shape of the track will facilitate the turning and changes of direction of tram cars in the depot area. Having more than one rail switch will also help ensure unobstructed traffic from the depot to the tram line. Some lane arrangement will be made on Hermiankatu during the work, but buses will run as usual. One side of the street is always reserved for pedestrians and cyclists during the construction work.
Tohtorinpuisto and Makkarajärvenkatu:
In the Tohtorinpuisto park area, the plans for 2018 include changing the land masses. Traffic arrangements for pedestrians and cyclists will be implemented in the area before starting the tramway construction work. In the Hervantajärvi area, traffic via the Salmenkallio local road will be ensured with an alternative route, if necessary.
Segment 5: The depot
Excavation work at the upcoming tramway depot in Hervanta will be completed in summer 2018. After that, earthworks in the depot area will continue with the construction of pipelines and filling work. The construction of the depot building on the depot’s lot will start in autumn 2018. The construction of the depot’s power supply station is also scheduled to begin this autumn.