M-1 Rail construction continues ahead of schedule

By Guy Gordon - Reporter/Anchor

DETROIT - If you travel Woodward Avenue in and around downtown, then you know the M-1 Rail construction has created some inconvenience and detours.

Fortunately, those commuter hassles will likely be over, as planned, by the end of October.

Meanwhile, some century-old artifacts unearthed Wednesday are reminding Detroiters what once was, and (hopefully) will be again.

As excavators scraped away several inches of aged asphalt, they uncovered the remains of its fondly-remembered predecessor.

"I knew just what it was when I saw it," said Jesse Copeland, as he watched the construction downtown. "I've seen the pictures and what it used to be."

Rails dating to the early 20th century were unearthed and removed. They haven't carried street cars since 1956, or seen the light of day for a half-century, but they still spark memories.

Unlike the People Mover, the last big transit project in the city which was plagued with cost over-runs and delays, M-1 is currently ahead of schedule.

"We're probably twice as fast as any other transit entity that's done a streetcar project or anything like this," said Paul Childs, M-1 Rail's chief operating officer.

The last shipment of new rail for this year will arrive late Wednesday or Thursday. The 80-foot lengths will be welded into 5 to 600 foot strands two weeks from now.

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