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End of Milwaukee streetcar construction celebrated with last weld

MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- Milwaukee’s streetcar 'The Hop' celebrated another major milestone Monday. The end of streetcar construction was commemorated with one last weld.

Two pieces of track were bonded to ceremoniously showcase the work that has been done over the last year.

All the track was laid, and construction wrapped a couple of weeks before the ceremony. However, there are slight tweaks to be made along the route.

"There's still some minor work that remains that has to do with signalization that controls the operation of the streetcar," said Ghassan Korban, DPW Commissioner

Overall, orange barrels and construction cones have been removed.

People at the ceremony were also able to sign a portion of track that will be showcased along the streetcar route. A daycare along the tracks, Mayor Tom Barrett, Alderman Robert Bauman, and construction company that laid the tracks, Kiewit, are among the people to pen their signature.

Rochelle Harris lives in Milwaukee and came to the ceremony with her husband.

"It's my first time seeing it... I love it, it's something different for the city," said Harris.

She got to see The Hop on the tracks, and Harris isn't the only one. The streetcar has already started testing, without passengers, late at night. Alderman Robert Bauman says bartenders and other night owl's have already spotted the car on it's route.

"A couple of bars on Milwaukee Street, they got some good footage of it coming down Milwaukee Street in the dark, in the rain -- kind of a neat picture actually ... we are getting more and more comments on 'it's running, it's good, it looks neat, I didn't know it would be this cool,' those kind of comments," said Bauman.

Overnight testing started in June. Each car has to log hundreds of miles before passengers are allowed. At the end of the month, DPW says the streetcar will be out during the day. m

"We're trying to be thoughtful about the testing and not to interfere with traffic as much. Eventually, we are going to put it on the road during the day to test it in real life situations," said Korban.

To learn how to drive, bike and walk with The Hop, visit: http://thehopmke.com/hopsmart/

The city says the streetcar will open its doors to riders in November.

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