Many people, especially property owners, are concerned about the physical construction of a streetcar. Lane closures for rail construction will be necessarily, but once completed, new low-profile track designs enable roadways to accommodate streetcars, cars, trucks, buses, and other motorized vehicles. In addition, streetcar construction can occur at a very rapid pace; for example, in Portland it took only one week to complete one block (200 ft) of new track and typically required one lane of temporary road closures.
One difference between streetcar and light-rail construction is that a streetcar is a much smaller and therefore weighs a fraction of a light-rail car. Because of this, only a trench 8 feet wide and one foot deep needs to be removed from the roadway. The construction crew then reinforces the area with rebar, fills it with concrete, and positions the rails.
Michael Powell, a property and business owner of Powell Books in Portland has repeatedly conveyed the benefits of the expedited construction times in Portland. He explains that the streetcar construction was so quick and economically beneficial that “you can go to the beach for a week, come back and you will have a completely new transportation system in front of your building…and your property is going to be worth 50% more than the day you went to the beach.”