ST. LOUIS PARK, Minn. – July 17, 2013 – Construction of the Southwest LRT
Line (Green Line Extension) necessitates that freight rail traffic currently
running along the preferred LRT route in Minneapolis is either kept with
adjustments or relocated to St. Louis Park.
for the Southwest LRT Project proposed eight options in May for either relocating
freight traffic to St. Louis Park or keeping it in Minneapolis. Today, estimated costs for the eight options,
which range from a low of $120 million to a high of $420 million, were
announced. Of this, $85 million to $90
million is for changes common to all options.
Southwest Light Rail is about expanding our mobility and access to jobs,
schools, entertainment, and many other popular destinations in our region,”
said Council Chair Susan Haigh. “This project is important to the quality of
life and economic competitiveness of our region. We are committed to building a
safe and efficient transit line that improves mobility, supports economic
development along the corridor, and meets the needs of pedestrians and
bicyclists, all while minimizing impacts to communities, businesses and households.”
support, interest and involvement in this project continues to be outstanding
and we’re grateful to have so many engaged residents who want to help us
improve the overall project,” continued Haigh.
the past two months, Council staff held 11 open houses related to Southwest LRT,
which were attended by more than 800 people. Roughly 800 comments, suggestions
and critiques have been received.
Metropolitan Council will look for alternate funding sources to cover some of
these costs since these amounts are not included in the project’s $1.25 billion
estimated budget. Funding partners include the Federal Government, Minnesota
Department of Transportation, the Counties Transit Improvement Board, and the
Hennepin County Regional Railroad Authority.
May 28, the project office announced six co-location options for keeping
freight rail traffic in the Kenilworth neighborhood of Minneapolis where LRT
tracks would also be built. Two other options relocate freight rail traffic to
St. Louis Park.
then, project engineers have revised these options based on feedback from the
public. Better pedestrian and bicycle connections have been added to the two
each co-location option, the number of homes expected to be taken has either
been reduced significantly or eliminated entirely. Specifically, in all but one of the six
co-location options full acquisition of homes could be eliminated. “In response
to clear feedback from communities, project staff adjusted design options to
minimize or avoid taking of private homes and improve pedestrian and bicycle
access,” said Mark Fuhrmann, who leads LRT project development for the Met
Council, “We want to be responsive to the communities who strongly support this
project, and believe it can be made better.”
cost estimates for all eight options include adjustments to LRT to accommodate
freight rail, capital improvements, right-of-way acquisition, contingency and
other costs, such as design and finance costs. The estimates are based on 2013
addition to the cost estimates below that are specific to each option, all
options require the accommodation of common improvements which are estimated to
add $85 million to $90 million to each option.
co-location, cost estimates and primary cost drivers are:
modes (trail, freight and LRT) at
ground level - $50 million to $55 million. Reduces full residential property
acquisitions from 55 to 26.
relocated - $35 million to $40 million – New
trail route from Midtown Greenway to Cedar Lake Parkway, including trail
overpass structures. Avoids full residential property acquisitions. Avoids full
residential property acquisitions.
elevated - $50 million to $55 million – New elevated trail, including
handicapped accessible connection to Cedar Lake Parkway. Avoids full residential
elevated - $105 million to $110 million – New elevated LRT structure.
Avoids full residential property acquisitions.
deep LRT tunnel -
$320 million to $330 million –Tunnel-boring operations and machinery,
reconstruction of West Lake Street Bridge, subway tunnel station at West Lake
and eliminates 21st Street Station.
Avoids full residential property acquisitions.
shallow LRT tunnel -$150 million to $160 million – Cut-and-cover excavation,
retains West Lake Street Station and eliminates 21st Street Station. Avoids full residential property
relocation, cost estimates and primary cost drivers are:
West alignment (through
St. Louis Park High School football field) - $200 million to $210 million –
Full or partial acquisition of 46 homes, businesses or public properties;
construction of freight rail bridge structures, lowering of frontage road at
Highway 7; and reconfiguration of local roads.
Central alignment (avoids
St. Louis Park High School football field) - $190 million to $200 million –
Full or partial acquisition of 32 homes, businesses and public properties;
construction of overhead freight bridge; lowering of Highway 7 and frontage
road; and, reconfiguration of local roads.
project office will continue taking feedback on freight rail location at two previously
announced public meetings this week from 4:30 to 7 this evening at
Jones-Harrison Residence, 3700 Cedar Lake Ave., in Minneapolis and from 4:30 to
7 p.m. Thursday at St. Louis Park High School, 6425 W. 33rd St., in
St. Louis Park. Staff will present the cost estimates for the eight options for
freight rail location and explain the primary cost drivers for each.
advisory committees will be meeting, as will the Corridor Management Committee,
in the coming weeks. Staff will summarize and share the feedback with the project’s
committees and the Metropolitan Council to help them understand the issues as
they provide their input.
Met Council is scheduled to meet at 3 p.m. Aug. 28 in the Council Chambers, 390
Robert St N, in St. Paul to approve the scope and cost.
About the Southwest LRT Project (Green Line Extension):
The Southwest Light Rail Transit (LRT) Project will operate from downtown Minneapolis through the southwestern suburban cities of St. Louis Park, Hopkins, Minnetonka, and Eden Prairie, passing in close proximity to the City of Edina. The proposed alignment is primarily at-grade and includes 17 new stations and approximately 15.8-miles of double track. The line will connect major activity centers in the region including downtown Minneapolis, the Opus/Golden Triangle employment area in Minnetonka and Eden Prairie, Methodist Hospital in St. Louis Park, the Eden Prairie Center Mall, and the Minneapolis Chain of Lakes. Ridership in 2030 is projected at 29,660 weekday passengers. The project will interline with Central Corridor LRT (Green Line) which will provide a one-seat ride to destinations such as the University of Minnesota, state Capitol and downtown St. Paul. It will be part of an integrated system of transitways, including connections to the METRO Blue Line, the Northstar Commuter Rail line, a variety of major bus routes along the alignment, and proposed future transitway and rail lines. The Metropolitan Council will be the grantee of federal funds. The regional government agency is charged with building the line in partnership with the Minnesota Department of Transportation. The Southwest Corridor Management Committee, which includes commissioners from Hennepin County and the mayors of Minneapolis, St. Louis Park, Edina, Hopkins, Minnetonka, and Eden Prairie provides advice and oversight. Funding is provided by the Federal Transit Administration, Counties Transit Improvement Board (CTIB), state of Minnesota and Hennepin County Regional Railroad Authority (HCRRA). The Southwest LRT Project website is www.swlrt.org