The Metropolitan Council in Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minn., announced July 13, 2017, it will begin accepting bids Aug. 15 for the largest public works project in Minnesota history, the planned Southwest Light Rail Transit (Southwest LRT) Project, from downtown Minneapolis to the western suburb of Eden Prairie. The council plans to award civil contracts this fall to the lowest “responsive and responsible bidder,” and construction of the line will likely begin before the end of the year.
Civil construction involves the building of tracks, roads, bridges, trails, tunnels and park-and-ride facilities. Crews will build or install:
- 29 miles of track
- 15 stations
- Eight park-and-ride facilities: seven surface parking lots with more than 1,700 spaces and one 450-stall parking structure at SouthWest Station in Eden Prairie
- 110 retaining walls
- Roadways and trails
- Urban design and landscaping
- 29 new bridges for LRT trains, pedestrians, roadways and freight rail
- Modifications to seven existing bridges
- Six pedestrian tunnels
- Two “cut-and-cover” LRT tunnels
Other contracts are in the offing
The Metropolitan Council expects to award a contract in July for specialty freight track related to the project. Later this year, the Metropolitan Council also will advertise for bids for construction of an LRT operations and maintenance facility in Hopkins, Minn., and for development of the electrical power, signaling and communications systems.
The specialty freight track contract needs to be awarded in July to allow lead time for production and delivery of track material in March 2018 so freight track relocation work in Hopkins and St. Louis Park can begin on schedule. Completing the freight track relocation is critical so crews can start constructing the Excelsior LRT Bridge in Hopkins. Building the bridge is one of the project’s time-critical elements due to the complexity of the bridge design.
More information about the project can be found online at www.swlrt.org.