Making room for the new Cedar Avenue Busway buses, the Minnesota Valley Transit Authority will spend $6.6 million to expand the Eagan Bus Garage at 3600 Blackhawk Road.
Seven new buses have been purchased for first-phase service on the $112 million busway set to open in May or June.
The garage addition will be finished in the spring of 2014.
The bigger garage will have space for 40 more buses — it has space for 60 now — and for three more maintenance bays in addition to the existing eight.
Employee parking will be expanded from 79 spaces to 137.
Minnesota Valley buses serve Eagan, Burnsville, Savage, Apple Valley and Rosemount.
Initially busway buses will travel between Apple Valley and Bloomington. In a later phase, the southernmost stop will be Lakeville.
MVTA Board Chairman Gary Hansen said one key to the success of the busway will be giving the buses quick access to a stop in Eagan at Cedar Grove, where a new outlet mall is planned.
Finding a way to get southbound buses from the west side of the freeway to the stop on the east side of the freeway is particularly challenging, Hansen said.
How to improve the Cedar Grove access is part of a larger study by the Minnesota Department of Transportation about whether to add a MnPass lane on Cedar Avenue.
Construction of stations at 140th and 147th streets is underway now.
The transit authority spent about $36,000 to prepare the garage site for the addition. The expansion will occur at the southwest corner of the building.
When service begins, riders will be able to catch a bus every 15 minutes to go to jobs, stores and restaurants along Cedar Avenue or ride on to the Mall of America. There they could connect with the Hiawatha light-rail line to the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport or downtown Minneapolis, or buses for other destinations.