The opening of the new light-rail line from Minneapolis to St. Paul and discussions about where to route the proposed Green Line extension from Minneapolis to Eden Prairie have dominated the headlines lately.

This week, east metro residents can weigh in on plans to establish a light-rail or Bus Rapid Transit line connecting St. Paul with Oakdale, Lake Elmo, Maplewood and Woodbury.

Two alignments in the Oakdale and Woodbury area for the Gateway Corridor project are under consideration. On Thursday, residents can offer input on the advantages and disadvantages of each during an open house from 5 to 7 p.m. at Globe University, 8147 Glove Drive, Woodbury. The evening will include presentations at 5:30 and 6:30 p.m. with time for discussion.

One route takes the buses or light rail along I-94 with a stop at Radio Drive and then hops up to I-694 west of the Crossroads/Oaks Business Park. The second alignment would route buses or light rail along Inwood Avenue.

The Gateway Corridor stretches along I-94 from downtown St. Paul to the St. Croix River Bridge and serves as a feeder route for several corporate campuses, educational institutions, commercial centers, and recreational destinations.

More than 300,000 people live in the corridor. That number is expected to swell 30 percent (90,000 people) by 2030 according to some estimates. Another 30,000 jobs will likely be added by 2030, too, corridor project officials say.

Currently up to 150,000 vehicles use the highway each day, and  the Minnesota Department of Transportation has no plans for road expansions or improvements to handle the growth in the I-94 corridor. Corridor officials say alternatives are needed.

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