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Continued: Minneapolis strikes deal with Met Council on Southwest LRT

  • Article by: PAT DOYLE , Star Tribune
  • Last update: July 8, 2014 - 10:49 AM

“I’d be disappointed with that, for sure,” said Lee Lynch, who lives on Cedar Lake.

But eliminating one tunnel could pare tens of millions of dollars from the project’s price tag, and the proposed deal might allow half of the savings to be used by Minneapolis for improvements or rehabilitation along the route. The tunnel planned for south of the channel would still be built. The two tunnels had been expected to add $160 million to the project costs.

Running the light rail at ground level north of the channel also would allow for a Kenilworth corridor station at 21st Street, which had been scratched as too expensive with a tunnel. Transit advocates have urged city officials to build the station to connect with buses on Franklin Avenue.

Path forward

Minneapolis faces a July 14 deadline under state law to hold a public hearing and vote to approve or reject plans for the project. The Minneapolis hearing at 7 p.m. Tuesday at Anwatin Middle School auditorium probably won’t count as the necessary public hearing because any new deal worked out between negotiators for the city and Met Council must first be endorsed by metro leaders and Met Council members who earlier signed off on the two-tunnel plan.

While no timetable has been announced, the metro leaders scheduled a special meeting Wednesday morning to discuss Southwest Corridor, and the Met Council will hold its regular meeting Wednesday. If they approve a new Southwest plan for the Kenilworth corridor, the Minneapolis City Council could later hold a hearing and vote on it. But the deadline might be moved back weeks.

Minnetonka and Hopkins have approved the Southwest plans. Eden Prairie has scheduled a vote for Monday.

 

Pat Doyle • 612-673-4504

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  • Railroad tracks run parallel to the Kenilworth Trail on the planned route for the Southwest light-rail line.

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