If things go according to plan, much of the major construction for the Central Corridor light-rail line in St. Paul will be finished by late 2012, according to construction contract details released Wednesday.
It's called the "Civil East Package" and is estimated to cost $232 million. Bids went out on March 4, and the contract will be awarded June 23.
It's the largest construction contract so far for the 11-mile line that will connect downtown St. Paul and downtown Minneapolis, said Chris Weyer, assistant project director.
Contracts for other aspects of the project -- including the western portion of the line, an operations and maintenance facility in Lowertown and a fare collection system -- will come out later this spring and fall.
For the St. Paul chunk, the line is divided into five sections, with work on each generally lasting one full construction season. Those segments will be further divided once a contractor is chosen.
The work includes:
•Laying nearly 7 miles of track.
•Reconstructing streets and sidewalks.
•Building 14 stations.
•Tearing down the old Bremer Bank building so track can be laid diagonally from Cedar Street to Fourth Street.
Also, two bridges -- on University Avenue over Hwy. 280 and on Cedar over Interstates 94 and 35E -- will be modified.
Some utility relocation has already begun downtown.
Planners said no area will be under heavy construction for more than 150 consecutive days. Heavy construction is considered road rebuilding, utility relocation and track and sidewalk installation.
Planners do not intend to rip up the road from sidewalk to sidewalk so some traffic can remain on University during construction.
Nancy Homans, St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman's point person for the project, called the release of the schedule a milestone.
"People have been waiting for this," she said.
While there are still details to work out, businesses and others along the avenue should have a clearer picture of what to plan for, Homans said.
People should get notice of work in their area 30 days before it begins.
The project's total price tag is $957 million, and planners are awaiting the Federal Transit Administration's commitment to pay for half of the line. Planners expect to receive approval to begin final design work this month and expect the federal share of funding in September.
Trains should roll in 2014.
For more information, go to www.centralcorridor.org.
Chris Havens • 612-673-4148