Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Twin Cities light rail project to begin traffic improvements around U of M

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The Metropolitan Council voted to authorize the regional administrator to award and execute a contract with the lowest responsive and responsible bidder, Graham Construction Services, out of seven bidders for advanced traffic improvements in Minneapolis at a cost of $3.6 million. 

Award of this contract, though, is contingent upon the University of Minnesota granting a temporary construction easement to enable the contractor to construct some of the advanced traffic improvements on university property. If the required easement has not been provided, the regional administrator is directed not to award and execute the contract without direction from the Met Council. The contract award is also contingent upon receipt of approval from the Federal Transit Administration for the work to begin. The FTA granted approval prior to Council action in late March.

The Met Council also expects the FTA to approve shortly the project's entry into final design. Upon this approval, the Met Council will formally apply for the Full Funding Grant Agreement, the federal government's promise to reimburse project partners for half the $957 million cost of building the line.

The advanced traffic improvements contract in Minneapolis on and surrounding the university's East Bank campus can begin before an FFGA because sufficient funding from local sources is available. The FTA's approval to start this work before execution of an FFGA ensures the eligibility of these expenditures for future federal funding participation. The contract includes:

• Intalling traffic control signals and interconnections.

• Removing, milling and overlaying the roadway.

• Replacing sidewalks, curbs, gutters, retaining walls and landscaping.

• Installing signs, pavement marking, traffic control equipment and related utilities.

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