Monday, May 14, 2012

Twin Cities' Central Corridor LRT construction reaches halfway mark

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Construction of the Central Corridor Light Rail Transit project in Minnesota is 50 percent complete and on track to be 75 percent done by year's end.

"The contractors really hit the ground running in March. We now have work occurring in all areas of the nearly 10-mile long project, employing more than 3,000 workers to date,'' Metropolitan Council Chair Sue Haigh said.

The project is on schedule to substantially complete utility relocations, roadway removal and replacement, track installation and the structural elements of all 18 stations by the end of this year. Overall, the project remains on schedule to open in 2014 and within budget.

Installation of the electrical, signaling and communications systems, as well as testing the operation of trains, will occur in 2013 and 2014 before revenue service begins in 2014. When exactly service will begin depends on how the testing goes.

Since heavy construction in late summer 2010, crews have:

• Relocated about eight miles of public utilities so they won't be under the tracks and any work on them in the future won't disrupt rail service.
• Removed and replaced five miles of roadway, sidewalks, curbs and gutters from building front to building front.
• Installed 3.5 miles of the 10 miles of double track.
• Begun work at 15 of the 18 station locations.
• Completed nearly two-thirds of the work on the Washington Avenue Bridge. Double tracks will be installed in the inside lane of the bridge.
• Completed 35 percent of the work on the operation and maintenance facility in Lowertown St. Paul.
• Completed construction of the Interstate 35W flyover in Minneapolis where Central Corridor tracks will join Hiawatha light-rail tracks. (Passengers will be able to continue their trip into downtown Minneapolis on the same train from the Metrodome to Target Field Station.)
• Demolished the former Bremer Bank and completed the skyway connection over Fifth Street in St. Paul.
• Completed two of the foundations for the 14 traction power substations that will convert electricity into a form that can be used to power the trains.
• Assembled the shell of the first new light rail vehicle, which is expected to arrive this fall in Minnesota.

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