The final year of heavy construction on the Central Corridor Light Rail Transit Project is kicking off.
The Central Corridor LRT Project will link downtown St. Paul and downtown Minneapolis along Washington and University avenues via the state Capitol and the University of Minnesota. Construction began in late 2010 on the planned 11-mile Central Corridor line and service will begin in 2014. The line will connect with the Hiawatha LRT line at the Metrodome station in Minneapolis and the Northstar commuter rail line at Target Field Station.
The project ended 2011 on schedule at 45 percent complete. By the end of this year, work is to be 75 percent complete. This year’s to-do list includes:
• Removing and rebuilding roadways one side at a time, sidewalks, curbs and gutters in all of the areas newly under construction this year.
• Finishing the relocation of public and private utilities, such as water, storm and sanitary sewers and electrical and phone lines.
• Finishing the installation and embedding in concrete of the double track over the 10 miles of new rail from St. Paul to Minneapolis.
• Finishing the strengthening of the Washington Avenue Bridge and installing rails in the middle of the vehicle deck.
• Completing all 18 stations’ structural elements.
• Building out the operation and maintenance facility structure in Lowertown.
“Central Corridor will hit its construction peak this year, employing 1,800 workers,” said Mark Fuhrmann, program director for New Starts rail projects.
In 2013, crews will install wires for the overhead contact system that will power the trains and finishing the installation of the traction power substations and signal bungalows. After that work is done, trains carrying only crews will run test trips for months before revenue service begins in 2014.