Central Corridor construction in Mpls. begins in Septemberby Laura Yuen, Minnesota Public Radio
St. Paul, Minn. — Planners of the Central Corridor light-rail line Wednesday announced the construction schedule for the Minneapolis portion of the line.
Project spokeswoman Laura Baenen says crews will start working in September.
"That's the work on the final westernmost three miles, which go through the East Bank and West Bank of the University of Minnesota, over the Washington Avenue bridge, and then where the tracks will tie in with the Hiawatha light-rail line," Baenen said. "They'll be joining in between the Metrodome and the Cedar-Riverside stations."
Part of the work includes retrofitting the Washington Avenue bridge to accommodate the trains.
Work on the eastern end, near the state Capitol, will also begin in August. But Baenen says the bulk of heavy construction will take place in 2011 and 2012.
Local planners received word this week from the Federal Transit Administration that the project can enter the final phase of planning, known as "final design." The federal government is expected to pay for half of the roughly $1 billion project.
Baenen says engineers will continue to refine plans for the 11-mile line connecting St. Paul to Minneapolis, but at this point, they don't expect any major changes to the project.
"Final design is just polishing all of the construction plans you have in place. It's where you figure out where every last nut and bolt is going to go," Baenen said. "Everything has to be drawn out. You have to have a blueprint for everything. And we have all of these civil engineering documents ready, and they're just fine-tuning that work."