Light rail choice coming this year
The future of rail in the metro inevitably revolves around light rail transit. Long before even the Hiawatha Line was finished in 2004, transit planners had been envisioning a network of LRT routes crisscrossing the region, cutting congestion and spurring redevelopment. For southwest commuters, the idea of light rail transit has moved beyond the dream phase, into the nitty-gritty.
This year, planners will be picking a route for the Southwest Transitway, an LRT route that would run from Eden Prairie into downtown Minneapolis. Should all go as planned, construction on the route could begin as early as 2015.
The reality of planning a light rail network involves long-long-long-term planning. The Southwest Transitway has been a work in progress for the last eight years, starting with a study evaluating any number of routes. In the past two years, the number of possible route alternatives was whittled down to three and now, planners expect to make a decision on a preferred alternative by late summer or early fall.
The Southwest Transitway project involves a number of partners within Hennepin County including all the cities on the route (Eden Prairie, St. Louis Park, Hopkins and Minneapolis). Ultimately the Metropolitan Council will make the final approval on the route design.
There are 4 possible alignment.