Monday, May 14, 2012

Central Corridor LRT Construction Half Done

Central Corridor LRT construction reaches halfway mark on schedule

ST. PAUL - May 14, 2012 - Construction of the Central Corridor LRT Project 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,'' Met Council Chair Sue Haigh said.

Praise also goes to the Midway Chamber of Commerce for encouraging patronage of corridor businesses, to banks and other businesses that use their signs to promote University Avenue businesses, and to the city of St. Paul and U7 for administering the forgivable loan fund, Haigh said. Through 2011, 98 business assistance grants had been approved, totaling $1.34 million.

"And then there are the patient businesses that work with the project office to maintain access and share information with their tenants and the citizens who serve on the construction communication committees," she said

As a result of this cooperation, 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, said Mark Fuhrmann, program director for New Starts rail projects.

"Overall, the project remains on schedule to open in 2014 and within budget," Fuhrmann said.

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. Traffic is expected to resume this summer on the outside lanes of each side of the bridge in their final single-lane each way configuration. 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 LRT 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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