Controversial Plan for Southwest Light Rail Route Moves Forward

Updated: 04/02/2014 6:42 PM
Created: 04/02/2014 12:24 PM
By: Katherine Johnson

A controversial plan for the Southwest Light Rail route passed a key committee vote Wednesday. The Metropolitan Council will vote on the plan next week.

The plan calls for two shallow tunnels to be built between Cedar Lake and Lake of the Isles in Minneapolis. The tunnels would allow the train to run underneath current freight tracks, bike and pedestrian paths in the Kenilworth Corridor with a bridge built over the channel.

The plan up for discussion includes 16 stations and runs 15.8 miles west of Minneapolis, all the way out to the "Mitchell Road Station" in Eden Prairie. That extension to the line would boost the cost of the project a little higher, now slated to end up somewhere between $1.67 billion and $1.68 billion.  

Hundreds of residents came to listen to the Southwest Corridor Management Committee's discussion Wednesday.

"I am very concerned about how this process is being played out," Minneapolis resident Robert Carney said. "We started out being told that the routes through Uptown were not financially feasible because they needed tunnels. Low and behold, now we're digging tunnels under a bike path."

"Nobody wants this crap in their neighborhood," said Gail Park, who lives in St. Louis Park. "But someone's going to get it, and it shouldn't be a surprise this is going to be an inconvenience."

This plan would take one more year to build, therefore pushing the opening of the line back to 2019. 

The county, as well as all five cities impacted, will have to agree on the plan by June 29 in order to stay on track.

See a timeline for the project here.

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