Engineers give go-ahead to resume light rail construction near damaged condos

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Work on a key tunnel for the Southwest light rail project (SWLRT) could soon begin again months after construction stalled due to damage to a nearby condominium building.

Engineers investigating the cause of damage to the Cedar Isles Condos in Minneapolis say it is safe to resume work in the area, 5 INVESTIGATES has confirmed.

Crews halted construction in February after condo owners reported cracks in the building and a water main break flooded the parking garage.

RELATED: Minneapolis condo parking garage flooded, association blames SWLRT construction

The Metropolitan Council hired the private firm Socotec, which presented its preliminary findings to members of the condo board Tuesday morning.

The meeting was not open to the public, but 5 INVESTIGATES confirmed engineers minimized the role construction played in causing the damage.

Engineers said seasonal temperature changes and “thermal conditions” at the condo towers are 70% to 75% to blame despite past concerns from condo owners that there had been no problems at the property until after construction in the area began.

Members of the Cedar Isles Condo Association (CICA) declined to comment on the presentation from engineers.

The Met Council also declined to comment “out of respect for the CICA board and its residents,” according to a statement sent to 5 INVESTIGATES on Tuesday afternoon.

State lawmakers are expected to tour the damage at the buildings on Wednesday.

The delays in the construction of the tunnel are contributing to the ballooning costs of the controversial light rail project.

The Minnesota House and Senate approved a bill calling for an audit of the Southwest light-rail project last month after the expected price tag increased to nearly $3 billion.

RELATED: SWLRT audit bill passes Legislature, awaits Walz’s signature