New ‘impediment’ pauses Southwest LRT construction, length of delay unclear

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Another problem, and likely another delay, has emerged with the Southwest Light Rail project.

Metro Transit tells 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS it paused construction last week on a tunnel that’s already had multiple issues in Minneapolis.

Crews found what’s described as a concrete “impediment” near the Cedar Isles condo buildings, according to Metro Transit. 

A spokesperson for Metro Transit says they aren’t sure what the impediment is, but it appears to be concrete. 

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“Once we know more specifically what we are dealing with, we will have more accurate information as it relates to potential delays and costs,” a spokesperson for Metro Transit wrote in an email.

Those are the same condos where damage forced construction to stop last year.

The planned extension of the Green Line is already years behind schedule, and its price tag has grown to more than $2.7 billion.

Former Metropolitan Council member and “At Issue” political analyst Annette Meeks says there were serious questions about the feasibility of the Southwest Light Rail project 12 years ago, and this impediment is just the latest setback.

“This impediment … this will not be the end of it,” Meeks said. “This will be just one more stumbling block to increase the cost. It’s already the largest public project in the State of Minnesota, and there is no plan. That’s the bigger problem, how to pay for this and how to fix it.”

Former DFL state Sen. Jeff Hayden says the Southwest Light Rail was a good idea, but “the route was somewhat suspect.”

“The idea of getting people who need jobs out to the manufacturing in the Eden Prairie area and getting those folks downtown to the financial district — that was a really solid plan,” he said. “However, it looks like the route and all the things that are under the ground isn’t working so well.”

Metro Transit sent along this statement to 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS:

“Secant wall construction, necessary for the construction of the Kenilworth LRT Tunnel was paused late last week so project staff can investigate an impediment near the Cedar Isles Condominium complex. The Project has remained in contact with CICA representatives, city, and county officials. Secant wall construction is currently 94 percent complete and work on the LRT tunnel continues in other segments of the Kenilworth corridor and will not be impacted by this pause.”

Metro Transit