Southwest Corridor Rail nears critical vote

6:04 PM, Oct 8, 2013   |    comments
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MINNEAPOLIS - On Tuesday, there will be a key vote surrounding the route of the Southwest Corridor Light Rail.

The area that will be impacted is near the Kenilworth trail. It is the focus of controversial tunnels.

The original light rail route called for the SWLRT to pass through Kenilworth at grade and alongside existing freight rail.

A proposal to relocate the freight rail away from Kenilworth ran into fierce opposition from St. Louis Park residents, who would have had more freight traffic in their city.

A proposal to dig two deep tunnels through Kenilworth was rejected as too costly. The compromise was two shallow tunnels beneath the running trail.

On Wednesday, the Corridor Management Committee will take a delayed vote on the route of the entire Southwest Corridor project. The vote will shrink the length of the line by eliminating the western terminus "Mitchell" Station in Eden Prairie, locating train maintenance facilities in Hopkins and approving the addition of the shallow tunnels.

The planned 21st Street station in Minneapolis would be eliminated since the line will be in one of the tunnels at that point. Designers felt that the cost of a subway station would be prohibitive.

The CMC is expected to approve the route plan which would peg the cost of the project at $1.55 billion.

If the CMC approves the route plan Wednesday, the Southwest Corridor Light Rail route will go to the Metropolitan Council for final approval the following week.

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