$3.3 billion light rail train expansions proposed to extend to suburbs

Photo by Benjamin Pecka

Metro Transit planning Light Rail Expansion for western suburbs.

Change is in the wind for those who live in the western suburbs. Soon they may have more frequent access to all the public transit convenience that the inner city has to offer. This includes sporting events, Mall of America and all of the businesses along First Avenue in downtown Minneapolis.

According to the Metropolitan Transit Council website, the plan is for a total of 26 new light rail stations.

The METRO Blue Line Extension (Bottineau Transitway) would add 11 stations and extend the tracks by 13 miles through the cities of Minneapolis, Golden Valley, Robbinsdale, Crystal and Brooklyn Park.

According to the Metro Transit website, the Blue line is only 60 percent of the way through the planning process. This means they have figured out the locations for lights, plants, and AC/DC power transformers, but not exact details of ‘what’ will be in those locations.

For the Blue Line extension, necessary utilities will be relocated in 2017. The main bulk of the construction will begin early in 2018. Many outdoor summer jobs will likely open up to accommodate the workload.

The proposed METRO Green Line Extension (Southwest Transitway) would add 14 1/2 miles, and would extend the METRO Green Line by 15 stations from downtown Minneapolis through the cities of St. Louis Park, Hopkins, Minnetonka and ending at the Southwest Station in Eden Prairie.

The METRO Blue Line and proposed METRO Green Line Extensions together are estimated to cost over $3.3 billion. Roughly half of which will come from the Federal Transit Administration New Starts program. The remainder will be paid by state and local sources.

According to the Metro Transit website, surveys will take place along the proposed routes. They will look for things such as above and below ground utility relocation, and stability of the ground upon which they seek to build. They will also look into how the project will affect our limited wetlands and the environment in general. There are also plans to minimize the noise and vibrations produced by passing LRT.

Metro Transit has many other projects in the works right now, including

  • Having traffic lights sense and change color when a bus is near.
  • Upgrading and building dozens of bus shelters that include heat in low-income areas.
  • Surveying Nicollet and Central Avenue for enhanced bus lines or even light rail.
  • And much more…

For further details of Metro Transit projects, go to: https://www.metrotransit.org/transit-improvements.

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