As announced on Thursday, over the course of the 2020 construction season, the project staff and our contractor, Lunda-McCrossan Joint Venture encountered unforeseen obstacles in the Minneapolis portion of the alignment which will take longer to overcome. These obstacles include the construction of the corridor protection wall along the BNSF fright rail line and a secant wall to complete LRT tunnel construction in a portion of the Kenilworth corridor due to poor soil conditions. These are no small changes and require thoughtful and deliberate engineering, design plans and construction methods. While these types of setbacks are not uncommon on projects of this scale, we are disappointed by this development. We strongly believe the long-term benefits of this project to the region and state outweigh the short-term challenges we face. While this means we most likely won’t be meeting our opening day projection of 2023, we know that 2021 will be a robust construction year.
Weekly Construction Photo: SouthWest Station in Eden Prairie
Looking east towards SouthWest Station construction crews install piles that will support the bus loop/roadway. Due to poor soils conditions, project elements including track, stations, roadway and utilities are supported by piles.
Eden Prairie Highlights
The SouthWest station area remains a busy construction site with ongoing piling and concrete work.
Finishing details, such as railings, are being added to the Prairie Center Drive LRT bridge. With the structure complete, LRT tracks will be pulled onto the bridge next spring.
Construction continues at the Eden Prairie Town Center Station; the structural steel of the station has emerged over the last weeks.
Construction is underway in the City West Station/LRT tunnel under Highway 62 area. Crews are working on retaining walls.
Pile driving for retaining walls near Wooddale Avenue should be expected over the next few weeks.
Crews are working on various elements of the Beltline Boulevard Regional Trail bridge structure including piers, and the stair tower. Construction crews will place the steel truss over the railroad tracks towards the end of January.
Expect piling for retaining walls in the Beltline Boulevard area until the end of January.
Kenilworth tunnel sheeting: the press-in-piler near Lake Street has finished sheeting installation and has been moved out of the corridor. The press-in-piler working to the east, near the Cedar Lake Channel, is expected to complete the piles in this area in February, completing press-in-pile work in the Kenilworth corridor.
Kenilworth tunnel base concrete work: the initial concrete pour to create a waterproof base slab is anticipated in February. To pour the first concrete seal, crews will need extended work hours until 9:00 PM as the work has to be completed in a single day.
Construction activities to advance the LRT bridge at Glenwood Avenue will continue throughout the winter, and will include pile driving.
Many areas of expertise are needed to construct Southwest LRT. We will highlight the many people and the work they do to help make this project possible. Hear from Jon Trevillion our Rail Safety Officer as he describes his work and efforts undertaken to create a culture of safety.
Trail Detours: Minnesota River Bluffs, South Cedar Lake Parkway, Kenilworth, Cedar Lake Trail
2020 has been a significant construction year for Southwest LRT. At one point this year, every mile of the project was under construction in all five cities. We have pounded, and piled, and poured and hauled near many of your homes and businesses. We thank you for your patience and understanding as we construct the largest public infrastructure project in the state’s history. We are grateful for the community collaboration as we moved through these necessary activities. A lot has been accomplished: half of the 16 stations are under construction, 23 of the 29 bridges are under construction, private utility work is nearly complete and some of our new light rail vehicles have arrived in Minnesota and are undergoing testing. 2021 will be another major construction year for the project. We want to send our appreciation to the communities helping to make this major regional transportation investment possible. As we close out 2020, here is a photo tour of a few of the accomplishments this year.
Eden Prairie Highlights
SouthWest Station: the station and parking structures are beginning to emerge. Construction at this site is ongoing.
Prairie Center Drive LRT bridge: finishing details and track work is all that remains to complete this bridge.
LRT bridge over Highway 494: the bridge is now almost complete with track to be placed in the spring.
Valley View Road LRT bridge: bridge deck work is ongoing with most of the structure complete.
Nine Mile Creek LRT bridge: the piers and deck have taken shape.
Golden Triangle Station: work is on going.
LRT bridge at Highway 212 and Shady Oak Road: pier work is ongoing, followed by span placement and deck work.
Highway 62 LRT tunnel: with the structural elements of the north half completed, Highway 62 has been shifted so that work can being on the south half.
Opus Station: the station structure has taken shape, with roofing and other station details yet to come.
Retaining wall construction continues in the Opus area.
Smetana roadway bridge work continues into 2021.
Shady Oak Station: structure and roof elements are advancing.
Downtown Hopkins Station: roofing and window details have been advanced.
Excelsior Boulevard: LRT bridge balanced cantilevers have begun to extend over the roadway and will be advanced in 2021.
Blake Road regional trail underpass: the western half of the tunnel is complete, with work on the eastern half in the spring.
St. Louis Park Highlights
Minnehaha Creek: the regional trail and freight rail bridges are almost complete.
Louisiana Avenue: freight and regional bridges structures are nearly complete, with minor details remaining.
Wooddale Avenue regional trail underpass: the structure was completed this past summer.