Southwest LRT construction will continue after pause - 2

A construction machine rests on realigned freight tracks over the new Minnehaha Creek freight bridge in St. Louis Park. (Submitted photo)

Poor soils in the Kenilworth corridor of Minneapolis will delay construction of a tunnel for the Southwest LRT project, according to an announcement Thursday from the Metropolitan Council.

The delay means the light rail line most likely not open as projected in 2023. Construction work will continue on the line segments in St. Louis Park, Hopkins, Minnetonka and Eden Prairie.

During the 2020 construction season, the project staff and the contractor, Lunda-McCrossan Joint Venture, encountered conditions that will require an alternative construction method to complete the tunnel. The construction method, a secant wall, will stabilize the soils while constructing the LRT tunnel.

“We are taking this approach out of an abundance of caution to protect the foundations of adjacent buildings,” the announcement stated.

The crews are constructing a 1-mile corridor protection wall for an additional layer of protection between the BNSF freight trains and LRT trains. The corridor protection wall will be located in the BNSF’s Wayzata Subdivision in Minneapolis from the Bryn Mawr Station to just east of I-94. The wall was added as a requirement from BNSF Railways.

“While this element is not a surprise, we have now completed analysis and design for the wall and have a fuller understanding of the challenges of constructing this project element in an active freight rail corridor,” according to the statement.


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