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Minneapolis' Metropolitan Council recently approved plans to advance the Southwest LRT Project. The light-rail corridor would run from Minneapolis to Eden Prairie, extending the Metro Green Line — which is scheduled to open in June — by 15.8 miles. Scheduled to open in 2019, the line also will serve downtown St. Paul, the State Capitol, University of Minnesota and the Opus/Golden Triangle employment areas. The project includes building 16 stations, as well as an operations and maintenance facility in Hopkins. To address concerns about freight-rail and recreational trail disruptions in Minneapolis' Kenilworth corridor, Metropolitan Council officials have recommended constructing shallow tunnels for light-rail trains, with the freight-rail line and trails remaining at-grade.The council approved a project budget of about $1.7 billion. Now, Metro Transit staff will release preliminary design plans to Hennepin County, and the cities of Minneapolis, St. Louis Park, Hopkins, Minnetonka and Eden Prairie for their review and approval. The agency plans to conduct additional engineering studies in 2014 and 2015 to provide more detail on station elements and landscaping features.
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