The Metropolitan Council has authorized preliminary engineering contracts with AECOM and Kimley-Horn for the Southwest Light Rail Transit (LRT) Line, the Twin Cities region's third LRT Line.
The council authorized its regional administrator to execute a contract up to $16.8 million with Kimley-Horn for the eastern half of the 15-mile line and a contract of up to $16.8 million with AECOM for the line’s western half, council officials said in a prepared statement. The two firms will begin preliminary engineering work within the coming weeks.
“This is the next step in building a 21st century transit system for the Twin Cities region,” said Metropolitan Council Chairwoman Susan Haigh.
The firms' work is expected to help council officials decide where stations should be built, whether to build LRT next to existing freight-rail traffic or relocate the traffic, where to locate park and rides and an operation and maintenance facility, and whether to design crossings at grade or build bridges or tunnels for the light-rail tracks
The council expects to hire a different engineering firm to provide an independent peer review of the preliminary engineering work provided by both companies.
Construction is expected to begin in 2015 and conclude in 2018. The Southwest line will link downtown Minneapolis with the southwestern suburban cities of St. Louis Park, Minnetonka and Eden Park. When the line opens, it will connect the Green Line at Target Field Station.
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