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Freight track location options to be reviewed for Twin Cities' light-rail project

Two public open houses will be held June 13 in St. Louis Park, Minn., to review engineering concepts for the location of freight rail in the design of the Southwest Light-Rail Transit (LRT) project, also known as the Green Line extension.

The concepts explore options for co-locating freight and LRT tracks in Minneapolis, and rerouting freight-rail traffic in St. Louis Park to make way for the LRT tracks, Metropolitan Council officials said in a press release.

The relocation concepts to be presented will be different than the one described in the draft environmental impact statement, they said.

The Federal Transit Administration, which would fund half of the $1.25 billion line, directed the council's Southwest LRT Project Office to design both the freight rail co-location and relocation options prior to recommending one. The council is expected to decide the freight-rail issue by late summer after receiving input from citizens, businesses and various committees.

The six co-location concepts involve the following in the Kenilworth Corridor in Minneapolis: building LRT tracks along freight tracks and a trail, with all modes at ground level; relocating the trail out of the corridor between the Midtown Greenway and Cedar Lake Parkway; elevating the rail; building a shallow tunnel for LRT tracks; building deep twin tunnels, with one tunnel for each LRT track; and elevating LRT tracks.

The relocation options call for building freight tracks through the existing St. Louis Park High School football field, which would be relocated to the main campus; or building freight tracks that skirt the field to the east.

Contact Progressive Railroading editorial staff.

More News from 5/29/2013