Kenilworth, Cedar Lake trails close for Southwest LRT construction

$2 billion line opens in 2022

May 13, 2019 - 4:30 am

The very popular Kenilworth bike and pedestrian trail closes Monday, May 13 for three years as construction begins on the Southwest Light Rail Transit project.  

From the Midtown Greenway to the Cedar-Isles area, the trail is expected to remail closed until summer of 2022. 

There are also closures along the South Cedar Lake Trail in Hopkins and St. Louis Park. 

According to the Met Council, detour signage will notify trail users of alternative routes which have been designed in coordination with members of the biking community and project partners.

RELATED: Groundbreaking for long awaited Southwest Light Rail.

The project will be a 14.5 mile extention of light rail service from downtown Minneapolis to Eden Prairie. 

There are a few pop-up events hosted by the Met Council to share upcoming construction information with residents, businesses and trail users. 

  • Thursday, May 16: Pop-up on the Cedar Lake Trail at Hopkins Depot; 6 – 9 am
  • Friday, May 17: Pop-up on the Cedar Lake Trail at Beltline Blvd.; 6 – 9 am

The total estimated project will include 16 new stations traveling through to the Green Line trains, which run to St. Paul. 

Plus, it will connect to Blue Line Trains, Northstar Commuter Rail line, many bus routes and some proposed future projects. 

The estimated cost is around $2.003 billion, funded by a mix of federal, county, state and other sources.  

Map Courtesy of the Metropolitan Council

“A benefit of this project is that soon residences all along SWLRT will be able to take the train to US Bank Stadium and watch the Vikings beat the Packers again, and again, and again!” Senator Amy Klobuchar told WCCO last November during the ground breaking.

In addition to the closure of the trails, the contractors will begin doing surveys, install fencing, relocate utilities and start clearing brush and trees. 

The Met Council has said that the tree removal will follow environmental and landscaping commitments that were agreed to in the project's landscaping outline (see that here). 

There has been some concern from some legislators, council members and Minneapolis Park Board members about the removal of trees. 

A letter to the Metropolitan Council asked that they wait until a full-funding contribution from the federal governement is received. 

“The bucolic character of this corridor is prized by many,” the letter reads. “In the event that SWLRT does not proceed for any reason, elimination of this unique, urban forest preserve and passageway would be a reckless and irreversible mistake.”

While the Kenilworth portion of the project makes up a small stretch of the total length, it is expected to be the most difficult portion for contractors. 

There is a 1/2 mile-long tunnel starting north of the Lake Street Bridge that will run light rail trains 10-40 feet below ground level and include a channel crossing between Cedar Lake and Lake of the Isles.

"It's a very narrow area," said project manager Jim Alexander. "It's about half-a-mile in length. It's one of four areas that's kind of busy from a construction perspective."

Existing freight service and city ordinances limit construction work to between 7:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m.  

The federal contribution is expected to make up around 46% of the total cost.  

This project is slated to be the largest infrastructure project in Minnesota's history. 




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