Posts Tagged ‘ transit project ’

Central Corridor Update

From the Met Council:

The Metropolitan Council has awarded the first heavy construction contract for the Central Corridor light rail transit Project to Walsh Construction to build the seven-mile St. Paul segment of the line. Walsh’s $205.1 million award includes betterment work valued at $10.4 million that was requested by, and will be paid for, by cooperating agencies and utilities.

Construction is expected to begin in August east of the state Capitol on Robert and 12th streets north of Interstate 94, with utility relocation work there expected to start soon after July Fourth. Most of the heavy construction on University Avenue will occur in 2011 between Emerald Street and Hamline Avenue and in 2012 between Hamline and Robert. The work in downtown St. Paul will occur in 2011-2012.

The project is able to begin heavy construction due to advance funding commitments from its partners and federal approval of this arrangement. Under this same arrangement, the project began improvements in May on streets around the East Bank campus of the University of Minnesota and utility relocation work last year on Fourth Street in St. Paul. The FTA has agreed to reimburse the project partners for the federal share of this advanced work once it awards a Full Funding Grant Agreement this fall.

Work on the seven-mile St. Paul segment includes:

  • Relocating utilities necessary for the LRT trackway
  • Constructing nearly seven miles of embedded double track
  • Fully reconstructing streets where track is being installed
  • Building 14 stations from Westgate Station to Union Depot Station
  • Modifying two bridges (on University over Highway 280 and on Cedar Street over Interstates 94 and 35E)
  • Installing concrete paving for signalized intersections
  • Building an infiltration trench for collecting storm water
  • Constructing at-grade pedestrian crossings
  • Demolishing the vacant Bremer Bank building and reconnecting the skyway

Steps to help businesses, property owners

The Central Corridor Project Office has taken steps to eliminate or reduce construction-related impediments to businesses and property owners. These steps include:

  • Limiting construction of each segment on University Avenue to two-thirds at a time while maintaining a lane of traffic on the other third.
  • Requiring contractors to restore the street in front of any business within 150 days and the sidewalk within 15 days.
  • Implementing a contractor incentive program to encourage responsiveness, create a partnership between contractors and the community and promote cooperation. Evaluation criteria will include conformance with notification requirements, timely response to public concerns, maintenance of vehicle access and accessible pedestrian routes and cleanliness of construction sites.
  • Issuing weekly emailed construction updates to provide the public with advance notice of routes that are closed and their alternates. To sign up for the emails, click here.
  • Holding public construction meetings for businesses and the public to get updates and a look ahead from project staff and utilities.
  • Setting up a construction hotline and posting the number, 651-602-1404, in prominent locations throughout a work zone.
  • Assigning multilingual outreach coordinators from the community to be liaisons between the project and the public from the engineering phase through construction.
  • Distributing a brochure to businesses on the corridor and nearby residents about how the project will communicate construction information and how it can be reached with questions and concerns.

About the project

The Central Corridor Light Rail Transit Project will link downtown St. Paul and downtown Minneapolis along Washington and University avenues via the state Capitol and the University of Minnesota. Construction will begin in 2010 on the planned 11-mile Central Corridor line, with service beginning in 2014. The line will connect with the Hiawatha LRT line at the Metrodome station in Minneapolis and the Northstar commuter rail line at the new Target Field Station. The Metropolitan Council will be the grantee of federal funds. The regional government agency is charged with building the line in partnership with the Minnesota Department of Transportation. The Central Corridor Management Committee, which includes commissioners from Ramsey and Hennepin counties, the mayors of St. Paul and Minneapolis and the University of Minnesota, provides advice and oversight.

Stops for Us Celebration

Stops for Us celebration

Nieeta Presley and Metric Giles of ASANDC celebrate with Stops for Us Coalition at Arnellia's

The community along the Central Corridor in St. Paul has been asking for extra train stops at key intersections since the light rail expansion was conceived. Just a few weeks ago, they got them. Community groups, neighborhood organizations, local elected officials and individuals have been working with federal, state and local officials to find funding and political support for the stops. A celebration was held at Arnellia’s on University Avenue on Feb. 8 to enjoy the sweet success of good old-fashioned community organizing.

With local businesses worried about revenue during construction, lawsuits being filed against the proposed light rail route and an inadequate amount of train stops, many community members have been hesitant to welcome the transit project. This victory was one felt deeply by those who worked hard to achieve it, and the party at Arnellia’s was well deserved.

The local pub was full of community members, leaders and organizational representatives. People from Isaiah, CSP, Jewish Community Action, Alliance for Metro Stability, ASANDC and more were there to cheer the funding of the new stops. City Councilmembers Russ Stark and Melvin Carter III were there as well. The party filled the back room of Arnelia’s with laughter and noise: specifically singing. A song written for the occasion was chanted by everyone, and was definitely the highpoint of the evening. “We’ve been hoping for this for a long time,” said Metric Giles, a board member of the Aurora/St. Anthony Neighborhood Development Corporation.

The Stops for Us Coalition: »Alliance for Metropolitan Stability »Asian Economic Dev. Association »ASANDC »Community Stabilization Project »District Councils Collaborative »Got Voice, Got Power! »Hmong Organizing Program, TakeActionMN »Housing Preservation Project »ISAIAH »Jewish Community Action »JUST Equity »Minnesota Center for Environmental Advocacy »Model Cities »MICAH »Preserve and Benefit Historic Rondo Committee »Saint Paul NAACP »Saint Paul Urban League »Transit for Livable Communities »UFCW Local 789 »University UNITED »University Ave. Business Association.