“Largest project ever”: Minneapolis picks team for $800m light rail scheme

In what is being billed as the state of Minnesota’s largest infrastructure project ever, the Metropolitan Council governing the twin cities of Minneapolis-St Paul has awarded a just-under $800m contract to local joint venture Lunda/CS McCrossan to build a 14.5-mile Light Rapid Transit (LRT) railway.

The project will extend the cities’ existing Metro Green Line.

Announcing the award Thursday, 15 November, the council said the project is expected to create 7,500 construction jobs before the new line opens in 2023.

Lunda Construction Co., of Black River Falls, Wisconsin, and Minnesota civil contractor CS McCrossan joined to bid $799.5m for the job, submitting the lower of two competitive bids.

"People across the region and state have been waiting for this day," said Council Chair Alene Tchourumoff. "This action means we can get to work on extending the highly successful Green Line into St. Louis Park, Hopkins, Minnetonka and Eden Prairie, connecting people with jobs, education, services, and entertainment."

The council said it went ahead with the contract after confirmation of its eligibility for reimbursement amounting to $929m from the federal government, which would amount to nearly half the project’s total cost, including construction.

It will issue a Limited Notice to Proceed in December.

Lunda/McCrossan will build 14.5 miles of double track with 16 LRT stations and structures, including:

  • 29 new bridges (LRT, pedestrian, freight and roadway);
  • Seven existing bridges to be modified;
  • Six pedestrian tunnels;
  • Two cut-and-cover LRT tunnels;
  • Over 100 retaining walls.
  • The estimated 7,500 construction workers needed to build the line are expected to come from all across the state of Minnesota, the council said.

Image: An eastbound test train of the Metro Green Line near the University of Minnesota and the Weisman Art Museum (Michael Hicks/Creative Commons/CC BY 2.0)

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