ST. LOUIS PARK, Minn. – November 15, 2018 – The Metropolitan Council today awarded a contract that is expected to create 7,500 construction jobs, totaling $350 million in payroll to be infused into the state’s economy. The Council voted to award local joint venture Lunda/C.S. McCrossan with the civil construction contract for what will be the state’s largest infrastructure project to date.
“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.
“For years now, the Southwest LRT project has achieved milestones, making its way through one process after another. While this action is yet another part of that process, it’s so much more than that – it’s the certainty our region needed that this project will get built and maximize the millions local communities have invested as they plan for this project to change the blueprint of their cities.”
Lunda/C.S. McCrossan was the low bidder on the construction contract, at $799,514,338. It was one of two competitive bids the Council received this year.
The Council, in partnership with Hennepin County, the project’s primary local funder, is expecting to hold a ceremonial groundbreaking later this month, with construction activities getting underway by the end of the year.
Lunda/McCrossan team experienced with constructing rail, structures
Lunda/McCrossan will build 14.5 miles of double track with 16 LRT stations and structures in a corridor that will share 7.8 miles with freight railroad tracks, requiring close coordination with Twin Cities & Western Railroad and BNSF Railway during construction and later during LRT operation. The structures include:
- 29 new bridges (LRT, pedestrian, freight and roadway)
- Seven existing bridges to be modified
- Six pedestrian tunnels
- Two “cut-and-cover” LRT tunnels, a 582-foot tunnel under state Highway 62 on the Minnetonka-Eden Prairie border and a 2,236-foot tunnel in the Kenilworth corridor of Minneapolis
- Over 100 retaining walls
Lunda Construction Co., which is based in Black River Falls, Wis., specializes in bridge, railroad and industrial construction. Lunda built the St. Croix Crossing bridge spanning the St. Croix River between Oak Park Heights, Minn., and St. Joseph, Wis., that opened in 2017.
McCrossan, which is based in Maple Grove, Minn., is a diversified highway/heavy civil general contractor with experience building light rail lines. McCrossan was one of the prime contractors that worked on the Minneapolis portion of the Green Line, which included rehabbing the Washington Avenue Bridge over the Mississippi River to accommodate the addition of light rail tracks. McCrossan also performed work building the Blue Line, the region’s first light rail line.
The estimated 7,500 construction workers needed to build the line are expected to come from all across the state of Minnesota. During construction on the Green Line, construction workers came from 61 of the 87 counties in Minnesota.
Moving into construction
The Council’s action was made possible by the receipt of a Letter of No Prejudice (LONP) from the FTA, which makes early construction work on the project eligible for federal reimbursement upon award of the Full Funding Grant Agreement (FFGA). The Council anticipates submitting an application for the FFGA upon invitation from the FTA, with hopes of receiving the FFGA in spring 2019.
With the FFGA, the federal government would pay $929 million, nearly half, of the project’s total cost. This follows the same approval path the Green Line took before receiving full federal funding in 2011.
Moving forward, the Council will issue a Limited Notice to Proceed in December. A Limited Notice to Proceed is the Council's way of giving the Contractor permission to start construction on designated parts of the project. This allows the Council to keep the project on schedule while we submit the grant application and the FTA completes its review.
Activities this winter could include staffing and equipment mobilization, site clearance, demolition and utility work. Heavy construction would occur in 2019-2022, with testing of the system with new light rail vehicles in 2022-23. After the Council awards the construction contract, more precise construction and project timelines can be developed. The line would open in 2023.