Today the Metropolitan Council awarded the systems contract for the Southwest Light Rail Transit (SWLRT) project to Aldridge-Parsons Joint Venture, based in Libertyville, Illinois and Minneapolis, Minnesota.
With a value of $194.4 million, the systems contract is second only to the nearly $800 million civil construction contract, awarded in November 2018. The systems contract includes the construction and installation of equipment such as overhead catenary lines, traction power, and communication systems.
Aldridge is experienced working on LRT corridors, having performed the systems work on Central Corridor LRT (METRO Green Line). Parsons is also no stranger to local rail projects, having worked on Northstar Commuter Rail and Target Field Station.
“With the award of the systems contract, 97 percent of Southwest LRT contracts have been committed,” said Met Council Chair Nora Slawik. “This is a major milestone and I would like to thank our local project partners and the Federal Transit Administration for their commitment to this important transportation project.
“We look forward to working together with our project partners and stakeholders as we seek approval of the Full Funding Grant Agreement, and are eagerly anticipating opening day in 2023,” she said.
“This is another major step forward for this critical investment,” said Hennepin County Regional Railroad Authority Chair Jan Callison. “Judicious project oversight and careful resource management by project partners is helping to keep Southwest LRT on track. Our shared vision is clear, and we are working together to deliver this third light rail project for our region.”
The award of the systems contract follows the project receiving a second Letter of No Prejudice (LONP) from the Federal Transit Administration on August 30, 2019. These letters are critical because they make the early construction work on the project eligible for federal reimbursement upon award of the Full Funding Grant Agreement (FFGA), anticipated in early 2020. With the FFGA, the federal government would contribute $929 million — nearly half — of the project’s total cost. The Council received the first LONP late last year to allow the civil construction contract to begin. The existing Green Line received nine LONPs to allow construction to move forward before receiving the FFGA in 2011.
Southwest LRT (the Green Line extension) is a 14.5-mile line with 16 stations serving Minneapolis, St. Louis Park, nearby Edina, Hopkins, Minnetonka, and Eden Prairie. In 2014, there were approximately 64,300 jobs within a half mile of the proposed stations and 126,800 jobs in downtown Minneapolis. By 2035, employment is expected to grow to 80,900 within a half mile of the proposed stations and 145,300 in downtown Minneapolis — an 18 percent increase in employment. The population along the line outside of downtown Minneapolis is expected to grow by 56 percent from 2014 to 2035.
Visit SWLRT.org for more information about the project, including construction updates, and to see a project map.