Pre-construction activities along the proposed Southwest LRT route

Types of Fieldwork

Crews are doing a variety of fieldwork on the Southwest LRT Project for environmental documentation and engineering work. Some field work is a continuation of work begun last year.


Surveying determines the elevation of land and the location of features such as trails, roads, walls, existing railroad tracks, overhead utility lines and other structures, as well as property lines. Surveying will be performed along the entire proposed route of the Southwest LRT line. Surveying crews typically consist of two surveyors: one with a tripod-mounted recording tool and another with a vertical survey rod; surveyors also use Global Positioning System (GPS) equipment. 

Field Title Verification

To confirm the ownership of land along the proposed Southwest LRT route, employees of the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT) will visit properties along the proposed route and meet with property owners to gather information and discuss impacts. Not all properties will require visits by MnDOT staff. Field title work will began in early 2015. 

Property Appraisals

Consultants hired by the Metropolitan Council will perform appraisals of property that may be acquired for the Southwest LRT line. Appraisers may visit properties to study existing conditions. Appraisals follow federal guidelines for determining the market value of a property. Appraisal work is expected to start in 2016, and offers to purchase property are expected to be made starting in 2016. 

Geotech Borings

Geotech borings are needed to sample soil in order to determine its properties before building on it. Borings are performed using a drilling machine with a hydraulic auger on the back of a truck. Crews will bore holes approximately one foot in diameter along the center line of the Southwest LRT route, near existing or proposed foundations of bridges and tunnels. Twenty-foot borings are typically drilled along the proposed light rail line, freight railroad tracks or roadways; 100-foot deep borings are typically drilled around proposed tunnels, bridge abutments and bridge piers. All holes will be refilled and seeded the same day, or patched with asphalt the same day if they were originally paved.