Last and busiest year of heavy construction getting underway

Date: Wednesday, February 22, 2012

ST. PAUL – Feb. 22, 2012 – The final year of heavy construction on the Central Corridor LRT Project is kicking off.
The project ended 2011 on schedule at 45 percent complete. By the end of this year, work is to be 75 percent complete. This year’s to-do list includes:

  • Removing and rebuilding roadways one side at a time, sidewalks, curbs and gutters in all of the areas newly under construction this year.
  • Finishing the relocation of public and private utilities, such as water, storm and sanitary sewers and electrical and phone lines.
  • Finishing the installation and embedding in concrete of the double track over the 10 miles of new rail from St. Paul to Minneapolis.
  • Finishing the strengthening of the Washington Avenue Bridge and installing rails in the middle of the vehicle deck.
  • Completing all 18 stations’ structural elements.
  • Building out the operation and maintenance facility structure in Lowertown.

“Central Corridor will hit its construction peak this year, employing 1,800 workers,” said Mark Fuhrmann, program director for New Starts rail projects.

Highlights of what to expect during construction this year:

  • One through-lane of traffic each way on University Avenue between Hamline Avenue and Rice Street and between Emerald Street and 29th Avenue.
  • Cedar Street between 12th and Fourth streets in St. Paul will be closed to through-traffic through November/December. Local access will be maintained to parking ramps and loading docks.
  • Stadium Village – Huron Boulevard intersection to close mid May through August while utilities are relocated, roadway is rebuilt and rails installed and embedded.
  • Alternate vehicle access to buildings will be maintained throughout the corridor.
  • Temporary ramps over sidewalk construction to get into buildings throughout the corridor.

Where work will begin, how it will proceed

“We want to be mindful of the many small businesses that will be in the construction zone this year on eastern University Avenue,” Fuhrmann said. “That is why the actual start dates and the length of construction segments will be dependent on contractor progress and crew availability, as well as weather. The goal is to only begin construction in areas where the contractor is at the ready with crews and equipment.”
In general, new construction will begin as early as March 1 on:

  • South side of University at Hamline, proceeding eastward toward Robert Street. 
  • North side of University at 29th Avenue in Minneapolis, proceeding eastward toward Emerald Street on the city border. 
  • Washington Avenue between Oak Street and Huron Boulevard.
  • University between Rice and Robert streets will see work begin in March to relocate utilities and begin construction of retaining walls. After the regular legislative session ends, this stretch will be closed to through-traffic through late 2012 for roadway, sidewalk and track construction.

Pre-construction activities, such as installation of temporary traffic signals and water lines will occur before roadway removals begin.

In areas that were under construction in 2011:

Washington Avenue

  • Washington Avenue Bridge – Construction is ongoing. As planned in advance, crews continued working over the winter on the north side of the vehicle deck. Roadway will be restored and rails will be installed on the bridge this year.
  • West Bank – Work will resume as early as March 1 between the Washington Avenue Bridge and the new Interstate 35W flyover or train bridge connecting Central Corridor tracks to the Hiawatha LRT line. 
  • East Bank – Work will resume as early as March 1 on Washington Avenue between the Washington Avenue Bridge and Oak Street

University Avenue

  • Construction began Feb. 13 on the north side of University between Cleveland and Prior with removal of the roadway. 
  • Between Cleveland and Hamline where University was rebuilt in 2011, crews will continue installing and embedding rail.
  • Resume building the Westgate, Raymond Avenue, Fairview Avenue and Snelling Avenue stations as early as March 1.

 Capitol area

  • Robert Street Station work will resume this spring and crews will resume installing and embedding rails on Robert and 12th streets.

Cedar Street in St. Paul

  • Beginning as early as late February, Cedar Street between 12th and Fourth streets will be under construction and closed to through traffic through November/December. Utilities will be relocated, roadway and sidewalks removed and rebuilt, rails installed and embedded and the Tenth Street Station built. 
  • The Cedar Street bridge over Interstate 94 will be retrofitted to accommodate tracks.
  • Work resumed early this year on the Central Station at Fourth and Cedar streets. The station will be completed and tracks installed and embedded this year.

Fourth Street

  • Union Depot Station will be finished.
  • Track will be installed and embedded across Broadway Street to the operation and maintenance facility this summer.
  • Track will be installed and embedded across Minnesota Street during the spring to connect with Central Station.

In 2013, crews will perform the far less disruptive work of installing wires for the overhead contact system that will power the trains and finishing the installation of -the traction power substations and signal bungalows. The substations are small metal structures that convert power for the overhead wires, and the signal bungalows hold the signaling and communication systems. After that work is done, trains carrying only crews will run test trips for months before revenue service begins in 2014.

The construction hotline remains the best number to call to resolve quickly any construction-related problems. The number is 651-602-1404.

For information about alternate access to businesses and other locations in the construction areas, motorists, cyclists, pedestrians and Metro Transit bus riders are encouraged to sign up for weekly construction updates via the project’s listserv. Visit and go to the gray Stay Connected tab at the top left of the homepage. Visit for construction-related bus stop detours and bus stop closures during construction.

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 began in late 2010 on the planned 11-mile Central Corridor line, and service will begin in 2014. The line will connect with the Hiawatha LRT line at the Metrodome station in Minneapolis and the Northstar commuter rail line at Target Field Station. The Metropolitan Council is 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. Funding is provided by the Federal Transit Administration, Counties Transit Improvement Board, state of Minnesota, Ramsey and Hennepin counties’ regional railroad authorities, city of St. Paul, Metropolitan Council and the Central Corridor Funders Collaborative.

Media Contact

Laura Baenen 
Communications Manager 
Central Corridor LRT Project 
651-602-1797 (office)  
612-269-4365 (cell)

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