Walsh wins contract to build 7-mile St. Paul segment

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Date: 6/23/2010

ST. PAUL – June 23, 2010 – The Metropolitan Council today awarded the first heavy construction contract for the Central Corridor light rail transit (LRT) Project to Walsh Construction to build the seven-mile St. Paul segment of the line. 

Walsh’s $205.1 million award includes betterment work valued at $10.4 million that was requested by, and will be paid for, by cooperating agencies and utilities.

“This is another exciting milestone for the Central Corridor project,” said Peter Bell, chair of the Met Council. “While we haven’t had any ceremony or ribbon-cutting, the fact is we are starting construction this summer on the largest and most important transit improvement project in state history.”

Construction is expected to begin in August east of the state Capitol on Robert and 12th streets north of Interstate 94, with utility relocation work there expected to start soon after July Fourth. Most of the heavy construction on University Avenue will occur in 2011 between Emerald Street and Hamline Avenue and in 2012 between Hamline and Robert. The work in downtown St. Paul will occur in 2011-2012. 

Bids for the heavy construction work on the line’s western three miles are to be opened July 27. The Met Council is scheduled to award that contract Aug. 25. Prep work will begin in September to retrofit the Washington Avenue Bridge to accommodate LRT trains by strengthening the bridge piers. This work will not affect vehicular or pedestrian/bicycle traffic on the bridge during the fall 2010 semester. In December, crews will begin the process to tie in the Central Corridor line from the Hiawatha Line just west of the Cedar-Riverside Station to west of the future West Bank Station. The bulk of the construction on the Minneapolis segment will start in spring 2011.

The project is able to begin heavy construction due to advance funding commitments from its partners and federal approval of this arrangement. Under this same arrangement, the project began improvements in May on streets around the East Bank campus of the University of Minnesota and utility relocation work last year on Fourth Street in St. Paul. The FTA has agreed to reimburse the project partners for the federal share of this advanced work once it awards a Full Funding Grant Agreement this fall. 

Work on the seven-mile St. Paul segment includes:

  • Relocating utilities necessary for the LRT trackway
  • Constructing nearly seven miles of embedded double track
  • Fully reconstructing streets where track is being installed
  • Building 14 stations from Westgate Station to Union Depot Station
  • Modifying two bridges (on University over Highway 280 and on Cedar Street over Interstates 94 and 35E)
  • Installing concrete paving for signalized intersections
  • Building an infiltration trench for collecting storm water
  • Constructing at-grade pedestrian crossings
  • Demolishing the vacant Bremer Bank building and reconnecting the skyway

Steps to help businesses, property owners

The Central Corridor Project Office has taken steps to eliminate or reduce construction-related impediments to businesses and property owners. These steps include:

  • Limiting construction of each segment on University Avenue to two-thirds at a time while maintaining a lane of traffic on the other third.
  • Requiring contractors to restore the street in front of any business within 150 days and the sidewalk within 15 days.
  • Implementing a contractor incentive program to encourage responsiveness, create a partnership between contractors and the community and promote cooperation. Evaluation criteria will include conformance with notification requirements, timely response to public concerns, maintenance of vehicle access and accessible pedestrian routes and cleanliness of construction sites.
  • Issuing weekly emailed construction updates to provide the public with advance notice of routes that are closed and their alternates.
  • Holding public construction meetings for businesses and the public to get updates and a look ahead from project staff and utilities.
  • Setting up a construction hotline and posting the number, 651-602-1404, in prominent locations throughout a work zone.
  • Assigning multilingual outreach coordinators from the community to be liaisons between the project and the public from the engineering phase through construction. 
  • Distributing a brochure to businesses on the corridor and nearby residents about how the project will communicate construction information and how it can be reached with questions and concerns.

Media Contact

Laura Baenen 
Communications Manager 
Central Corridor LRT Project 
651-602-1797 (office)  
612-269-4365 (cell) 
laura.baenen@metrotransit.org

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Tags: CCLRT