Project Facts

About the Southwest LRT Project

  • The approximately 14.5-mile route (PDF) will serve the growing communities of Minneapolis, St. Louis Park, Hopkins, Minnetonka, and Eden Prairie.
  • 16 new stations with connections to streets and trails will be built, attracting new residential and commercial development.
  • In 2014, there were approximately 64,300 jobs within ½ mile of the proposed stations and 126,800 jobs in downtown Minneapolis. By 2035, employment is expected to grow to 80,900 within ½ mile of the proposed stations and 145,300 in downtown Minneapolis – a 18% increase in employment.
  • In 2014, there were about 35,800 people within ½ mile of the proposed stations and 16,400 residents with access to the 5 shared stations in downtown Minneapolis. By 2035, the population within ½ mile of the proposed stations is expected to grow by 56 percent to 55,800, and the population of downtown Minneapolis is expected to grow by 117 percent increase to 35,600.
  • The total project budget is $2.203 billion, funded by a combination of federal, county, state and local sources.
  • Construction began in 2019.
  • With $350 million estimated construction payroll, Southwest LRT supports approximately 7,500 jobs.

The total project cost is $2.003 billion. Committed funding sources for the Southwest LRT:

  • Hennepin County: $591.4 million
  • Counties Transit Improvement Board (CTIB): $218.9 million (provided funding until dissolution in 2017)
  • Hennepin County Regional Railroad Authority (HCRRA): $199.5 million
  • State of Minnesota: $30.3 million
  • Other local contributions: $26.4 million
  • Eden Prairie Town Center Station: $7.7 million ($6.14 million CMAQ, $1.54 million Eden Prairie)

The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) will provide $928.8 million through the New Starts program with a Full Funding Grant Agreement which was signed in September 2020.

Currently, the timeline is under review for when the Southwest LRT begins passenger service as part of the METRO Green Line.

September 2020: The Federal Transit Administration and the Metropolitan Council enter into a Full Funding Agreement securing federal funding for the project.

2019 – Heavy construction began

2019: Apply for Full Funding Grant Agreement, committing the federal government to pay 46 percent of the project’s capital cost.

May 2018: The Federal Transit Administration issues Amended Record of Decision. The Metropolitan Council and Hennepin County approve final scope & budget.

December 2016: The Federal Transit Administration approves Southwest LRT to enter the Engineering phase of the New Starts process.

August 2016: The Metropolitan Council approves scope & budget, Determination of Adequacy, and submits application to enter the Engineering phase of the Federal Transit Administration's New Starts funding process.

July 2016: The Federal Transit Administration issues Record of Decision.

May 2016: The Metropolitan Council publishes the Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS).

August – September 2015: Hennepin County and municipalities along the LRT route provide approval for the project in a second Municipal Consent process, covering changes in project scope described in the Supplemental Draft EIS.

June 2015: The Metropolitan Council holds three public hearings to receive comments on the Supplemental Draft Environmental Impact Statement

May 2015: The Metropolitan Council publishes the Southwest LRT Supplemental Draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS).

2015: Advanced Design Consultants continue design and engineering activities.

August 2014: In the Municipal Consent process, Hennepin County and cities along the Southwest LRT route review and approve preliminary plans.

January 2013: The Metropolitan Council hires Preliminary Engineering Consultants and begins Preliminary Engineering.

December 2012: The Metropolitan Council becomes the project lead with the transfer of Responsible Government Unit status from Hennepin County.

November 2012: Hennepin County holds three public hearings to receive public comments on the Draft Environmental Impact Statement. Nearly 1000 comments are received during the Draft EIS public review and comment period in November and December.

October 2012: Hennepin County publishes the Southwest Transitway Draft Environmental Impact Statement (Draft EIS).

August 2012: The Metropolitan Council names a Business Advisory Committee to provide an avenue for input. The committee meets monthly and is co-chaired by Will Roach (Minneapolis Regional Chamber of Commerce) and Daniel Duffy (TwinWest Chamber of Commerce).

May 2012: The Southwest Project Office opens in the Park Place West building in St. Louis Park.

April 2012: The Metropolitan Council names a Community Advisory Committee to provide an avenue for public input.

September 2011: The Federal Transit Administration (FTA) approves the Project to begin Preliminary Engineering.

December 2010: The Metropolitan Council establishes a project management structure, and names a Corridor Management Committee to provide oversight. The committee is chaired by Metropolitan Council Chair Susan Haigh and includes representatives from Hennepin County and the cities of Minneapolis, St. Louis Park, Edina, Hopkins, Minnetonka, and Eden Prairie.

August 2010: The Metropolitan Council applies to the Federal Transit Administration for approval to enter Preliminary Engineering (PE).

Can I have any of the materials (plants, trees, fencing, etc.) within construction sites and work zones?
No. Many of the natural materials within construction sites will be used for on-site erosion control.  Other materials may be contaminated and require the contractor to dispose per environmental regulations.

If I see an animal that needs assistance, what should I do?
As construction begins, some wildlife may be displaced. Should you come across animals that need assistance outside of construction areas and work zones, contact your city’s animal control office or one of the following resources:

Will there be freight train horns being sounded during construction?
Yes. With portions of the SWLRT construction corridor located immediately adjacent to active freight rail lines, freight trains will follow their standard operating rules when approaching a construction area. Freight trains are required to sound their horn as the train approaches a construction area that is occupied by workers or equipment adjacent to the freight line, until the front of the train has passed the construction area. This will mean additional train horn soundings during construction.

Safety is our top priority during construction. Please observe signage around construction areas and note conditions may change: Stay alert. Stay safe.

Southwest LRT Announces Potential Delay

St. Louis Park, January 14, 2021 - Today the Metropolitan Council along with Hennepin County are announcing a potential construction delay for the Southwest LRT Project.  Over the course of the 2020 construction season, the project staff and our contractor, Lunda-McCrossan Joint Venture encountered unforeseen conditions in the Minneapolis segment of the of the alignment which will take longer to overcome. These include:
  • Due to the poor soils we encountered in the Kenilworth corridor during the initial construction of the tunnel, an alternative construction method is needed to complete the tunnel.  The construction method we are introducing (secant wall) will stabilize the soils while constructing the LRT tunnel. We are taking this approach out of an abundance of caution to protect the foundations of adjacent buildings.
  • We are constructing an approximately 1-mile corridor protection wall for an additional layer of protection between the BNSF freight trains and LRT trains. The corridor protection wall will be located in the BNSF’s Wayzata Subdivision in Minneapolis from the Bryn Mawr Station to just east of I-94. This protection wall was added as a requirement of BNSF after final design and civil construction contracting. While this element is not a surprise, we have now completed analysis and design for the wall and have a fuller understanding of the challenges of constructing this project element in an active freight rail corridor. Watch this short video about the corridor protection wall.
These are no small changes and require thoughtful and deliberate engineering, design plans and construction methods. What this means is Southwest LRT will most likely not be meeting it’s opening day projection of 2023. While these types of setbacks are not uncommon on projects of this scale, we are also disappointed by this development. We strongly believe the long-term benefits of this project to the region and state outweigh the short-term challenges we face.

During the next several months project staff and the contractor will be analyzing the schedule and we will share more information later this year. Southwest LRT is the largest public infrastructure project in the state of Minnesota's history and is incredibly complex as we construct LRT, freight rail and regional trails. Challenges will always arise in a project of this size and scope.  It is important to note that current construction on Southwest LRT continues in Eden Prairie, Minnetonka, Hopkins, St. Louis Park and Minneapolis. This includes key project elements including stations, LRT and trail tunnels and LRT, freight rail and trail bridges which will continue to be constructed. We will continue to work directly with stakeholders to minimize these construction impacts whenever possible.

Additionally, the Metropolitan Council remains committed to ensuring the many small businesses and sub-contractors working on the project are treated fairly due to the anticipate schedule change.