The Southwest Light Rail Line appears likely to go years and “hundreds of millions of dollars” over schedule and budget.
…what’s happening between Park Siding and Depot Street today is construction of a half-mile tunnel that will carry the Metropolitan Council’s Southwest LRT project through a pinch point in its 15-mile path from downtown to Eden Prairie. Complexities with water, underground debris, and construction methods seem poised to push the line’s opening deep into 2025 or 2026.
Ever since word started to leak out last fall that the Kenilworth tunnel construction was stuck in a sloppy mess of water and boulders, contractors and Met Council officials have known the line could not meet its opening estimates, and that tunnel costs could blow through the project’s contingency fund. But the agency insists even today that it cannot estimate the magnitude of delay nor additional cost.
But in midwinter, in a private call with government stakeholders, the Met Council did offer some specificity, [Twin Cities Business] has learned. At the time, the project was expected to be delayed by at least two years into late 2025, say individuals on that call, including state Rep. Frank Hornstein (DFL-Minneapolis), who chairs the state House Transportation Committee. Hornstein is a supporter of the project who frames himself as disappointed in its current state.
“We raised questions about all these problem areas. They were waived away. Every dire prediction came true, the ones about cost overruns, the ones about the tunnel, the millions given away to railroads in negotiations,” he said in a spring interview.
Heck – who reported on the ghastly overruns when the bill was half what they’re talking now?