SWLRT Update: road closures, WPA wall and cushion funding

Work on the Southwest Light Rail Transit line continues in Minneapolis, with new road and trail closures scheduled to begin in late May and early June.

  • A short portion of Burnham Road from Cedar Lake Parkway to Park Lane will close in late May for about 30 days, according to the Met Council.
  • Glenwood Avenue in Minneapolis will close between Lyndale Avenue North and 11th Street North as early as June 3. The closure is expected to last about two years, the Met Council said, with local business access remaining.
  • For cyclists and pedestrians, a portion of the North Cedar Lake Trail from Linden Yards to Royalston Avenue will close as soon as June 3 for two years while work is done. A detour takes trail users along Kenwood Parkway through the Loring Greenway to Downtown.
  • Historians will don hard hats and help oversee the removal of a Works Progress Administration-built wall along the Kenilworth Channel between Lake of the Isles and Cedar Lake at the end of May. Salvage work on the wall, which will include manual excavation in some sections, could take up to four months, according to the Met Council. The WPA wall was built in 1936. The channel will remain open initially but will narrow to 25 feet. A full closure of the channel is expected later this summer.
  • The Hennepin County Board is expected to vote on a measure allowing an additional $200 million cushion for the project requested by the Federal Transit Administration next month, according to a board action request filed May 20. The request is one of the requirements for the project to receive the $928.8 million federal grant expected to cover just under half of the $2 billion project.

The project already has a 14% contingency fund for any unexpected costs, Met Council spokesperson Kate Brickman said. The letter of no prejudice the FTA issued for the project last year is seen as a commitment from the federal government that it will provide the grant money, but additional asks for backup funding are part of the process, according to Brickman.

“We don’t expect it will be needed,” she said.