On Tuesday, I went on a tour of some of the construction sites for the Southwest Light Rail project. We started at the Southwest Bus Station and went along the line to the end in Minneapolis near Target Field. I was told there are fifteen construction sites currently and they are using about thirty cranes.
Of particular interest in the equipment being used for digging near the buildings in Minneapolis that were the topic of many meetings because the underground wall was going to be so close to the buildings. A special piece of equipment was brought in from Japan to use in this area. With this equipment, there is literally no noise or feeling of ground movement even when you stand fairly close. You can see the blades moving and the dirt accumulating at the top of the hole, but that is all. My understanding is that this is the first time this equipment has been used in Minnesota.
In addition to the construction jobs being created by the Southwest LRT project, one of the major outcomes at the end of the project will be better access to nine of the region’s 17 Fortune 500 companies that are headquartered along the route. It will also provide service to all the region’s sport venues. This project is an example of major partnerships, both public and private.