Cost of Southwest light rail could rise

Proposed Southwest LRT route map
This map shows the proposed route of the Southwest Light Rail Transit line.
Courtesy Metropolitan Council

The planned Southwest LRT between Eden Prairie and downtown Minneapolis could end up costing more than originally proposed.

The line is slated to run between Eden Prairie and downtown Minneapolis and connect to other transit. The light rail project is projected to cost $1.25 billion. But the original cost projection doesn't include expenses related to placement of the new line in relation to an existing freight rail line.

Mark Fuhrmann, program director for rail projects at Metro Transit, said they are looking into whether there is room for light rail, freight rail and a bike path to fit together through narrow sections of the potential alignment.

"We just need to do more of the good engineering to figure out what is technically and physically feasible and then we need to start to develop the cost because we need to be cost conscious," Fuhrmann said. "This project is competing with others around the country."

Planners are weighing possible solutions, including relocating some freight rail traffic and running the LRT through a tunnel into Minneapolis.

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