Southwest light rail, freight fracas intensifies

Light-rail planners are trying to find common ground with railroad officials over a major sticking point on the Southwest Corridor project.

The two parties are trying to find a better way to reroute freight traffic that currently goes through the woodsy Kenilworth corridor of Minneapolis, Hennepin County Commissioner Peter McLaughlin said.

"This is a positive step," said McLaughlin, who is worried about the rising cost estimates for the project. "It's worth taking another look."

A Metropolitan Council spokeswoman confirms there have been ongoing discussions with the Twin Cities and Western Railroad Company, but she declined to say more.

A proposal currently under consideration is drawing fierce objections from St. Louis Park residents because it places the trains on two-story berms near an elementary school. An earlier version of the reroute was deemed unsafe by railroad officials because of its steep grades and sharp curves.

Mark Wegner, the president of TC&W says so far, engineers haven't been able to come up with a solution.

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