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Met Council opens bidding for Southwest light rail contract, again

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Planned route for the Southwest light rail line
The planned route for the Southwest light rail line, as of January 2017.
Courtesy of Metropolitan Council

The Metropolitan Council on Monday restarted its process for picking a main contractor for the Southwest Corridor light rail project.

The regional planning agency has opened the bidding for the civil construction contract on the proposed 14.5 mile line between Minneapolis and Eden Prairie.   

The Met Council wants contractors to submit proposals by Jan. 9.

  It's the second attempt to select a firm.

  The council rejected four bids in September, saying they were too costly. The lowest bid then was about $800 million on a project that could top $1.8 billion. 

Met Council Chair Alene Tchourumoff told fellow council members in an email that agency staff and project partners have made modifications to the line's construction specifications. She said it includes changes to construction schedules and traffic closures that could reduce the need for overtime.

"We are hopeful that this round will provide competitive bids, so we can use most of the 2018 construction season," she wrote.

  Financing for the line is still in flux but the expectation is the federal government will pay half. The goal is to complete the work by 2022.

A pre-bid meeting is set for Nov. 13 in Eden Prairie.

The timeline calls for the Met Council to award the contract next April.