4-year construction work on SWLRT about to kick off

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Local officials ceremoniously shovel dirt in the air.
Local officials ceremoniously shovel dirt in the air at the Southwest light rail project groundbreaking in Hopkins, Minn., in November 2018.
Courtney Perry for MPR News 2018

Work is about to start in earnest on the Southwest light rail line that will connect downtown Minneapolis and the southwest suburbs, Metro Transit officials said Thursday.

That will mean that the Cedar Lake and Kenilworth trails will be closed in some areas for at least two years. Crews also have to get started on the planned tunnel near Cedar Lake and Lake of the Isles. Survey work, fencing and tree removal will be among the first tasks elsewhere, including some in residential areas.

"Construction is messy, and I think that everybody needs to understand that. Look at 35W, it's kind of necessary needed work, and it's going to be noise," said Jim Alexander, the project director for the construction. "There's going to be some hassles, but the end product, you get a new roadway, a new highway, in this case, we have a new LRT."

Alexander said heavy construction will approach soon. The first track deliveries will be bringing rail to the area next month.