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Washington Ave. Closes For LRT Construction

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(credit: CBS) Holly Wagner
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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The street that goes through the heart of the University of Minnesota will be forever free of cars and trucks.

At midnight, crews officially closed off five blocks of Washington Avenue near the U of M because of the Central Corridor light rail project.

The road is closed from Pleasant St. to Oak St. on the ‘U’ campus. Crews will be connecting St. Paul and downtown Minneapolis with light rail lines.

The $1 billion project is expected to be completed in 2014 and will stretch 11 miles long.

In a few years the road will look very different with only light rail trains and bus lines allowed on the thoroughfare.

It will be a big change for people to get used, but the timing is good. Students just finished the spring semester last week and that means less people are on campus. Once summer session starts up, it won’t be as busy on campus.

Safety is still an issue, however, with recent accidents involving pedestrians and bikers being hit and killed. University officials urge people to look out for detours and to be careful whether their driving, walking or biking.

Meanwhile, the Washington Ave. Bridge will stay open, but there may be some temporary closures at night or on the weekends.

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