MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — St. Paul could be the construction capital of the state after construction of the Central Corridor light rail has hit the half-way mark.

Dan Soler, the director of Transit Systems Design and Construction, pointed out the progress Friday, which is most visible at the Union Depot Station in just outside of downtown St. Paul.

“The tracks are in the center and you’ll see there are two sets of tracks and there is a platform on either side,” Soler said.

He’s behind what not long ago was just a blueprint to build 10 miles of track on the 11-mile stretch linking Minneapolis and St. Paul.

“Now, we are finally seeing it coming up out of the ground, and it’s very exciting,” he said.

The Union Depot station is where the rail will begin and end. Nearby, Ramsey County is also planning a sister project with future bus and Amtrak train hubs as well.

Soler says 2012 will be the busiest construction year yet.

On Cedar and 7th Street, crews removed roads, sidewalks and gutters. Along the way, they’ve encountered urban archeology as they unearthed old streetcar tracks and century-old utilities not marked on maps, which Soler calls a challenge.

“For the most part, we are building this in and on top of existing infrastructure”” he said.

On University Avenue near Menards, they must lower the road to fit the trains under a bridge.

In Prospect Park, roadway removal is mostly complete and tracks expected sometime this summer.

On the East Bank on Washington Avenue, crews are relocating utilities and removing pavement. They may lay tracks in April.

Still, Soler says all 18 stations along the Central Corridor LRT will be finished this year. The rail is on track for service in 2014.

“I’ve been working on it every day it seems like the last five to six years, and I’m very happy to see it continuing,” Soler said.

By the end of the year, the work on the Central Corridor will be 75 percent complete. Soler says 2013 will be spent focusing on the electrical work needed to run the rail.

In about 15 years, the Central Corridor is expected to see 40,000 riders a day. To learn more about the project, click the link: www.centralcorridor.org. For the latest on construction-related bus stop closures, click here: www.metrotransit.org/construction.

Comments (8)
  1. The Economist says:


    This boondoggle can start losing money real soon.

  2. Bud says:

    A fast way to get to the new Vikings stadium

    1. Bart says:

      It’s going to Los Angeles?

  3. Nelson says:

    The central corridor is well-past overdue. This is a great project and for those who has never traveled to a major city, mass transit is the way to go. I love that this will connect both cities. Perhaps this will help Minnesotans reduce their carbon footprint and we wouldn’t need to complain about high gas prices in the future.

    1. not quite says:

      @Nelson no offense but you seem to be a h . People with your ‘carbon footprint’ mentality are what is wrong with this entire world. Take your money grabbing, carbon credit mindset and head to somewhere in Europe where they will welcome you.

      1. what?!? says:

        This is funny.. Are you joking me?!? People like Nelson is whats wrong? Look around man. People like Nelson is the minority.. Oh yeah and we’re still in the gutter. So the problem is WE HAVE TO MANY IGNORANT STUPID MORONS LIKE YOURSELF. Need proof? Pick up a news paper or tune into the new channel of your choice!!

  4. Troy Linck says:

    Remember – these anti development, anti transit people are keeping our dependence on foreign oil high and supporting many countries that behave as our enemies. But things are changing fast and these negative types are quickly becoming irrelevant and an ever dwindling minority. I find their anti progress rants to be sad and to sound more like a whiny wimper.

  5. Tom says:

    @ Troy Linch

    Very true!

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