Minneapolis LRT Facing Delays, Cost Increases

Construction on the Kenilworth Tunnel has been plagued by problems and threatens the foundation of a nearby condo complex.

July 28, 2021, 5:00 AM PDT

By Diana Ionescu @aworkoffiction


Southwest LRT

Metropolitan Council / METRO Green Line Extension project

A half-mile tunnel that "will carry the Metropolitan Council’s Southwest LRT project through a pinch point in its 15-mile path from downtown to Eden Prairie" is mired in "[c]omplexities with water, underground debris, and construction methods seem poised to push the line’s opening deep into 2025 or 2026," writes Adam Platt. "The Kenilworth Tunnel, long the open wound among neighborhood and environmental activists, has been plagued by what [activists] deem as foreseen challenges—which have forced construction crews to adopt complex and time-consuming fixes to maintain its structural integrity." As Platt writes, "[n]o line would have been free of lawsuits and strife, but it is hard to imagine how a surface route at grade through the Minneapolis Farmer’s Market to Hennepin Avenue to the Midtown Greenway connection with the existing right of way would have been any more difficult." The project, currently slated to cost $2 billion, "continues to book change orders and eat away at contingency funds," having already exhausted the primary $203 million contingency fund. 

Hennepin County Commissioner Debbie Goettel, while sympathetic to the concerns of community members, says that, ultimately, "stopping remains an absurd prospect, noting that hundreds of millions of dollars of spent federal funds would need to be returned to the U.S. Treasury, not to mention leaving dozens of partially built bridges and other structures scattered across the southwest metro."

Tuesday, July 20, 2021 in Minneapolis Post

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