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Four Hopkins Sites Among Southwest LRT’s Top Technical Challenges

Project leaders announced the issues that will require the most attention as the project moves further in the engineering process.

Hopkins accounts for four of the 25 challenges identified as the top Southwest Light Rail Transit preliminary engineering technical issues that need to be resolved.

After reviewing feedback on the draft environmental impact statement, planners identified the issues that will require the most attention at a Wednesday Southwest LRT Corridor Management Committee.

The Hopkins sites were:

  • The Shady Oak Station: The current station site is landlocked, although local planners assume 17th Avenue will be extended to provide access. The city also feels that additional access points are needed too accommodate the extra traffic.
  • The Hopkins Station: Hopkins wants to ensure that any parking associated with this station doesn’t hurt the downtown. If there’s to be a park and ride, the city wants it to be shared parking in the downtown.
  • The crossing over Excelsior Boulevard: Heading east, the line will cross under Highway 169 and then cross over Excelsior Boulevard using a new bridge by Cargill and Supervalue.
  • The Blake Station: The city doesn’t like the current location of the Blake Road park and ride—at 43 Hoops at 1002 Second St. NE—because it could lead to congestion and encourage drivers to travel through local streets. Putting the park and ride between the Blake Road platform would mitigate traffic problems and allow more land to be redeveloped. Private developers also thought the station should be moved closer to Blake Road, preferably near the intersection with Excelsior, for greater visibility and access.

According to Finance & Commerce, such technical issues are common when engineering is still only 1 percent complete. The publication noted that the Central Corridor had a list of 37 issues and that most were worked out within six months.

See the map above for a list of all 25 preliminary engineering technical issues.

“Issue resolution teams” will start meeting in February. Project leaders hope to resolve key technical issues in the second and third quarters of 2013. They’ll submit municipal consent plans for agency review in the third quarter and aim to have the municipal consent process completed by the fourth quarter.

Planners should complete 30 percent design plans and specifications in the first quarter of 2014.

 

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