Metro Transit is shutting down its Blue Line train service in Bloomington for five weeks as it embarks on the "largest construction project in the light rail line's history."
A bus service will replace the train between MSP Airport Terminal 2 and the Mall of America starting Friday, July 8 through Monday, Aug. 15, according to Metro Transit.
It will impact the following stations over the coming weeks:
- Airport-Terminal 2: Northbound side will remain open. Riders will need to pay at station before boarding the southbound replacement bus, located at stop 57188.
- American Boulevard: For southbound, board at bus stop 48548 and for northbound, board at bus stop 41975
- Bloomington Central: Same boarding situation as American Boulevard
- 30th Avenue: For southbound, board bus stop 41253 and for northbound, board bus stop 80361
- Mall of America: Board bus stop 56881
Ryan Heath, engineer for Metro Transit who is overseeing the project, said in a blog post that this "is important for the Blue Line's next 40 years."
"We're looking out literally decades with an eye toward improving the reliability and maintainability of our system," he said.
According to Metro Transit, the project consists of replacing sections of tracks that "have worn out and upgrades technology that guides safety safety systems." In addition, the updates will also bring safety enhancements and allow trains to switch tracks and turn around near the 30th Avenue Station, which will provide more opportunity to keep trains moving if a section of track is taken out of service.
The project is expected to wrap up a week before the Minnesota State Fair takes place.
“We’re going to using every minute of those five weeks, and I mean every minute of it,” Heath said. “It’s going to be that intense.”
Metro Transit says, for the first time ever, replacement buses will show up in the Trip Planner and NexTrip to help ease the burden for riders. Staff will also be available to help direct where to go for the replacement bus service.
In addition to the construction, Metro Transit is also switching to two-car trains starting Saturday, July 9 and going through Aug. 15. The temporary switch is being made so the transportation service can learn how reducing train sizes impacts the customer experience.