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Cost of Southwest Light Rail corridor wall jumps from $20M to almost $93M

The corridor wall will run from the Bryn Mawr stop to Interstate 94.

The cost of a corridor protection wall along part of the Southwest Light Rail project has jumped to almost $93 million.

On Monday, the Metropolitan Council’s Transportation Committee reviewed a change to the cost of a 1-mile protection wall that will run from the light rail’s Bryn Mawr stop to Interstate 94. The wall is meant to separate the light rail from freight trains on the BNSF line.

The changes in construction cost will be around $82.6 million, which the full council will vote on at its April 14 meeting. In November, the council voted on an increase of $10 million to the cost of the wall, bringing the total cost to $92.6 million.

The initial cost of the wall when the project was first approved was set at around $20 million, according to the Star Tribune.

“In a perfect world we would know everything we were going to confront ahead of time, and it’s not perfect. I think the project officer … has done a great job working with contractors and negotiating the best price possible,” District 5 Council Member Molly Cummings said at the meeting.

“The complexity of this project cannot be overstated.”

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The entire extension of the Green Line, which will operate between Eden Prairie and downtown Minneapolis, will cost around $2 billion.

The Metropolitan Council announced in January that the project would not make its scheduled opening in 2023, pushing it back until at least 2024.

The council cited multiple reasons for the delay, including the construction of the corridor wall and "poor soils" in the Kenilworth corridor in Minneapolis. 

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