Panel shoots down 1 of 3 proposed Southwest LRT routes

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An advisory panel rejected a plan Wednesday that would send the proposed 16-mile light rail line between Minneapolis and Eden Prairie through a tunnel in south Minneapolis' Kenilworth corridor.

The Star Tribune reports the Corridor Management Committee made up of city and county leaders will likely kill that option due to the cost, which is estimated to run about $330 million. MPR said it was the most expensive of the three plans.

The two remaining options on the table include the same route along the Kenilworth corridor that would involve a shallower and less expensive tunnel or rerouting freight train traffic in the corridor to St. Louis Park to make room for light rail tracks.

Residents in St. Louis Park have been a vocal opponent of moving freight trains into their backyards, citing public safety and noise concerns. However, the remaining Kenilworth option would force the removal of about one thousand trees, one of the areas most popular features.

Metropolitan Council Chair Sue Haigh said she will delay a decision on the project for a couple of weeks while outside experts explore other options, the newspaper reported.

Hennepin County has asked the council, who's overseeing the project, to hire Transportation Technology Center Inc. out of Colorado to look at alternatives to the reroute option.

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