January 2012 Archives

Light-rail construction delayed on campus

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It has been a rough first year for the Central Corridor light-rail project that is scheduled to connect downtown St. Paul and downtown Minneapolis in 2014.

Construction delays have pushed back major deadlines in the University of Minnesota campus area by as many as seven months, the Minnesota Daily reported.

An initial contract between the Metropolitan Council and Ames/McCrossan Joint Venture required the Oak Street intersection to be completed by Nov. 30, 2011, but only the west half has been completed. The Minnesota Daily reported that the deadline for the east half of the intersection and installation of tracks has been extended to June 15, according to Met Council spokeswoman Laura Baenen.

A series of conflicts on the East Bank campus restricted construction workers' hours and limited the number of vibrations the construction could produce, the Minnesota Daily reported.

Delays on campus have been compounded by performance problems in constructing the St. Paul portion of the Central Corridor transit system. Minnesota Public Radio reported that the first year of construction suffered from communication lapses, haphazard planning and inattention to community concerns.

In St. Paul, performance in constructing the Central Corridor failed to meet expectations, according to a source interviewed for Minnesota Public Radio's report.

Mark Fuhrmann, who oversees new rail development for Walsh Agency -- the company that manages the project -- said the project encountered delays from the beginning.

Other sources in Minnesota Public Radio's report complained about unsafe conditions along University Avenue, the site for most of the construction.

Fuhrmann called the traffic conditions along University Avenue "unacceptable."

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