A couple weeks ago, the Met Council awarded a contract to a Chicago-based firm called Walsh Construction. For a little over $200 million, Walsh is supposed to build the entire 7-mile eastern section of the Central Corridor project, from KSTP to downtown St. Paul. The $205.1 million contract includes:
● 14 LRT stops
● 6.9 miles of track
● Street repaving and new sidewalks alongside the 6.9 miles of track
● New underground utilities
● Modifying the bridges over 280 on University Avenue and over 94 on Cedar Street
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● Installing concrete paving for signalized intersections
● Building an infiltration trench for collecting storm water
● Constructing at-grade pedestrian crossings
● Demolishing the vacant Bremer Bank building and reconnecting the Skyway
If virtually the entire cost of building 7 miles of the 11-mile project is only a little over $200 million, and the project is supposed to be, as we’ve heard for years, a “billion dollar investment” in our “challenged communities,” then where is the other $800 million going? Is the construction of the 3 miles on the Minneapolis side, through the University and over the Washington Avenue Bridge to the Metrodome (from the Metrodome to Target Field is shared track and is already built), going to cost quadruple the price of the entire 7 miles in St. Paul? Or will the 3 miles in Minneapolis cost no more than the 7 miles in St. Paul, and the remaining $600 million or more go elsewhere?
What are we getting for a billion dollars? Maybe I’m missing something here, but it seems that folks are planning to spend $400 million, or less, on an LRT line and a road rebuild, and $600 million, or more, on “professional services” and lawsuit settlements.
Hooyah! The Brainpower State