The proposed BLRT Extension project includes the construction of proposed LRT guide way generally in the eastern half of the BNSF right-of-way. During preliminary engineering activities and coordination with BNSF, the Council determined that the preferred approach would be to reconstruct the freight rail track adjacent to the southbound (western) LRT track, and construct a freight rail access road to the west of the freight rail track. With the exception of the LRT crossings of the ponds north of Golden Valley Road and Grimes Pond, the approximately 7.8-mile section in the BNSF right-of-way would be divided to accommodate both the BNSF and LRT tracks.
The BNSF track would be relocated about 15 feet to the west, thereby allowing BNSF to operate within the western 50 feet of the right-of-way while providing at least 25 feet of horizontal clearance from the LRT track centerline. The LRT tracks would operate in the eastern 50 feet of the existing right-of-way. The pond crossings would leave the BNSF track in its existing location and new LRT bridges would be constructed east of the freight rail embankment. Proposed BLRT Extension project construction would include a 12-foot-wide access road generally located west of the relocated BNSF track for the majority of the 7.8 miles of the proposed BLRT Extension project in the BNSF rail corridor, with the exception of the pond areas and bridges.
The proposed BLRT Extension project is approximately 13 miles of new double track proposed as an extension of the METRO Blue Line that would connect downtown Minneapolis to the cites of Golden Valley, Robbinsdale, Crystal, and Brooklyn Park. The proposed alignment includes 11 new light rail stations, approximately 1,670 additional park-and-ride spaces, accommodations for passenger drop-off, and bicycle and pedestrian access, as well as new or restructured local bus routes connecting LRT stations to nearby residential, commercial, and educational land uses.
The base-year costs (2015) were inflated to YOE dollars based on the current project schedule. Specifically, 2018 is identified as the start year of heavy construction and 2021 as the start year of revenue operations.
Here are the cities that are in the path of this project: Minneapolis, Golden Valley, Robbinsdale, Crystal and Brooklyn Park.