Civil West Central Corridor Light Rail

The Central Corridor Light Rail Transit (CCLRT) runs between the twin cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul, Minnesota. The Metropolitan Council awarded the civil portion of this mass transit contract to an Ames Construction joint venture team for construction of three miles of light rail track along this highly visible and well-travelled corridor.

One new four-span flyover bridge was constructed over interstate 94, along with reconstruction of the Washington Avenue Bridge over the Mississippi River. Reconstruction consisted of deck removal and the addition of structural steel components to allow the existing bridge to handle the new light rail train loadings. Work included extensive utility relocation and reconstruction, retaining wall construction, system-wide electric work, stations, aesthetic enhancements, roadway construction, environmental remediation and significant pedestrian traffic coordination. The project scope included grading, use of structural concrete and structural steel. The project used a variety of recycled and sustainable materials and methods.

The project was constructed through the U of M research corridor where a lab housed extremely sensitive equipment. To address concerns about train vibrations disrupting the work, crews implemented several unique construction methods to minimize potential impacts.

The coordination efforts and cooperation between the Metropolitan Council, City of Minneapolis, the University of Minnesota and the Ames JV were paramount to achieving unified goals and moving the project forward. Particularly challenging was the pedestrian traffic on the University’s campus—arguably the busiest pedestrian movement area in the state of Minnesota—as people continually moved through the work zone during staging and construction. Daily communications with various stakeholders, including community groups and citizens along the corridor, were maintained to alleviate concerns while still maintaining the tight construction schedule.

The Central Corridor, now known as the Green Line, links five major centers of activity in the Twin Cities region: downtown Minneapolis, the University of Minnesota, the Midway area, the state Capitol complex and downtown St. Paul.