comScore

Met Council Ignores Tunnel Drama, Presents SWLRT Bridge Designs

Top right: The channel as it is today. Other three presented as future options. Click for a bigger view.

Top right: The channel as it is today. Other three presented as future options. Click for a bigger view.

The Met Council is not taking the Minneapolis Park Board's increasingly loud requests to send Southwest Light Rail trains underneath the Kenilworth Channel very seriously.

Yesterday it released three potential designs of a new bridge spanning the channel between Lake of the Isles and Cedar Lake, despite the Park Board's recent decision to drop $245,500 on a study looking at whether a tunnel is feasible there. See also: Condo Residents Disappointed, But Resigning Themselves to SWLRT Agreement

Park Board President Liz Wielinski said she wasn't surprised the Met Council is moving forward without acknowledging the possibility of a tunnel.

"At this point everybody has gone back to their corner and is doing what they're going to do. I imagine if we get some results that would suggest the tunnel is very feasible then things might get interesting," she said.

The Park Board's tunnel request is a long shot. First the tunnel has to be proven feasible, engineering-wise. That's the study that's happening now, and for $245,500 it will be delivered in early 2015.

If the tunnel is feasible then the Park Board would dole out another up to another $250,000 for another study to show whether it's prudent to build the tunnel. In this case prudent means that the construction of a tunnel wouldn't cause a major delay or cost an unreasonable amount of money.

Then, if both of those studies come out pro-tunnel, the Park Board would take its case to court at an unknown cost.

Wielinski said if the Park Board were to ever drop the tunnel request she would like assurances that enough room is included to run trails underneath the bridge.