TKDA Helps Bring Light Rail to Life

It's clear to anyone driving along University Avenue, witnessing the ramp closures, or navigating the detours in downtown Saint Paul that work on the Light Rail Transit's Central Corridor is in full swing. What may not be as visible are the numerous related projects involved with the light rail development that are also underway. TKDA has been a key player in several projects that will help make the Central Corridor expansion a successful connection between Minneapolis and Saint Paul.

To service the fleet of rail vehicles that will operate on the Central Corridor, TKDA is designing and providing construction oversight for an expansion of the light rail's operations and maintenance facility. The facility, originally designed by TKDA under contract with Granite Construction during the Hiawatha Light Rail development, included a vehicle maintenance shop and vehicle storage building. The expansion of the facility will continue the maintenance and storage of new vehicles for the Hiawatha 3-car train program and accommodate the additional rail vehicles that will serve on the Central Corridor line. Highlights of the expansion include a new 43,000 square foot vehicle storage building, a 16,000 square foot maintenance addition, and a 1,200 square foot addition to the rail control center.

TKDA is also working in downtown Saint Paul to provide engineering and design specifications for the demolition of the former Bremer Bank Building under contract with AECOM. The removal of the 55,000 square foot building will make way for a light rail transit stop near 5th and Cedar Street. The project includes plans for a new 165 foot skyway that will pass over the new light rail line and transit stop.

In addition to these, TKDA has played an important role in a handful of other projects that are paving the way for the Central Corridor line. Also under contract with AECOM, the firm has conducted a number of areaway studies that analyze the structural integrity of the infrastructure along the new light rail line. In some cases, these studies result in the diversion of underground utilities and other structural improvements to ensure that light rail activity won't damage existing facilities. TKDA is also part of the team, led by Mortenson Construction, that is redesigning and expanding downtown Saint Paul's Union Depot, the future eastern terminus of the Central Corridor. Once finished, the new Union Depot will be a major transportation hub, linking Saint Paul to the various light rail, bus, and potential high speed rail systems.

"Ultimately, the Central Corridor expansion of light rail will make an enormous impact on commerce and the way people commute in the Twin Cities," says TKDA CEO, Bill Deitner. "It is very exciting to have to have the opportunity to participate in several of the components necessary to bring this great project to life."