Metro Transit and the Minnesota Sports Facilities Authority (MSFA) are planning a pedestrian bridge that would link the Downtown East LRT station with the new Vikings stadium when it opens in 2016.
Metro Transit plans to issue a request for proposals for the $8.7 million project in September, said Metro Transit spokesman Drew Kerr.
The bridge would alleviate congestion and improve safety at the LRT station, which will see increased train traffic when the new stadium opens. Trains will pass through the platform every two minutes on game days, according to a Metro Transit report by principal engineer Jim Harwood.
Metro Transit and the MSFA are negotiating a memorandum of understanding outlining project funding, operations and maintenance, Kerr said. A preliminary plan calls for tapping $2 million from the MSFA and the remainder from a mix of Metro Transit revenue sources.
Preliminary plans call for the pedestrian bridge to be built at 4th Street South and Chicago Avenue. A plaza area would also be built in the northwest corner of the Downtown East ramp block next to the platform.
“These improvements will safely convey stadium event attendees, including transit customers across light-rail tracks, provide additional pre-boarding space and supplement the plaza area to be developed north of the new stadium,” Kerr said.
Metro Transit planners estimate that 40 percent of Vikings fans will travel to games via LRT trains once future lines — Southwest and Bottineau — are in operation. For the team’s final season at the Metrodome, an average of 6,700 fans took light rail on game days (about 10.5 percent of attendees.) For the first two pre-season Vikings games at the TCF Bank Stadium, about 20 percent of fans have travelled to the games via the new Green Line.