Passersby may have noticed vertical steel beams erected at Nicollet Mall and 5th Street taking the form of the Nicollet Mall Light Rail station. The structural steel for the Warehouse District Light Rail station and Government Center station has recently arrived, and those stations will also begin to pop up.
"Probably over the course of the next two weeks, those stations will start to quickly take shape much like the Nicollet station," said Joshua Collins, community outreach specialist with the Hiawatha Project Office. "Although the stations have different looks to them, they will start to get erected very quickly."
Although the Downtown stations are taking form, they won't be completed any time soon. Collins said station construction would continue throughout the construction season.
Besides building the stations, crews are also stringing the catenary wire that powers the light-rail vehicles. "We've got crews out there right now making sure that wire is strung properly and affixed to the poles," Collins said.
According to Collins, crews will soon start laying the tracks over the bridge at Highway 62 and Highway 55. So far they have 6.5 miles of track laid.
Park Avenue at 5th Street in Downtown is still closed. Construction crews lost a few days of work due to rain. Collins estimates that Park will be closed for six weeks.
Fourth Street at Chicago Avenue was narrowed down to one lane May 3 for ongoing light rail construction.
"We'll never close 4th Street and Chicago completely because 4th Street is a major exit from Downtown to the freeway system," Collins said. "While 4th will be affected, it will always have at least one lane exiting the city."
The good news is that Downtown is nearing the end of major construction disruptions. "This definitely is approaching the end of the major impacts Downtown to drivers," Collins said. "We still have other things to do, but we won't be closing intersections again. "We have to put the final layer of pavement along 5th Street. We'll probably be doing that later this summer. It won't have that big of an impact to drivers."