A regular feature that tracks the progress of the new Central Library and light-rail transit
Light-rail construction is ending in some spots, opening some roads while others will be closed as work moves their way.
In Downtown, Park Avenue is now fully open to traffic, while work on the intersection of 4th Street and Chicago will continue through June. Crews will lay track on 11th Avenue between 3rd Street and 5th Street beginning Monday, June 9. One lane of northbound traffic will be open during this construction period of about three weeks, but the southbound lanes will be closed.
The tours of the Hiawatha light-rail line are about as congested as some streets; they have been so popular that they are currently booked through September. According to Josh Collins, Hiawatha Project Office community outreach specialist, the tours that run the first Saturday of every month have consistently filled a 22-passenger bus.
\"It really isn\'t surprising that people want to get out and see the historic steps that we\'re taking in completing the line,\" Collins said.
The tour begins Downtown and follows Hiawatha to the Operations and Maintenance facility just south of I-94 near Cedar.
According to Collins, the Hiawatha project office is looking at trying to accommodate more people on the free tours.
Representatives from the Hiawatha Project Office have been continuing their education campaign for rail safety.
\"As soon as the first vehicle is out on the line, it\'s going to attract a whole new level of interest,\" Collins said. \"We don\'t have light rail here in Minnesota yet. A lot of people assume that it\'s going to sound like freight trains. The reality is that light rail is very quiet. We\'re trying to get the message out that people need to only be crossing at appropriate pedestrian crossings and always watch for the train. It\'s very fast moving.\"
Collins also said he is telling community groups not to fly kites or other objects near the lines that power the trains. And he added that motorists should never try to beat a train at a crossing.
Source: Joshua Collins, community outreach specialist with the Hiawatha Project Office.