Minneapolis Blue Line extension route modification map April 2022

USA: Following two years of stakeholder consultation and technical analysis, Minneapolis Metropolitan Council and Hennepin County have published a recommended route for the Metro Blue Line light rail extension.

This would extend the Blue Line north from Target Field stop, running along West Broadway Avenue in Minneapolis to County Road 81 in Crystal and Robbinsdale, and then along West Broadway Avenue in Brooklyn Park to Oak Grove. The extension would add 11 stops

It was originally envisaged that the line would share an existing railway corridor, but after ‘years of unsuccessful discussions with BNSF Railway’, the project promoters abandoned plans for colocation in 2020.

Public comments of the recommended route are invited by May 18. Once the route is officially adopted by the council, work on the design and environmental review will get underway. Opening is planned for 2028.

Essential infrastructure

The extension ‘is an essential part of our region’s transit infrastructure’, said Metropolitan Council Chair Charlie Zelle on April 18, adding that the project team had ‘done an admirable job in balancing the feedback we have heard from the community, engineering challenges and route analysis in making this recommendation’.

Zelle said the route ‘is not without its challenges, but I sincerely believe they are not insurmountable’.

Irene Fernando, Hennepin County District 2 Commissioner and chair of the Regional Railroad Authority, said ’the communities served by the proposed route are transit-reliant and racially diverse and have experienced historical disinvestment’.

The proposed route would ’connect students to education, workers to jobs, patients to healthcare and families to resources, while connecting the corridor to the broader transit network. This project will ignite economic development for small businesses, result in more affordable housing options, increase access to educational opportunities and build wealth for working families’, she added.