Siemens S70 in San Diego

USA: The Metropolitan Council approved two contracts for the 18 km Central Corridor light rail project linking Minneapolis and St Paul on August 25.

The Council confirmed the Transportation Committee’s recommendation to award Siemens a contract to supply 41 low-floor S70 Avanto light rail vehicles at a maximum cost of $153m. Of these, 31 cars are destined for the Central Corridor project, and the remaining 10 will be used to increase capacity on the Hiawatha Line, allowing Metro Transit to extend two-car trains to three cars.

The contract includes an option for up to 58 cars for future fleet expansion. The vehicles will be built at the Siemens plant in Sacramento; deliveries are due to start at the end of 2012.

The Ames Construction-CS McCrossan joint venture has been awarded a $113·8m contract to build the 5 km Minneapolis section of the Central Corridor between West Bank and 29th Avenue, with four stations. Construction is expected to start in spring 2011, but preparatory work should start later this year.

Walsh Construction was awarded a $205m contract to construct the 11 km St Paul segment in June.